Big Bucks The Benoit Way is Back!

  THE BEST SELLING WHITETAIL HUNTING BOOK IN HISTORY IS BACK! Big Bucks the Benoit Way Now in paperback. All the information, all the bucks, all the Benoits and all the color photos; at a bargain price. See what it takes to track huge whitetail bucks like the legends. Big Bucks the Benoit Way Secrets from America’s First Family of Whitetail Hunting   By Bryce M. Towsley If there is such a thing as hunting royalty, it would be the … Continue reading

Turkey Hunting Healthcare Part One

By: Anonymous    “That boy ain’t right!” “Course he ain’t, you damn fool, he’s a turkey hunter.” — Overheard at a local diner   Hello, my name is XXXXXXXXXXXXXX and I am a turkey hunter.   First of all, this recent talk about the government digging deeper into mental problems and taking away guns from people they deem “off” scares me. Why? Because I’m a turkey hunter. If you start letting some damn government official decide who can have a … Continue reading

If You Suck — You Suck

    Don’t blame the gun   There are a lot of gun myths out there that keep getting repeated by lazy gun writers and blowhards in the gun shops or at the range. Another one recently came up. I was tagged in a Facebook posting asking about which gun to bring on an upcoming elk hunt. The guy has a .308 Scout rifle and a Ruger African in .375 Ruger. Several other people weighed in before I did, all … Continue reading

The Ungrateful Nature of Hounds

Sometimes the deal is just too good to pass up. I didn’t need or really want a new shotgun, but the price for the Caesar Guerini Woodlander shotgun was stupid low. So, I wrote the check and put the gun in the vault with plans to flip it and make some money. The trouble is I have a phobia against selling any guns and so it sat there as an “investment” for several years. It had been a tough year … Continue reading

Hunting Cows in India

At the SHOT show some years back there was a buzz among the gun and hunting writers that, in order to promote their new products, one of the big optics companies was going to be taking a bunch of writers to Africa for a Cape buffalo hunt. As the week progressed and the invites were handed out, the aisles on the show floor became a display of who had been chosen, and of those who were not. The guys with … Continue reading

A Buck

I wrote this several years ago when I was starting out as an outdoor writer. It was published several times in The Vermont Sportsman and a few other magazines.  I was back on that mountain a few weeks ago and stood under that old treestand. The National Forrest is grown past any good deer habitat and it has choked out the apple trees. I realized that it’s likely no deer had passed by in weeks. The mountain is now a … Continue reading

Things about Hunting You Should know.

How to Read a Track   One trick is to step beside the track and compare how your track looks next to the deer’s. Watch how the snow crumbles in your track and how it is crumbled in the deer’s track. Try to compare that to the temperature in recent hours. Check the edges of the track to see if they are sharp and crisp. The longer a track has been around, the less sharp it is. Even on a … Continue reading

Shotgun or Muzzle Loader?

 The choices hunters face when hunting whitetails where rifles are not an option.   In a lot of places, deer hunters have the choice of using a shotgun or muzzle loader during some of the “shotgun” deer seasons. But how do you choose? There are pros and cons to each. The most obvious are that a shotgun has more than one shot, so it’s very fast on the reload. In fact, if you using a semi-auto you can be ready … Continue reading

When it comes to long range hunting, how far is too far?

  Ethical Long Range Hunting is About a Lot More than Just Hitting the Critter  There are several considerations, but first and foremost is your skill level. Most people will not be honest about that. If you are one of the rare breed that believes in discovering the truth, try shooting at targets at unknown long ranges under a wide variety of conditions. Use a six inch bulls-eye, and make it your goal that every bullet fired must hit that … Continue reading

An Energetic Discussion

    I recently posted a question on Facebook that resulted in unintended debate. I wanted to know who came up with the concept that deer-size game require 1,000 foot-pounds of energy from a rifle bullet. Simple enough, right? What followed was a huge debate about terminal ballistics. One argument that came up was that this standard was from back before expanding bullets and so it doesn’t apply today. We have been using expanding rifle bullets almost exclusively for 120 … Continue reading


Dateline April 1, 2015     What a month for the sportsman! By now most of the snow has melted and with the long winter just passed anyone worthy of the title is feeling bloodthirsty! April is my favorite month for deer hunting. The crowds of November are gone and the deer are easy to sneak up on. They are just recovering from the brutal winter and are still feeling a little weak from months of deep snow, relentless cold … Continue reading

Lane Benoit’s Hangover Buck

  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 … Continue reading

Lane Benoit

  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   Lane is the “middle” Benoit brother. He is a 49-year-old sheetrock hanger who is proud to wear the crown of the … Continue reading

In or Out?

The Question of Bullet Performance  There is a popular theory that a big game bullet should stay in a big animal’s body, “dumping all its energy” and unfortunately many hunters are accepting it as gospel. Personally, I find it irresponsible. A .22 LR will always stay in the deer, dumping all its energy and often resulting in the termination of the deer. Does that make it a deer cartridge? Of course not. When applied with modern rifle cartridges, this theory … Continue reading

Use Enough Bullet

I am a true believer in Robert Ruark’s posthumous advice to “Use Enough Gun” when hunting any big game. Why risk all your hard work with anything less?  To somehow “prove” you are a better hunter because you use a cartridge that experienced big game hunters consider too small or inadequate? If that’s the case, I suggest therapy and a new sport.  Something where you can’t wound any animals and leave them to a horrible death in a misguided attempt … Continue reading


“I wish it was reversed so our dogs lasted forever and we had to get a new shotgun every ten years.” -Bob Rose   “New England woodcock hunting over dogs is a unique wing shooting experience,” Bob Rose said. But I was only half listening. He was uncasing a vintage, sidelever Purdy 16 bore double gun and I was having a hard time focusing. It’s the kind of gun I dream about and I suspected it had to be worth more … Continue reading

A Dozen Tips for Rattling Whitetails

Deer seasons are open and soon the rut will be heating up all over the country. Here are a few tips on one of my favorit deer hunting techniques, rattling. 1: Don’t Intimidate Them My wife taught me this one. Like many, I thought that to shoot the dominant buck in the area I had to have a big set of horns. I had a “macho” set that I rattled and banged with loud abandon, but with no luck at … Continue reading

Charlie Bolt

Most hunters, including me, fear the cold when they first start thinking about booking a spring musk ox hunt. I am a northern latitudes kind of guy and I live with long, cold winters and deep snow. I am also usually a “jump in with both feet” kind of guy, willing to try anything once. But I’ll admit that, for the first time in many years, I had doubts. There is something about the thought of venturing north of the … Continue reading

Gun Guy

As an avid reader I am saddened by where novel publishing has gone in recent years. Like so much in America today it is formulaic, simplistic, bland and boring. The old authors are just pumping out trash for cash and the interesting new guys never get a chance. I was bored to tears from all this homogenized “literature” and was browsing the forgotten bookshelves in my abandoned “old” office for something to read. I stumbled onto Elmer Keith’s autobiographical book … Continue reading

Hunting With Short Guns

Back when the earth was flat and my hair was still dark, I was slipping along through an old abandoned apple orchard in Vermont’s Taconic Mountains when a deer suddenly appeared like an apparition out of the morning fog. I drew the long barreled .44 Magnum from its holster, cocked the hammer and, holding the gun in a classic two hand, “Weaver Stance,” I caressed the trigger I had spent hours tuning. The gun shattered the quiet morning and when … Continue reading

My Reward?

I am dead. The specifics of the event are not important here, but it is the one thing that I am sure about. Soon after it happened I was met by a man whose description eludes me. He said his name was Luke and asked what I wanted. I had just died and he was asking what I wanted? This was getting a bit weird already. I wanted to be alive again, that’s what I wanted, and I wasn’t exactly … Continue reading


If you read my work than you know I am an advocate of using enough gun for any big game. It’s simple, I believe that you can control some things on a hunt and some things you cannot. I just don’t see the wisdom in using a marginal cartridge. That’s in your control, why risk the outcome of your hunt? The way I figure it, if you must err, err on the side of bigger. That gives you more options, … Continue reading

Hunting Brown Polar Bears

    It’s not unusual to find myself in a hotel room, it seems like I spend half my life in one. Right now I am in Juneau drying out from a soggy but successful hunt. I have a lot of “stuff,” including two guns, scattered all over this hotel room to dry out. It honestly looks like a camo bomb went off and deposited wet crap on every flat surface. When I opened the door for the Mexican guy … Continue reading

One For The Books

  The two gobblers were trashing the jake decoy, pecking pieces out of his head and tearing feathers off his body. I was tracking the one on the left, because I was sitting on the left and where I am from that’s how we do it. I heard “shoot ‘em” and watched “my” turkey’s head turn to mist. I swung the gun, picked up his brother, who was doing the boot scooting boogie or turkey trot or some kind of … Continue reading

Scratching the Itch for a Sports Car Rifle.

  In early April of 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting the grand opening of the Steyr Arms facility in Bessemer, Alabama. This impressive new facility will change a lot of things, including availability of some of their guns here in the US. Steyr sister companies are Mannlicher and Merkel, so there are guns to keep anybody smiling.   The showroom has an impressive display of firearms, illustrating the huge and diverse range of guns this company offers. The … Continue reading

Trigger Points

If you are a hunter you know what it takes to reach this point. The final moment when it’s all on the line and it’s time to shoot. You have poured your heart and soul into getting here. All the months of hard work, the dripping blood, sweat and tears has all been leading this millisecond when you pull the trigger. Hunting is a process, a journey and this is the last step, the final mile and what follows will … Continue reading

Fix it in the Field

Hunting is a tough sport and sometimes bad things happen to your guns. Here are a few of the more common gun problems and how to do firearm repairs in the field. Frozen Bolt First of all, shame on you for this one.  I have seen it happen many times when the temperature drops down in the neighborhood of zero and if your gun fails to fire in extreme cold, it usually means you messed up. You should have degreased … Continue reading

The End

I have been a bit remiss in getting new postings up here; but I am sure you understand, I have been hunting. Without dwelling on it, this was a non-typical year of deer hunting for me. I spent more time in the northeast than I have in recent years and more time hunting with friends than on industry sponsored hunts. I got back to my roots a little and was reminded again about how public land hunting can make you … Continue reading


I am a lucky man. Due to my chosen profession as a hunting and gun writer (and a lot of hard work) I have been able to hunt most of the world. As a whitetail nut, I think I have hunted them in just about every good place they live and a few not so good. I live in a place that is in the last category. In fact, Vermont may well be in contention for one of the worst … Continue reading

The Passing of a Superstar

  “Every sport has its superstar. Larry Benoit is whitetail deer hunting’s.”                               — Butch Towsley – November, 1971   “The magazine cover caused quite a stir when it hit the stands back in 1970. Deer hunters in general take a lot of pride in their skills and tend to be a bit competitive, so when the cover of a Sports Afield magazine asked the question, “Larry Benoit – is he the best deer hunter in America?” most hunters took notice … Continue reading

Guns That Keep You Alive

I don’t know why, but I have a bad habit of finding a hunting company on its last legs and throwing money at them for lousy hunts. I just did that again in Zimbabwe. You know that old adage, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?” Well this was my second trip with this bunch and it just keeps getting worse.  So I guess, “shame on me.” Part of the problem is the corrupt government … Continue reading


  He was just a boy but he was accepting a man’s job. As soon as the light was better he would take us to the buffalo that had been raiding the tiny patch of corn his family grew on this desiccated and crusted ground. As we waited for the sun, I noticed that he carried an ax made from a truck spring and a mopane tree root. “For the lions,” was the answer when I asked why. I thought … Continue reading

Horny Moose

Four days into this hunt and it was clear that the elk never got an invitation to the party. With nearly fifty daylight hours invested in the effort we had not seen an elk, heard a bugle or even encountered a fresh elk track. By now we all understood and most of us were just going through the motions and riding it out until we could pack out for home. On this day, the only diversion from the monotony of … Continue reading

Whitetail Home Invasion

It’s never too soon to start thinking about next deer season.  If you hunt public land you understand frustration.  Here is a technique that can lead to success, but the time for scouting locations is now. Time and again I have heard that you need to stay out of a buck’s bedding area because if you disturb him there, he will abandon it and perhaps move out of your hunting area. Good advice if you have a lot of private … Continue reading

Whitetail Tracking Tips From Lanny Benoit

This is excerpted from the book, Benoit Bucks.  Signed copies are available at “There is one way to tell a young buck, even one with big feet and maybe even a big deer that’s young. A young buck has never had much for antlers and he is used to dipping under branches without getting them tangled. When they are fawns, they are used to scooting under branches and stuff and it takes a while to get out of that … Continue reading

Hoggish Opinions

  I am not one to jump on board gun-writing bandwagons, particularly those I know are wrong. For example, I was under incredible pressure from manufacturers and editors to endorse the 45-caliber muzzle loader craze several years ago. But the numbers didn’t impress me and I resisted. I did have an editor who, while he didn’t agree with me, gave me some latitude. I did the tests, ran the numbers, shot some deer and wrote an article that was critical. … Continue reading

South Texas Safari

Pound for pound, I don’t think there is a tougher animal in North America than the nilgai. Well, at least when it comes to fighting off bullets. Give them a few days of cold, wet weather and they fold up like a cheap lawn chair. But hit them solid with a high power rifle and they laugh! At least it seems that way. They can soak up bullets like ballistic gelatin. Exit wounds are hard to come by and they … Continue reading

The Cartridge That Changed the World: .30-06

The .30-06 Springfield is 107 years old this year and by rights should be antiquated, outdated and a back-shelf history lesson. Instead it remains the number one best selling big game cartridge listed in the catalog of every major ammo maker. The .30-06 Springfield was so far ahead of its time that it may still have not peaked. Spawned as a military cartridge, the .30-06 Springfield served well through two world wars and its military record is distinguished and above … Continue reading

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

Own the Night I recently spent a couple of frosty nights hunting hogs in total darkness. But, I ruled the night because I was using some very advanced thermal vision equipment from EOTech. This is some cool stuff, not available to the public yet, if ever. (It’s nice to have friends in high places.) I could easily see to the end of the field I was watching, 300 yards or so, without a problem and I am sure it would … Continue reading

Can You Survive?

The fog arrived about an hour before dark and very quickly deepened in intensity until visibility was measured in feet. Until then it was simply another nasty November day in New England with rain that turned first to sleet and then snow as the temperature headed south. I was ostensibly looking for turkeys, but with all the upland and small game seasons open I kept my options loose. When a snowshoe hare busted out from under a spruce tree a … Continue reading

Remington’s Newest Rifle, the Model 783 Bolt Action Rifle

Remington’s flagship bolt-action rifle is the Model 700, while their price-point gun is the Model 770. In between is a huge void. Well, there was, anyway. Last fall I attended the Remington writer’s seminar in South Carolina, where they showed me a new rifle designed to fill the gap; the Model 783. It’s an “economy” priced rifle, but with more features than the 770. The trouble is that we were not allowed to write about it until now. The embargo … Continue reading

The New Face of Waterfowl Shotshells

I am no doubt dating myself, but I had a lot of years of waterfowl hunting before lead shot was banned. To say I think steel is an abomination is an understatement. I honestly believe that a lot more ducks die of wounding loss than ever would have died from lead poisoning. But, the sad fact is, we are stuck with the stuff. The early steel shot ammo was so bad I stopped waterfowl hunting for several years. After two … Continue reading

Size Matters — Use Enough Gun

Like everybody else writing a blog, I have some strong opinions. We all know that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one and they all stink except mine. But, for what it’s worth, the opinions expressed here have been formulated from nearly half a century of big game hunting, guiding and gun testing. Not just as a casual hunter, but as a guy that has made his living with guns and hunting for thirty years now. A guy who has … Continue reading