Spring Turkey season is done, and we begin putting away our decoys, calls and all those other
fun goodies that make our hunting adventures so much more exciting and comfortable. We now begin to think about what we can do to take care of our outdoors fix until the next hunting season begins in the fall. It’s usually about this time that I begin to really get into my wildlife photography, I mean after-all, it’s basically hunting but with a camera. I decided to keep out of the storage room two pieces of equipment that I could use for wildlife photography, the ones that definitely helped me during Wild Turkey season. These are my ground blind of course, and small piece of green, hinged plastic called the Turkey Dave Footrest. The blind is great, but it is too limiting, as I like to be able to keep on the move, trying different areas just as I do when I run and gun for Turkey. The Turkey Dave Footrest made my journey a bit more comfortable.
As many of you who have put in long hours in pursuit of Wild Turkey know, one of the first things you do before plopping your butt down against the tree of your choice is to find a small log or something to lean your feet against to prevent cramping and other aches. Sitting in that position without a “block” of some kind will eventually become a bit painful. Outdoorsman Dave Sumner designed the Turkey Dave Hunter’s footrest after many long hunts and sore backs. He noticed that he was always squirming and often developed an aching back both during his hunt and for a time after. He also noticed that if he placed a sturdy support for his feet, it alleviated the pain. Instead of making a ton of noise and
rummaging around the area he was hunting looking for a footrest, he designed a portable one that he could carry easily on him or put in hisTurkey vest.
I normally would not want to carry any additional equipment with me when hunting or engaging in wildlife photography, and to be honest, I had my doubts about this piece of gear as well, but after actually using it I can honestly say it works! The color is a forest green and blends in well when I am in full camo.
Sometimes I will take it to the park (not in camo of course) and sit against a tree taking pictures of squirrels, birds or whatever else happens to get close.
I can now sit against a tree with little discomfort. I have now started to just leave the Turkey Dave Hunter’s Foot Rest in the car, as I never know when I’ll
get the urge to just sit back and watch the world go by. Some key features to the Turkey Dave Hunter’s Foot Rest are that it’s extremely light yet very sturdy. It is designed with saw toothed edge so that as you push into it with your feet while sitting against a tree it digs in to the ground making it even more stable.
For mort information or purchase of the Turkey Dave Hunter’s Footrest Click Here.
We are fast approaching the fall, my favorite time of the year. I love to take long walks or hikes when that crisp morning air is breathing just a hint of the cold that will overtake most of the country in just a few more months. If you are anything like me you love the hike, love the scenery but are constantly thinking what else can I do to make this great experience even better? Well, the answer is to bring some of that wonderful hike home with you, bring your camera and capture the moments that take your breath away.
Some people may go out for a walk in the woods or on some hiking trail with a camera worth more than their Mortgage payments, while others may just grab a disposable off the shelf of the Walgreens when stopping for a bottle of water. I fall some where in the middle with a nice little, semi-affordable digital camera that fits nicely into my jacket pocket. A visit to your local Best Buy, Costco or even eBay should help you find exactly what fits your needs. Make sure it has an adequate zoom, wide angle and can handle some intense close ups as you just never know what or who you will encounter that day.
Once while taking an early morning stroll through one of the wooded parks in the heart of North Miami, Florida where I live, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman that I recognized as a member of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Champs, who graciously posed for a photo with me. On another walk 40 minutes west of Ft. Lauderdale I ran into a very curious yet non aggressive Black Bear. The point is to be ready to turn your walk or hike into that memory that will live forever.
If you live in a part of the country that is known for fall foliage, be prepared to capture that special moment when the light hits those leaves just right and seems to set the trees on fire with brilliant colors. If you live near the ocean, the waves may be crashing against the shore with the spray creating rainbows or that dolphin skyrocketing out of the water seemingly just to pose for your lens.
You may ask, “Why are you not giving us information about what type of equipment to use or what lens and speed?” The reason is that I am not a photographer, I don’t know the answers to many of those questions, you can go to http://hochmanphotography.com and ask my brother who is an expert at that stuff, personally, I just love to go out, hike a bit and if something great presents itself to me, I take a picture. I am here to tell you, get out and enjoy! Just being outside on a glorious day is satisfying enough, but with today’s compact digital camera’s, you can take some of that experience home with you. It doesn’t matter whether you are hiking a trail in the Everglades, up a hill in the Adirondacks or in Denali, AK, as long as you are doing it under wild blue skies you are a winner!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to sit in the woods for a full 24 hour period, just to see what assortment of wildlife passes by? Most avid outdoorsmen have the patience and tenacity to sit in a tree stand or rest against a tree on the forest floor for hours, but rarely would one get the chance to see all that nature has to offer during those busy evening and twilight hours. Somewhere along the way, someone had the foresight to recognize a need for capturing what goes on in the woods when we’re not there; enter the trail camera.
While trail cams come in all different shapes, styles, sizes and prices, they are most commonly attached discreetly to a tree, most commonly along a proven trail – i.e.: a path where deer, bear or other animals are clearly frequenting. The camera is motion-activated and on many models, you can choose the duration between photographs. Another feature may be a camera equipped with night vision capability, allowing you to capture pics of what passes by or even feeds in front of your selected area. These trail cams are great for seeing those that are most active at night, like deer, bear, raccoon, etc. Trail Cams may come with a flash set up or IR capability (infra red may have less effect on spooking the animals) for night photography. When looking for a trail cam with a flash make certain to investigate the effective flash range of that trail cam. The greater the distance from your anticipated target, such as a bait station or entrance to a field will determine the necessary effective flash range. Make sure that there is nothing between your target and the camera that can trigger the photo. I have in the past had swaying branches use up all my pictures, and this was when I was still using real film!
When scouting for an area in which to place the trail camera, hunters will normally look for signs of activity such as a spot where several game trails merge. The weekend hiker should have little trouble finding these locations if those trails are active and in constant use. The entrances to fields or a food source as well as a water supply are great spots to set up. Animals that are eating or drinking are usually very calm and may allow multiple pics to be taken before moving on. One of my favorite pictures is of a black bear in the Florida Everglades that leisurely sat down in front of my trail cam to munch on a doughnut I left for him. I saw a single bear print at the edge of game trail and set the trail cam up there. I have my reservations about leaving food in front of the trail cam to bring in and keep the animals there a bit longer, but if that is your choice, you may consider matching the bait to the animals you are seeking to get pics of. Grain and molasses will bring in bear, hog, and deer, while decaying meat may allow for pictures of coyotes and bobcats.
No matter what make, model or style you choose, there are a few things you can typically expect with the use of a trail cam. My first word of advice is this: don’t get too excited the very first time you go back (usually you would not check on it for a few days at a time since too much action around the site will deter animals from frequenting the area). When you first check your camera you may see the display state that you have 5 or 6 pictures, but the funny thing is this: one is typically of you as you walked away after setting it up and another will be of you as you approach the camera to check it! The first time we set one up in our backyard to try to get some photos of a fox we were sure we’d seen sneaking around, the kids were so excited at the thought that we had so many photos. Once we downloaded them, we saw blurs of birds flying by, the tail of a raccoon that was a bit too fast, and of course a close up of me as I set it up and was cleaning the lens. Good family entertainment, but not what we got the camera for! In the end though, we did get a good look at that wily fox and the kids were thrilled.
While perhaps the initial and most frequent use of the trail cam was for hunters to scout potential hunting areas and get a taste of what was living in the area, trail cams today are used by nature lovers and families alike. A great way to get some up-close and personal candid shots of animals we normally wouldn’t be able to get this close to. If you are considering purchasing a trail cam, do your research. There’s no reason to pay any more than you have to, depending on its intended use. You will be paying more for higher resolution of the camera. Should you have any really great shots taken with a trail cam, feel free to submit them to us here and we’ll post them for others to enjoy.