Eight Questions with Photographer and Hunter Jess Delorenzo

Pennsylvania-based hunter and photographer Jess Delorenzo shares how she got her start, the gear she can’t live without, bringing up kids in the outdoors and more.

We sat down with Jess Delorenzo, a Pennsylvania-based photographer whose subjects range from the wedding aisle to the tree stand, to learn more about her start in hunting, how she’s raising her daughter to love the outdoors and what hunts may be in her future. We also spent a few very rainy days in Northeastern goose blind with Jess recently (and explored her home turf) read about it in Camaraderie in the Blind: New Jersey Goose Hunting.

Woman hunting in woods in camouflage with cell phone.

Where did you grow up? Did you spend a lot of time outside?

I grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania, near the Pocono Mountains. As a kid, I spent many, many hours fishing with my Dad on local ponds, lakes and the river. As a family we also camped out many summer weekends where I had free rein to rip and roar with my cousins in the woods.

I eventually made a leap to Center City, Philadelphia for college, where I determined I would spend the rest of my adult life as far away from the city as I could manage. I never hunted seriously in my youth; it wasn’t until my early twenties that I started developing my passion as a hunter.

Woman and girl in woods looking at shed antlers.

How do you spend your days now?

Most of my days are spent at home with my husband and daughter. We run two businesses from our home, and we’re always looking for the next entrepreneurial adventure. Our goal is to always work for ourselves, answer to ourselves and enjoy ourselves. Whenever time allows I am hunting, fly fishing, traveling and spending time with my family, most of the time with a camera in tow.

What’s your favorite part about living in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is so multifaceted. Within easy driving distance I can be in the Appalachian Mountains or floating the Upper Delaware. There are still areas that offer amazing access to public land and challenges for fair chase hunting. The quarterly seasonal changes are also a great bonus to living in the Northeast.

Mother and daughter hunting with whitetail buck in the Northeast.

What does your daughter Emmy think of all this hunting and fishing business?

Emmy is so well-rounded already and she impresses me and stumps me all the time. She can go from piano lessons to making mud pies in a heartbeat. She is really inquisitive and sometimes asks me some pretty difficult questions about why I take an animal’s life, but she is very rational already and understands natural life cycles and how to respect animals and natural resources on God’s good Earth. I’m glad that she is always questioning too, it shows me she has a mind of her own and wants to learn. As for the fishing, she is either right in the action netting big brown for Dad or playing on the bank with sand and rocks.

Father and daughter netting trout while fishing in a river.

If you had one day to spend outside, where would you go and what would you do?

If I had an entire day right now, I’d be hitting up my hot spots for whitetail sheds. If I had no limits on what that could be, I would go to Nebraska and scout some places for turkey season.

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What’s your dream bucket-list hunt?

I hope it’s a big bucket, because I’d like to go to New Zealand for a whole season and punch as many tags as I could get my hands on. I’d also like to take a stab at some big game in British Columbia. Someday harvesting a moose would definitely be on the bucket list. The hunt I’d like to check off the list very soon is archery elk. I just haven’t drawn a tag or set aside a couple weeks to fully commit to the way I want my first elk hunting experience to go down. Go big or go home.

Woman looking through binoculars while hunting in the Northeast with a rifle.

What’s the gear you can’t live without?

My camera is number one. Then my Sitka Gear—for my pursuits it’s my biggest tool. For me, it’s just as important as my bow. My onX Hunt App is constantly providing me info almost daily. Whether I’m driving past a promising tract of land and I want info on it or I’m dropping way points for saving locations of sheds or spotting game, it’s seriously leveled up both how I hunt and understand the land.

Father and daughter at campfire while truck camping in Montana.

What advice would you give to hunters looking to get more serious with their outdoor pursuits?

Prepare, prepare, prepare. The act of hunting is more than the moment of truth of pulling a trigger or letting an arrow fly; it’s the culmination of all your hard work each year leading up to that moment. Ask questions and engage in conversations with the hunting community.

Most importantly, know that being a hunter is a huge responsibility. You represent generations before you, all those currently hunting alongside you and the generations of hunters to come. Never has being a hunter in modern day been more of a privilege or as consequential as it is now. Learn as much as you can, give back as much as you can and enjoy the sport ethically.

Mother and daughter setting up a treestand in Pennsylvania for hunting.


Header Image: Jess Delorenzo