Every November in Wisconsin, hundreds of thousands of hunters–about 10% of the state’s total population–descend on local woods in search of deer. In a new book called Blaze Orange, photographer Travis Dewitz captures what whitetail hunting season looks like for the nine days it lasts.
“Hunting in Wisconsin is cult-like,” Dewitz says. “People prep for it for weeks. I used to hunt, and there was a nostalgia I was feeling for it. I wanted to capture the hunting season as I remembered it. I wanted to capture the people–it wasn’t actually about the hunting.”
Dewitz traveled to small-town taverns, gun shops, taxidermists, meat markets, and homes to document the culture of hunting, which he says is slowly becoming less common, especially as open land starts to disappear. He also wanted to challenge stereotypical images of hunters.
“I feel that sometimes people depict hunting as a bunch of rednecks out in the woods slaughtering animals, looking for the big buck, and that’s all they’re doing,” he says. “The majority of people that are out in the woods hunting aren’t like that. It really is just about the sport and game management, and putting food on the table, and handing down traditions to their children.”