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Legendary Tracker, Larry Benoit, Tags Midwestern Trophy Buck

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December 19, 2012

Legendary Tracker, Larry Benoit, Tags Midwestern Trophy Buck

By Scott Bestul

Scott Smolen is a whitetail addict who, like many of us, grew up reading about the Benoits, the legendary tracking family from Vermont. Smolen, a treestand bowhunter from Wisconsin, struck up a friendship with Larry Benoit—the family patriarch—several years back. The two kept in touch and bonded over whitetails and deer hunting even though their methods differ vastly.

Not long ago, Benoit admitted to Smolen that advancing age kept him from taking up a buck’s track and walking him down like he had in the old days. Last spring, at the Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo, Smolen invited Benoit to come and hunt his Wisconsin farm, where sitting in stands and blinds is the preferred method. Benoit accepted, and arrived at the Smolen farm on Nov. 16 with son Lanny in tow.

Looking forward to hosting one of his hunting heroes, Smolen had been sending trail cam photos to the Benoits throughout the summer and fall. Of the 30 bucks in those photos, one grabbed Benoit’s attention: a chocolate-horned 10-point with a drop tine. “That’s the buck I want when I come,” Benoit told him.

On the fifth day of the hunt, Smolen was sitting with Benoit in a blind overlooking a cut cornfield when Benoit spotted a deer in the timber. Smolen glassed the whitetail and told his guest it was a good buck and he should be ready to shoot. Benoit dropped the buck with a single shot from his .270, and when the pair walked up to the buck, Smolen realized immediately that it was the drop-tine buck Benoit had admired all summer.

“It was a style of hunting he clearly wasn’t used to, but Larry seemed to really enjoy himself,” Smolen says. “It was a neat experience to host them in our home, and I had such a great time sitting in the blind with Larry; he was more fun and entertaining than I imagined he’d be.”

Comments (13)

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from jjas wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Quote from article...."Benoit dropped the buck with a single shot from his .270"

Maybe I'm missing something, but the firearm in the pic with the deer looks like a slug gun to me.

Regardless...congrats on the fine buck.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MICHMAN wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

I am glad to hear that "Larry Legend" is still finding ways to pursue his passion. Happy Hunting Larry, you have inspired many!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Northeastsportsman wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

His .270 looks like a slug gun because it is a Remington 760 without iron sights. I own a Remington 7600 and without the iron sights it would look like a Remington 870 too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lynda Benoit wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

You need to get your information correct. November 16 Lanny Benoit who is 66, and will be 67 this next February, was in Ontario tracking and shooting his own big buck. This was done on public land. Please check your facts. Thank you.

Mrs. Lanny Benoit.
Montpelier, Vermont

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

wow it was just a minor detail about lanny being along. no need to get all defensive

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bone seeker wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Neither here Nor there an 80 something year old Larry Benoit yet again successfully tags a nice buck. Whether tracking or now a new stand hunt he gets it done. I hunt Northeast and appreciate true hunters with old school tactics like myself

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Northeasternsportsman quote "His .270 looks like a slug gun because it is a Remington 760 without iron sights. I own a Remington 7600 and without the iron sights it would look like a Remington 870 too."

Thanks for pointing that out. The two guns do look very similar.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longrifle wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Larry Benoit is a true deer hunter, and an inspiration. The knowledge and techniques taught by him and his sons will make anyone a better deer hunter and woodsman, even if they only hunt farmland or suburbia. The Benoit books and videos are matched by few, and show the true application of the human mind as the primary tool of a real hunter. Additionally, the family are good, regular folks. I am bewildered by the worship of the testicular containment vessels in the media with all the "git er done", yee-haw, fist pumping horse manure. Nothing but marketing. Purchasing all of the crap they pimp will not make you a hunter. A trophy is earned, not bought. A weapon, a knife, and a dragging rope are all that is required. Try hunting the Great North Woods the tv charlatan way, you will fail. God Bless the Benoits for preaching the true essence of the hunt.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from GuyGene wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Congratulations, again, Larry! All I know is you have made me want a model 7600 in 30.06.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1ojolsen wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

I am from Wisconsin but live in Maine. Two vastly different hunting worlds but I love them both, (big woods is way tougher). Its fun that Mr. Benoit got the buck he wanted. Nice. (and yes I know that northern WI is big woods too.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Barry Wensel wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Sorry I just now saw this. Coincidentally, I'm also a friend of Scott Smolen. Similar to Scott, I too am a purist bowhunter. But that hasn't stopped Larry Benoit and I from being friends for fifty years. I used to live in Vermont. Yes, our techniques vary but our love of the whitetail has kindled the friendship all these years. For those who question his success as a deer hunter, I'm here to verify the man is the real deal. Back when I used to live in NW Montana, Larry and Iris would drive out from Vermont and stay with us weeks at a time in the spring. Being around him was always a pleasure and I got to see first hand a legend in the making. In a personal letter I received from him just last week Larry said he was getting ready for next season already. Right there is a testiment to his fortitude. He's quite the man and I'm proud to call him a friend. BW

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishman417 wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

us looks like a slug gun

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dougfir wrote 27 weeks 1 day ago

I saw in our local news that Larry passed away just a few days ago. I hope that Field and Stream will do something in honor of him in coming blogs/issues, etc.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Longrifle wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Larry Benoit is a true deer hunter, and an inspiration. The knowledge and techniques taught by him and his sons will make anyone a better deer hunter and woodsman, even if they only hunt farmland or suburbia. The Benoit books and videos are matched by few, and show the true application of the human mind as the primary tool of a real hunter. Additionally, the family are good, regular folks. I am bewildered by the worship of the testicular containment vessels in the media with all the "git er done", yee-haw, fist pumping horse manure. Nothing but marketing. Purchasing all of the crap they pimp will not make you a hunter. A trophy is earned, not bought. A weapon, a knife, and a dragging rope are all that is required. Try hunting the Great North Woods the tv charlatan way, you will fail. God Bless the Benoits for preaching the true essence of the hunt.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MICHMAN wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

I am glad to hear that "Larry Legend" is still finding ways to pursue his passion. Happy Hunting Larry, you have inspired many!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Northeastsportsman wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

His .270 looks like a slug gun because it is a Remington 760 without iron sights. I own a Remington 7600 and without the iron sights it would look like a Remington 870 too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GuyGene wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Congratulations, again, Larry! All I know is you have made me want a model 7600 in 30.06.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Quote from article...."Benoit dropped the buck with a single shot from his .270"

Maybe I'm missing something, but the firearm in the pic with the deer looks like a slug gun to me.

Regardless...congrats on the fine buck.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lynda Benoit wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

You need to get your information correct. November 16 Lanny Benoit who is 66, and will be 67 this next February, was in Ontario tracking and shooting his own big buck. This was done on public land. Please check your facts. Thank you.

Mrs. Lanny Benoit.
Montpelier, Vermont

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

wow it was just a minor detail about lanny being along. no need to get all defensive

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bone seeker wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Neither here Nor there an 80 something year old Larry Benoit yet again successfully tags a nice buck. Whether tracking or now a new stand hunt he gets it done. I hunt Northeast and appreciate true hunters with old school tactics like myself

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Northeasternsportsman quote "His .270 looks like a slug gun because it is a Remington 760 without iron sights. I own a Remington 7600 and without the iron sights it would look like a Remington 870 too."

Thanks for pointing that out. The two guns do look very similar.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1ojolsen wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

I am from Wisconsin but live in Maine. Two vastly different hunting worlds but I love them both, (big woods is way tougher). Its fun that Mr. Benoit got the buck he wanted. Nice. (and yes I know that northern WI is big woods too.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Barry Wensel wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Sorry I just now saw this. Coincidentally, I'm also a friend of Scott Smolen. Similar to Scott, I too am a purist bowhunter. But that hasn't stopped Larry Benoit and I from being friends for fifty years. I used to live in Vermont. Yes, our techniques vary but our love of the whitetail has kindled the friendship all these years. For those who question his success as a deer hunter, I'm here to verify the man is the real deal. Back when I used to live in NW Montana, Larry and Iris would drive out from Vermont and stay with us weeks at a time in the spring. Being around him was always a pleasure and I got to see first hand a legend in the making. In a personal letter I received from him just last week Larry said he was getting ready for next season already. Right there is a testiment to his fortitude. He's quite the man and I'm proud to call him a friend. BW

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishman417 wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

us looks like a slug gun

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dougfir wrote 27 weeks 1 day ago

I saw in our local news that Larry passed away just a few days ago. I hope that Field and Stream will do something in honor of him in coming blogs/issues, etc.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment