If you are an avid hunter of whitetails, then you have likely heard of the Benoit family of Vermont. They are unquestionably the "First Family" of deer hunting in America.
|Shane Benoit with one of the hundreds of 200-plus pounds bucks taken by the Benoit family, all on public land and mostly by tracking. Photo courtesy of Shane Benoit.
The patriarch of the family, the late Larry Benoit, grew up during the Great Depression and learned to hunt because his family needed food. As such, he targeted the biggest-bodied deer he could find, as a heavy buck simply meant more meat. Being of French Canadian and Iroquois lineage, hunting was in his blood, and he learned to hunt the way his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had.
Larry passed away recently at the age of 89 but not before he had passed on these hunting skills to his sons Lanny, Shane and Lane, all of whom have done the same with their sons. Between them, they have taken literally hundreds of bucks that have weighed in excess of 200 pounds. As impressive as that is, what's moore remarkable is that they didn't accomplish this by hunting out of tree stands or sitting over food plots. The vast majority of these big bucks were taken by tracking, using the skills passed down by generations of Benoits. And they were all taken on public land, in the big bush of the back country of their native Vermont, as well as in Maine, New Hampshire and even Ontario.
Over the years, as their success became widely known, demand for their knowledge grew. Always willing to teach, the family has produced two books and numerous hunting videos to help other hunters learn some of their secrets about how to bag a big buck. They have also done countless seminars and appearances to educate others.
I recently ordered the latest edition of "Big Bucks the Benoit Way," along with a series of five DVDs, and although I haven't quite finished the book yet, I've already learned a tremendous amount about tracking big deer. I would encourage anyone interested in learning to hunt big bucks by tracking to check out the books, DVDs, gear and seminars available at www.benoitsbigbucks.com. Among other things, you'll learn:
- How to find, read and understand a track and other sign;
- How to identify the right track to follow (i.e. a buck of at least 200 pounds);
- How to follow that track silently for as long as necessary;
- How to make a quick yet accurate shot;
- How to get your deer out of the woods; and
- What clothing and equipment works and doesn't work for this style of deer hunting.