It’s hard for most non-hunters to appreciate our sport. They haven’t experienced the greatest things about hunting.
Maybe it’s an excited young pup bounding back to his owner after his first pheasant retrieve, a son’s first morning in the turkey woods with Dad or the exhausted sheep hunter who hiked miles on the roughest terrain imaginable to finally get his hands on his first ram.
The list goes on.
Every day we go afield we get a chance to make one of these memories and enjoy all the things hunting has to offer. There’s nothing that ties those experiences and memories together like a good photo. It might be a sappy premise, but it’s surely what keeps the outdoor addiction flowing.
Petersen’s Hunting is dedicated to the best photography in the game, both in our magazine and on this website. We’ve found that there’s no better way to tell our story and yours, and maybe even allow indoor city folk to appreciate what we do. To be the best we had to search far and wide for the most gritty, creative, real photographers that not only snap photos, but hunt as hard as anyone. We’re not talking about National Geographic sissies with no street cred. These are the guys that can capture the best images and through that demonstrate the soul of hunting.
To illustrate just how good it gets, we’ve compiled the 50 most amazing hunting photos we could find from five of our favorite photographers. Each photo tells a story and each photographer has been nice enough to share the details behind how these amazing shots came to be. Enjoy.
- <h2>John Hafner: Frozen Food </h2>I shot this pic in Saskatchewan last fall while on assignment for Cabela's. The day before the hunter shot this buck, I photographed and videoed the old bruiser for over an hour as he dogged does, worked a scrape line and tirelessly ran off several lesser bucks. I believe in taking my time when shooting hero shots—to honor the animal and preserve the memory of the hunt. Despite heavy snow, howling winds and bitter cold temps, we broke out the strobes and did justice to this gnarly old buck.
Wyman Meinzer is the only official State Photographer of Texas, named so in 1997 by the Texas State Legislature and then Gov. George W. Bush, an honor he still holds today. He has traveled across the state from the Panhandle to the Borderland in South Texas, from El Paso to Nacogdoches and all points in between to capture the first and last rays of sunlight as they kiss the Texas landscapes. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Alumnus award from Texas Tech University in recognition of outstanding achievement and dedicated service. See his work at wymanmeinzer.com.
Lee Kjos is a lifelong duck hunter whose photography has appeared in numerous outdoor magazines and advertisements for companies like Franchi, Benelli, RealTree, Cabela’s and many more. As a child in Webster, Minn., Kjos was drawn to hunting photography and was soon snapping photos of his hunts to capture the memories. Kjos’ goals with every stunning image are summed up in three sentences: “Capture the moment. Tell a story. Move the people.” See his work at kjosoutdoors.com.
John Hafner is a well-traveled shooter who tells the stories of the outdoor industry’s biggest brands with uncompromising drive, unique vision and absolute authenticity. A Montana-based freelance photographer, Hafner’s commercial and editorial assignments have taken him across the globe, from the Yukon to Zimbabwe. It’s rare to find him anywhere but behind his camera, but in between assignments, he can be usually be found in the whitetail or turkey woods. See his work at johnhafnerphoto.com.
Donald M. Jones has been a full-time Wildlife Photographer for over 20 years and resides in the small Northwestern Montana town of Troy. Don’s clients are wide and varied, from magazines, books and calendars to advertising. Don has his 10th book coming out this fall and has nearly 700 magazine covers to his credit. To view more of Don’s work visit his web site at donaldmjones.com, or if you are interested in purchasing Don’s work as fine art limited edition prints visit wildreflectionsgallery.com.
Kenton Rowe started “moonlighting” as a photographer in 2004, never intending on becoming a full time professional photographer. In the end all paths led him in that direction. Since 2007 he has explored the back roads and trails of Montana, shooting for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and an impressive selection of Montana’s most storied ranches. His first image was featured in Petersen’s Hunting in the summer of 2012, and he later joined editor Mike Schoby for a hunt in Zimbabwe featured in the August issue. See his work at kentonrowephotography.com.