National Geographic : 1913 Jul
Photo by George Shiras, 3rd A WHITE-TAIL DOE Here a fallen tree narrowed the runway along the shore, so that the deer was sure to be in focus when the flash was fired My first photographic efforts, how ever, were directed toward big game ani mals and began many years ago (1887), when quite satiated with the conquests of the gun and the regrettable recollec tion that success meant a more or less painful death of some timid animal, whose body was usually unnecessary for food and whose horns or hide had be come superfluous trophies no longer jus tifying deadly pursuit. That I should have begun by trying to photograph such a wary creature as the white-tail deer had an explanation in the fact that this animal had been my favorite quarry with the rifle, and hav ing hunted it from my youth I knew its habits well, thereby appreciating its re sourcefulness in avoiding danger. No member of the deer family is harder to photograph in the daytime, although it is the most abundant and widely dis tributed member of its kind. Naturally I was confronted with many obstacles, mostly due to ignorance of photography, and had I not been the fortunate possessor of a good lens at the beginning and one of the first hand cameras made in this country, it is likely this pastime would have lost an ardent advocate. Persistent pursuit and the trial of many methods finally suggested ways of getting pictures with ease and certainty, for in the end few wild ani mals can escape the gun, trap, or the camera when hunted with care and energy. The white-tail deer has a wonderfully keen ear and an equally keen nose and its eyesight, as with most of the deer tribe, is not of a particularly discriminating kind, yet the slightest sound or scent will re sult in an accurately directed glance to ward the source of danger, and then it is useless to try for a picture, although the animal may be within fair range of the rifle.