Lane Benoit passed away February 9th 2015.
As I said to his father Larry so short a time ago I hope he finds clear tracks and short drags.
The world lost a great deer hunter and a great story teller.
This is the opening to the chapter about him in my 2002 book Benoit Bucks.
Lane is the “middle” Benoit brother. He is a 49-year-old sheetrock hanger who is proud to wear the crown of the “bad boy” of the clan. He approaches most things in life the same say way he does deer hunting: wide open and straight ahead. He is a big, burly guy with wild hair and a bushy, fierce-looking beard that displays his belief that brawn coupled with a full-ahead charge will solve most problems in life.
Lane tosses horseshoes competitively and likes to bass fish. He was a competitive skeet shooter for years and likes nothing better than teaching his 11-year-old son Zeb about the outdoors.
Of the three brothers, Lane is the most like their father, Larry, in many ways (including personality). Like Larry, he is a good storyteller, animated, colorful and possessing a great memory for details. As a hunter, he is a loner, preferring most often to go his own way. He is excitable and passionate about most things, and that includes deer hunting. The first time I hunted with him, I could see a visible change occur as soon as we stepped into the woods. He stood straighter, his eyes became brighter and his movements more defined. When we hit a buck track, he locked into an even more intense predatory attitude that made me very glad I wasn’t a whitetail buck.
Lane moves very quickly through the woods, but is surprisingly quiet for a big man. He slips through the brush with a catlike grace that you would never guess he possessed from looking at him. He has a way of pulling success out of a tough season near the end and is known as the “last day” leader of the family. Often he is down to the very last hours of the season when he pulls the trigger. A buck Lane shot in Maine some years back holds the all-time title for the heaviest Benoit buck to be officially weighed, at 284 pounds. In addition, the buck Lane shot in Canada in 2002 is one of the best-racked bucks taken by the family in many years.
He is still using the same 760 Remington pump rifle in .30-06 Springfield that he has owned for nearly 30 years. It’s equipped with a peep sight, adorned with primitive art and looks like a road kill. It’s clearly a rifle that has seen a lot of hard use, but it’s also killed a lot of bucks.
Even Lane’s lifestyle is shaped by his demand for independence. He lives with his “woman,” Irene and his son Zeb in a beautiful log cabin that he and Irene built themselves. It’s situated deep in the woods of central Vermont and is “off the grid,” as the back-to-nature movement here likes to call it. A generator provides electricity and Lane sees little use for a telephone.