Preserving Memories For Posterity
By Vanessa Hunt
When the deadlines of state applications have long since passed and draw results have finally been released, it’s time to prepare for hunting season. Most preparations include purchasing the most up-todate gear, exercising to increase physical stamina, and practicing with a weapon of choice, but there should also be a level of thought put into how those breathtaking, extraordinary moments on a hunt in unfamiliar territory can be saved in order to relive them and pass them along to posterity. The best ways to capture these moments are with a camera that can take high-quality pictures and by writing down the highlights of the hunt. Taking it one step further, once you have your hunt captured in picture and story, send them in to us and you could see your hunting memories printed within the very pages of this magazine. This allows you to expand your audience and even inspire fellow hunters. To increase your chances of seeing your photos and/ or story published in our magazine, make sure you plan ahead and take a quality camera along on your hunt, take the time to capture the important moments and the scene surrounding you, and write down the details of your adventure.
A camera that has the capability of taking high-quality photos is one piece of equipment that should always accompany you on a hunt. It is not necessary to spend excessive amounts of money on a bulky, high-end camera, but purchasing one that can take clear, clean photos in all types of terrain and lighting would be a wise investment. If you are going on a self-guided hunt, it may be difficult to take a variety of photos, so utilizing the self-timer on your camera allows you to capture those moments, especially when trying to take photos with your harvest.
While cell phones are ideal for taking the perfect selfie, they are not so conducive to taking the high-quality photos that are more likely to ensure you a spot in our magazine. Avoid cell phone pictures at all costs as they tend to have a lower resolution and can turn out blurry, marring the special moment you may have waited years to capture. Packing a high-quality camera on your hunt will allow you to capture all of those moments that could otherwise be lost in the chaos of an exciting adventure.
Once you are out on your hunt, take time to photograph the landscape, hunting camp, your fellow hunting party/guide, etc. Doing so will secure the memories of all aspects of your hunt and will even come in handy as you can use your pictures as an outline, whether you are reliving your hunt for family and friends or if you are planning on submitting a story. As you notice the lay of the land, take wide landscape shots to show off the terrain you’re hunting in. Notice any distinguishing features that stick out and take shots of them. Look around your hunting camp and snap photos of what it’s like. The supporting photos you take will help others to visualize your story and will set it apart from other submitted stories. The more diversity in the photos you send in, the more likely you are to be printed in the magazine. A good rule of thumb is to send in about 25 photos. The breakdown of those 25 should include 5 landscape, 5 supporting (camp, your hunting party, live animal shots, etc.), and 10 single and group kill shots. It would be wise to take more photos than that as some may not turn out. Take many photographs and then choose the best ones and send them to us. We would not turn away more than 25 photographs. The more our designers have to work with, the better.
When taking your kill photos, take the time to capture your harvest from many different angles. If you are looking at submitting your story and photos for a shot at our cover, you will want to include as many kill photos as possible from all different angles. Play with the use of natural light, if you are taking photos during the day, to find the angle that shows your face and the animal just right. If you have done the hunt self-guided, this is where utilizing your camera’s self-timer will come in handy. Never try a selfie format for this picture. Set up your camera at different heights and angles. Do not sit too close to the animal, but also do not sit too far behind it as to make it look bigger. You should be well proportioned in comparison to your harvest within the photo. Never take a photo of you sitting on the animal. Look at the camera as the photo is taken so your face is in full view. The more photos you take in a variety of angles, the better chance you have of seeing your harvest on the cover of our magazine.
The best way to ingrain a memory into your mind is to write it down, even if it is just a simple outline. While you have it in writing, it also forces your mind to relive the adventure step by step. If you have the room, take a notepad with you to write down the details of your hunt. If not, once you get home, make notes of the important details. This will help you organize your thoughts when you sit down to write out your story. If you find yourself trying to figure out where to begin, tell your hunting story out loud to a friend or family member and pay attention to the details you give them. You can also go back to the pictures you took on the hunt and use that as your outline. If your story follows the photographs you sent to us, it will make it that much easier for our designer to lay out your story.
Do not write the story out as a timeline or a list of bulleted points. You wouldn’t say, “September 22: ate breakfast, left camp, glassed for deer…” in a story you were telling to a hunting buddy, so you shouldn’t write your story that way either. The story should read easily and flow well. Read it out loud to yourself and see if it makes sense. Reading your writing out loud is a helpful tool as it allows you to catch sentences or phrases that do not sound quite right. If you find a spot that you trip over while reading it this way, go back and rework that section. However, sometimes you just may not know how to make it work. Share your story with a friend and take in their constructive feedback. Do not feel like your story has to be flawless and free of all spelling and grammatical errors. That is where I come in as Lead Editor of the Huntin’ Fool magazine. I read through all of the stories printed in our magazine at least four times before it goes to press, so even if you don’t feel confident as a writer, send us a story and I will edit it to make it as smooth and grammatically correct as possible.
All story submissions for our magazine should ideally be between 900 and 1,200 words in length. We do not print stories over 1,500 words in length, so if you submit one that is longer than the 1,500 word limit, we will cut it down to fit the correct parameters. This word limit gives us space to add more photos to your layout as the photos tell your reader just as much about your hunt as the words written on the page. With this word limit, it is essential that you include the most important details from your hunt and cut out the “fluff” details, such as all of the scenery you glassed, every meal you ate, how you set up camp, etc. Once you have your story written, go back through it and take out any details that seem to detract from the main point. Cutting out the “fluff” allows your story to flow without getting hung up on minor details. A good outline to remember when writing your story is: getting the tag, preparing for the hunt, going on the hunt, and your reaction and the hike out after the hunt. These sections do not need to be long, they just need to hit on the important details. An easy way to go about it is to write one paragraph about getting the tag, one paragraph about preparation, a few paragraphs about being on the hunt and the harvest of the animal, and one paragraph about your reaction and the hike out after the harvest. This keeps your story from getting too bogged down in unnecessary details. Remember to keep your story simple, precise, and to the point.
If you have ever wanted to be published, now is the time to prepare. As you get ready for hunting season this fall, find the right camera for you and be ready to take notes of your hunt afterwards. Writing it down and capturing it on film is a great way to share your story with posterity and even with other hunters. It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself a writer or not, we are here to help make your story the best it can be. We begin working on each magazine two to three months before it is shipped out to you, so if there is a specific issue you want your photo and/or story to be featured in, be sure to plan ahead. Feel free to contact our magazine department with any questions you have regarding writing a story, taking photographs of your hunt, and/or submitting your story and photos. Good luck on your hunts this fall. Be sure to send us your story and photos. We can’t wait to read about all of your hunting success.