Practice for hunting by taking wildlife photos

It may be a long time before the next big game hunting season rolls around, but you can still get outside and practice.

Other than spring bear, the next big game season is about five months away. Between now and then, you’d be well-served to get outside and do plenty of practicing.

Obviously, you can’t shoot at big game animals out of season. But you can put yourself where they live and try to sneak close to them. If you have a good camera, you might take it along and get some good wildlife shots while you’re at it.

Professional wildlife photographers use a lot of the same skills hunters use. They have to move quietly through the woods, be conscious of wind direction, and know everything they can about the animals they’re looking for.

Unless you put as much effort into photography as you put into hunting, you probably won’t be able to quit your day job and light out on a career of wildlife photography. There are a hefty number of people out there already who do it well, and quite a few of them have to work another job, too.

But even if you don’t have any hope of becoming a full-time wildlife photographer, it’s not a bad way to spend your free time. It gets you outside and away from the office. The more time you spend out there, the better your chances of coming home with a really cool photo. And as I said earlier, it’s really good practice for hunting.

If you take several trips to the hills this spring and summer, you may find that you have better pictures on your later trips than on your earlier ones. That shows you’re learning new tricks. And the more tricks you learn, the more you can use in the fall when the hunting seasons open.

Your photo outings can also function as scouting trips. You’ll see where the animals are and where they go at certain times of the year.

And finally, what could be cooler than having a photo on the wall of a big bull elk, and right next to the photo, a mount of that same animal?

Grab your camera and get outside. Come fall, your trips to the mountains may just pay off.