I was asked today by Outdoor Life to write a short obituary about Lane Benoit for their web site. To help prime the pump I spent a little time looking over some of what I had written about Lane over the years. There is so much good hunting advice and so many stories it was hard to pick a favorit. But, those who knew Lane will recognize that this story from my second Benoit book, “Benoit Bucks” is typical Lane on a multitude of levels.
I am happy to report that I have just signed a contract to re-print both “Benoit Bucks” and “Big Bucks the Benoit Way II,” likely as paperbacks. I’ll post details as they become available.
Meanwhile I have a very limited supply of Benoit Bucks available in hardcover. Signed copies can be found at www.brycetowsley.com.
(Note: We just sold the last copy of Big Bucks The Benoit Way 2nd edition. Until we can get the reprint done, probably in the fall, this book is no longer available.
We do however have several more copies of Benoit Bucks. This book has a chapter on Lane Benoit that this excerpt was taken from and lots of photos of him. www.brycetowsley.com)
For obvious reasons Lane debated about telling this one, but it’s a good story and illustrates how the whimsy of fate can deliver a big buck when you are least expecting it and perhaps even when you are secretly hoping against it!
“This was a Maine bare-ground buck,” Lane started. “There was this fella named Bruce hunting with us and I had to go back to Vermont, so he volunteered to drive me. We had planned to return to Vermont, take care of the business and then drive back all in the same night, even though it was about a five-hour drive each way. He had a case of Millhouse beer in the truck and because he was driving, I was free to imbibe, which I did. That turned out to be pretty potent beer.
“We got in late, of course, and we were up early to hunt. I had been seeing a bunch of does in this pie-shaped piece of woods. It was surrounded on two sides by roads and by a big clearcut on the end. We found a set of big buck tracks going in, but they didn’t come out. So Coker and I were going to work the piece of woods as a team. He was going in on one side and I was going in on the other. We were just getting ready when Bruce, Pop and Shane showed up and decided they wanted in on the action. There was this big rock overlooking the clearcut that would be the perfect place for a shooter. We all flipped a coin and kept flipping until there was one man standing, which turned out to be me, so I was the ‘designated shooter.’ The other guys spread out to work that piece of woods and somebody was going to get a shot. We figured if he was going to escape, it would be out that big clearcut where I would be watching.
“I ran to get to that rock early so I could catch my breath before things started happening. Of course, my head was pounding when I got there, but I climbed up on the rock and as soon as I did, there was that buck out in the clearcut and headed for the guys in the woods. He had been out in the clearcut all the time and he was headed for those does in the woods without a clue those guys were there waiting.
“I was all out of breath from running and my head was pounding. He was out there about 250 yards and the big-bead front sight I use is designed for shooting fast up close, not for those long shots. But I started shooting and he looked like the duck in the carnival shoot. I would shoot and he would reverse direction, I would shoot again and he would run back the other way. Back and forth he went, with me shooting at him. Every time I pulled the trigger, it was excruciating because the recoil would jar my head and make the headache worse. I shot at him six times, emptying the gun and then hand-feeding the last shot. I knew I hit him several times, but I didn’t know how many or how hard. Finally on the last shot, he went down. He was out there quite a ways by then. I jumped off the rock and reloaded my gun. Pop was there by then and he helped me find the blood trail. There was hair and blood all over the place and Pop remarked, ‘He is hit hard. He’s not going anyplace.’ He didn’t either; we found him right where he dropped on that last shot. I had to finish him off with another shot, which I really didn’t want to do. He was a big-racked buck that was worth the effort and pain.”