Hunting Experience And Photography Combines For Success In The Field


46 years ago I sat on a hilltop in Knox County and called up my first coyote. On October 17 of 1965 at 2:15 pm that epiphany occurred and my life was never the same, in a very good way.

For over four decades the very basis for my life revolved around hunting and experiencing the positive influence of connecting with a life way that has defined our lives as Americans since the earliest times. Hunting, exploring and just possessing an inquisitive personality has been the main ingredients that formed my entire personality since childhood.

It is amazing how, at times, our activities in youth are exercises in preparation for the careers that we eventually choose in adulthood. My life is no exception in this respect and I have enjoyed an unparalleled richness in experiences because of it.

Hunting has been a rich and long lived heritage that defines the American way. Some of the most successful wildlife photographers have been or are hunters. Adeptness in the handling of a rifle, shotgun or pistol often makes for a steady hand when using super telephoto lenses while understanding the way of a hunter is a plus when seeking out truly wild creatures for photo subjects.

This past weekend we hosted a photo workshop that revolved around predator photography and the art of calling. Of course this was an extension of my hunting years only this time a camera was in hand instead of a rifle. Throughout the weekend my participants were amazed at seeing coyotes by the dozens trot to our position, presenting themselves for the camera ready and camo clad “shooters”. Although I have taken almost 3,000 coyotes in my lifetime as a rifleman, I was overjoyed to see the coyotes answer the call and then trot away unscathed and alive. It is a good way to view and appreciate our wild fauna in a non-consumptive way.

There was a time when the crosshairs of a rifle scope would have settled on this coyote. This weekend the concentration was on focus and correct exposure as we celebrated the wonderful heritage that is our wild Texas fauna.

We called in 36 coyotes in some 11 hours of work and hundreds of images were taken home. All critters lived to hunt another day and the participants were elated. When night settled over the land, cameras were stashed safely away and the wine flowed freely, I mentioned to the group that this was a weekend of a lifetime. Thanks to our luck with having great weather combined with some 46 years of hardcore experience as a predator hunter, we all could toast to one of the most successful workshops I have ever had. Its nice being a little good but I will take a dose of luck to help me out any day!! Enjoy!!

Hunting experience is essential in being successful with wild predator photography. Concealment and stealth is necessary in attaining high quality images.

In place of a highly accurate rifle is a fine camera lens. An optimum focal length is this Canon 400mm f4.0L DO lens.

Knowing when to move and when not to move is a function of being an effective  hunter. This is an essential trait for good wildlife photographers.

Follow focus or “panning” is a practice more easily learned when the photographer has had experience with shooting a rifle or shotgun.

Effective use of a camera lens under low light levels comes easier to those who have shot extensively with pistols or rifles.




12 thoughts on “Hunting Experience And Photography Combines For Success In The Field

  1. Charlie Hohorst

    I’m very interested in your planned 2012 waterfowl workshop….about when would this take place?


  2. Lisa

    Awesome I would so much have loved to been there sounds like an experience of a lifetime maybe one day when I dont have to work weekends

  3. kitty Hughes

    This is an amazing hunting story & the photos are really great!I have a grandson in Oregon who does big game hunting & the stories are so awesome also.Thanks for all the info & the pictures. i send your writings & pic”s to him also.(:<)

  4. Jay Hardy

    This looks like it would have been great fun to watch and photograph!
    Would also like to know about 2012 Waterfowl workshop….when and where, etc?
    Thanks, Jay

  5. Mary Katherine Meinzer

    I enjoyed this article and photos so much. I was interested in the idea of being a hunter helping one take better wildlife photos. I hope one day to paticipate.

  6. Ken Pruett

    Looks like everyone had an incredible time! It definitely looks looks like you provided everyone several opportunities to capture some great images. It would definitely be tough to choose between the Predator or Waterfowl workshop. Maybe both! Looking forward to seeing your workshop schedule for 2012.

  7. Dan Caldemeyer

    I just viewed you website and was very impressed. You do beautiful work. I have found that many photographers have trouble complementing other photogs work. I always appreciate great art. It isn’t often that you see a photog these days that actually know how to use the light and only photograph in great light. Most photograph in mediocre light and photoshop the hell out of it. I have waited 5 days in one place to get one image “Reflections Of Painters Pond” Yellowstone NP. The colors are all natural because it is a photograph of a reflection and the light was perfect. On the 5th morning, i had set up before sunrise in the dark and in the rain. I had a full rain suit and garbage bags over my tri pods and cameras. I only had to wait 1 1/2 hours that day when the rain stopped and the clouds parted and there it was,….perfect early morning light and the bonus was it had just rained cleansing the atmosphere. I am a fine arts photographer and have done juried fine arts shows from coast to coast. I just wanted to complement you an your photography and your use of the light. There are some great big name photog out there, wildlife and landscape but there are literally thousands of amateur photogs that are as good as the pros. I tell people that the only difference between a so called pro photog and an amateur is one takes money. As a pro i have seen many other pro photogs that are mediocre at best and tons of amateurs that are top notch. I think there are tons of photogs these days (including some very passionate amateurs) that are as good or better then some of the big names like Peter Licht or Moose Peterson just to name a couple. My website (which replaces my old website) is not complete yet. I have 15 galleries with 18 to 30 images per gallery. It will take me a couple of months to finish. So put my web address by your computer and wait for coming attractions. I used to hunt (with a gun) but only shoot with a camera now. I have to ask. The 2 deer in your movie that i saw. The one has the largest rack i have ever seen and the other with the mal formed rack,…are they still alive or did you shoot them,….with a gun. I never realized that Texas had so many beautiful places until i saw your web site. Of course you live here and have all of the time you need to get the 4 seasons shots where i travel in my motor home. I have a 40′ class A diesel. Before i quit the art circuit i had a 74 ” (prints 44″) Epson 9900 printer in my MH. The Epson people told me i was the only one that they knew of that had a printer that big in a motorhome. I had them take the front windshield out and fork lift it in. It weighs 260lbs. I had a custom bench made and i engineered a suspension system that Epson said they probably would have paid an engineer $100,000 to come up with. It cost me less then $200 to build, and worked like a charm. It softened the ride perfectly. I only have 7 galleries on my web site finished. I still have insects and flowers and 2 galleries on Africa among the ones i have left to complete. I spent 3 weeks in Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. It was an amazing experience. Words could never describe the essence of Africa. Photos along with words do a good job but there is nothing like actually being there and experiencing it. The very best to you in your endeavors. Dan



  9. Patrick Oles sr

    Wyman and Sylinda–thanks for email! Mary Martha and I miss you both and hope that you will be at home the next time we pass through Benjamin. Though we have most of your books, and love them all,we’re always anticipating the next one! Wyman, my own epiphany has come slowly over all these years but the gun are closeted and it almost pains me to even swat a fly–I guess that’s just my 85 yrs talking! Hope to see you both soon. Patrick sr

  10. Sharon Golden

    Your photography is breathtaking. I met you many years ago in Benjamin as a teenager (in the 60’s) I was married to Hammons Pierce JR. and I was from Crowell. I think it so wonderful the way you have captured the feel of Texas in every shot. My Chiropractor in Vernon has your video’s playing in his waiting room, such a pleasant atmosphere.
    Thank you Wyman Meinzer for sharing the beauty of Texas through your eyes and camera.

  11. Kent Thomas

    I grew up in Acuff, and spent most of my boyhood years, with my Dad leading the way, hunting the Caprock country of West Texas. I am now a 43 year old teacher and football coach in Clayton, NM. I received the “West Texas” video via e-mail from my father, and all I can say, Mr. Meinzer, is——I shed tears as I watched it. I sat in front of a computer screen, and watched my childhood play before my eyes. Absolutely outstanding !!!! The music was perfect also. I show this video to all of my friends here in New Mexico, and tell them, “That’s it— that is where I grew up.” Thank you, sir, for an amazing story through pictures and music. Kent


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