Photographer John Hafner Tells The Tale As Only He Can
Not so long ago, John Hafner was a Realtree staffer working with the licensing and marketing folks. But everyone who worked with him -- and saw the images he captured with his trusty Nikon camera gear -- knew his true calling was photography.
Fast forward a few years and Hafner is one of the hottest photographers in the outdoors. Recently, he tagged along on a trip with Melissa Bachman to put Field and Stream hunting gear to the test in New Zealand.
As always, Hafner came back with the best trophies of the trip: The images that tell the story better than words alone can. Below are a few of those images and a few words from Hafner about each.
--Tony Hansen, Editor
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1 | The Hills
New Zealand’s postcard-perfect countryside is as beautiful as it is grueling. I burned lots of pixels -- and calories -- trying to do justice to the incredible views that greeted us each morning as we traversed these rugged hills.
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2 | The Climb
Make no mistake: If you plan to hunt stag, be prepared to hike, sweat and hurt. Like elk, stag prefer the high country, and they’re much better at navigating it than you are.
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3 | The Hunter
Melissa Bachman, host of Winchester Deadly Passion.
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4 | The Light
New Zealand is no doubt a photographer’s paradise. The South Pacific sunrise seems to have a quality unlike anywhere else.
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5 | The Search
The hunt was equal parts hiking and glassing. Bachman logged lots of bino time in search of stag.
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6 | The King
Like a fabled creature straight out of a fairy tale, stag have a unique presence about them. Much like the elk that roam the Rocky Mountain West, these regal monarchs carry themselves with confidence.
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7 | The Ghost
A roaring stag is truly an inredible sight. This old warrior struck a stunning pose as he roared repeatedly before cresting the ridge and disappearing out of sight.
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8 | The Evidence
Evidence of a quick kill and a perfectly-performing bullet.
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9 | The Finale
Finally, after several days of seemingly endless hiking, unrelenting heat and humidity, sore muscles and encounters that didn’t quite work out, sweet success.