With the deer hunting beginning Sept. 17, it's important to ensure you have a camera to pack into the woods with you.

"A camera?" you might ask. Yep, because you could be a winner in the annual LouisianaSportsman.com Big Buck photo and video contests set to begin Sept. 17 if you take a quality photo or video of that buck you knock down.

In the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest, everyone who enters will be eligible for an end-of-the-season drawing for a set of Nikon 10x42 Monarch ATB binoculars valued at more than $300!

"The Big Buck Photo Contest highlights some of the biggest deer killed in Louisiana, and we at Louisiana Sportsman are watching for those special deer to highlight on the front page of the Web site and in the pages of our magazine," LouisianaSportsman.com's Andy Crawford said.

But the contest isn't just for 170-inch bucks.

"It doesn't matter if it's a state record, your personal best or a first deer, be sure and enter into the contest – you'll have just as good of a chance at the Nikon binoculars as someone who kills a monster buck," Crawford explained.

Chances of winning the monthly photo contest are increased by using a quality camera, Crawford said.

"We know a lot of folks just carry their phones with them, but images from even smartphones are usually pretty poor," Crawford said. "It doesn't matter how big the deer is, if we can't run the image in the magazine we probably won't put it in the voting session.

"So we recommend a small point-and-shoot camera."

Monthly winners will be chosen by LouisianaSportsman.com users from among a selection of photos chosen by site administrators. These winners will receive a one-year Louisiana Sportsman magazine subscription and a $25 gift coupon to the online Sportsman Store.

In the Deer Video Contest, users are encouraged to film their hunts. But this contest isn't limited to dead deer.

"I've been on hunts where I had to pass on a nice deer because it didn't meet management criteria or I just missed the shot," Crawford said. "Those make memorable moments, and would be great entries into the Big Buck Video Contest."

Monthly winners will be chosen according to the number of times users view videos, making it important to write a report to promote your vids.

"Tell other users why they should watch your video," Crawford said. "Tease them with just enough to draw them in, and you could be the monthly winner!"

Again, monthly winners will receive a one-year Louisiana Sportsman magazine subscription and a $25 gift coupon to the online Sportsman Store.

A grand prize for the video contest has not been named.

Entering both the photo and video contests is easy: Just log onto the reports forum and post your photos and videos as you would any other report, choosing the appropriate contest in the categories list.

If you aren't already a registered user of LouisianaSportsman.com, just click here and fill out the short form to become eligible for the contests.

It's important to note that videos must first be uploaded to a hosting Web site such as YouTube to be entered into the contest.

"After you upload your vid to the hosting site of your choice, all you have to do is copy and paste the embed code for the vid into our reports form," Crawford said. "The vid will then play right on our forum.

"But be sure and copy the embed code and not the URL."

Both contests run through the end of the 2011-12 hunting season.