Here I am, three weeks into my coveted deer season and I have only found myself in a tree once. Settled in twenty feet off the earth with a camera in hand, I am hoping to capture my brother shooting his first buck: an experience that I know will hold a more profound level of emotional interaction than most of our shared memories.

To add to this reflective point in my life, it is only fitting that I drop my phone to the base of the tree. Looking down at it, I hesitate for moment. In my head, I think of the project it would to get back down and get it. In all most all cases I would have went back for it, but on this day, I decide I have no need to obsess over its contents and distract my meditation of hunting. I need this.

It has been a long time since I have sat back and listened to Mother Nature’s chorus and got lost in her arms a thing that I slightly resent The Urban Deer Complex for. There is comfort in the fact that no matter what society may throw at me, no matter what standards civilization has created, these moments of predator and prey deep inside Mother Nature’s world are truly the baseline. The world as we know it could fall tomorrow, and still in all parts of the earth the cruel and beautiful cycle of life will still go on.

I got caught up in my camera, filming seemingly simple things and getting distracted by their basic beauty: something modern technology has been so good at making us forget about. We are more apt to look at a picture online of the beauty that is so easily in our backyards, like the fall colors, the folding bark of a birch tree, or the complicated knot inside the oak I hang from. That knot in of itself holds a whole story, a story that I will never be privy too, or that money cannot not buy or any power on earth reveal.

To see my brother smile, to hear the wind in the leaves, and watch them fall to the ground, so free from influence, it all resets my inner core, reminds me that just these simple moments are what life from a treestand is about.

As luck would have it as the sun begins to fade over the suburban neighborhood, a deer appeared off in the distance. From the angle where I sit, I could see the basket rack eight pointer making his way 30 yards out from our tree. My brother’s tree stand–although right below me– is turned just a degree too far to be able to make the shot. For the moment, I am so free from the world, so caught up in the now. My brain is on overload of all the things I wished to happen and processing what would come to be.

The buck disappears down the hill, off to finish his night’s agenda. My brother and I left in our trees, cursed to return to our jobs, our bills, and the world we as humans have strived to create. The level of irony in my jealousy over that deer is in a way humbling. It reminds me of why I keep coming back.

As darkness swallowed our surroundings I pick up my phone from the fresh coat of fallen leaves. Ten missed calls, too many missed texts, and a harsh reminder of the reality we created, I miss life from a treestand.

About The Author A.J. DeRosa

A.J. DeRosa is an American film maker and outdoor writer. He is considered a pioneer in the modern era of hunting. From the amazon best selling deer hunting book ‘The Urban Deer Complex‘ to his critically acclaimed film series 'Project Upland'. He continues to push the boundaries in outdoor media, including niche market regions and unique cultures to the mass market.

comments (3)

  • I could not have said it better myself. I’ve decided this season to leave my phone in my vehicle. Although I don’t bow hunt, I’ve spent a lot of time scouting for the upcoming shotgun/rifle season here in CT. And many of the things you’ve came to notice again, are some of the same things I’ve come to appreciate again. Great article. Keep up the good work.

  • Great story! I am an avid hunter since 2007, when I hunted Omaha Nation Nebraska. My brother is part Indian and invited me to join. I was hooked! Although the deer are plentiful, unlike NH. With that said, myself and the holder of the 5th spot for 2013 state of NH harvested a monster BUCK in southern NH. You can verify this information, 10pointer and it rivals Midwestern deer. Keep up with the great work! Happy hunting!

  • Sometimes you just need to be with nature and no distractions. Hunting for me is like going back to my roots and surviving the way humans have for thousands of years. I am sure that they didn’t have to worry about texts back then!

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