Texas Parks & Wildlife, Volume 23, Number 5, May, 1965 Page: 22
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by DADE RAYFIELD
Photos by Author
NEITHER FEDERAL nor State
game laws relating to protection
of wildlife concern me. I hunt
the year around for anything that
runs, crawls, or flies. Although I have
not owned a hunting license in years,
I bagged a dozen or more wild turkey
in a single morning, early last
summer. After the deer season
closed this January, I got a buck,
five does, and a half-grown fawn in
the course of an afternoon's shooting.
I shoot song birds any time the
mood strikes me.
About the only control on my hunting
is the weather. It can be either
hot, cold, or just pleasant, but I am
strictly a fair weather nimrod who
must have sunshine. I am a still
hunter. I shoot "stills" of any wild
creature I can get in my viewfinder.
I hunt with a camera, and to me it
offers a challenge equal to that of
hunting with a more conventional
weapon. All the skills of the woodsman,
plus those of the photographer,
are called into play. I find it a far
more satisfying experience to hunt
with a camera than with a lethal
weapon. I am a former hunter who
has lost the desire to kill.
But I like the outdoors. I enjoy
planning and preparing a hunting
trip, and the fog-shrouded daybreak
on an inland lake with mallards and
teal overhead. The flare of orange
and red above a silhouetted ridge
just before the sun bursts over the
hills, makes living worthwhile. I also
am fond of building duck and deer
blinds, struggling with boats and
motors, pitching tents, and building
campfires. I find pleasure and peace
in the great outdoors.
After retiring from the military, I
settled down in the Texas Hill Country
northwest of San Antonio. In the
surrounding rawhide land of live
oak and cedar, ridges, and draws, is
an abundance of wildlife. News
photography had been my forte before
I enlisted in the Army, and
photography had been not only my
vocation, but also my hobby during
my service career. I decided to hunt
my wild friends with a camera
rather than with a gun.
It was soon evident that hunting
with a camera was not easy. Skills
necessary to bagging game with
shotgun or rifle must also be possessed
by the nimrod who uses a
lens. Concealment, stalking, knowledge
of the habits of your quarry,
quick and sure reflexes, and mastery
of your weapon are no less important
to the hunter with a camera than
they are to the hunter with a gun.
Marksmanship is important. To
the uninitiated, it might appear a
simple matter to find a deer or turkey
in the viewfinder of a camera. But
this is just not always so. A telephoto
or long-focus lens is a "must."
I use a Leica and 200 mm lens. The
negative image must be large enough
to produce, by enlargement, a
finished print in which the subject
may be found without using a magnifying
glass. On occasions, I have
enlarged subjects as much as 25 times
the original negative size.
The field of view with a 200 mmor-better
lens is quite limited. The
camera does not see the area seen
with the eye. To find the quarry
quickly is seldom easy. Even a deer
becomes momentarily lost in the
area searched with your lens.
Limited view, movement of the subject,
and its camouflage coloring,
make marksmanship both difficult
and vital if you are to capture an
image on film.
Although never much of a marksman,
more often than not I could
TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE
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Texas. Parks and Wildlife Department. Texas Parks & Wildlife, Volume 23, Number 5, May, 1965, periodical, May 1965; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth36161/m1/24/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .