Benoit, ‘Babe Ruth for hunters,’ dies - Longview News-Journal: Nation
Benoit, ‘Babe Ruth for hunters,’ dies
New York Times News Service | Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 4:00 am
Larry Benoit, who tracked whitetail deer through the snowy woods of northern New England and southern Canada for more than seven decades, shooting at least 200 of the biggest and most prized specimens, known as trophy bucks, while becoming one of the nation’s most revered deer hunters, died Oct. 8 at his home in Duxbury, Vt. He was 89.
His death was confirmed by his son Shane.
Today, trophy buck hunting has elements of competitive sport, some of them high-tech. Some hunters use video cameras to learn the traveling and behavior patterns of deer, and, after a kill, many have antlers officially measured; “trophy racks,” they are called.
Benoit, who grew up poor near the Canadian border, learned to hunt because his family needed food. Even after achieving fame, he measured success by a buck’s weight; the heavier the buck, the more meat. His most notable skill was in recognizing (without a camera) the tracks big bucks left in the snow and following them as long as necessary.
“He was kind of like Babe Ruth for hunters,” said Ron Boucher, a hunter and rack measurer who knew Benoit for more than 30 years and wrote about him for North American Whitetail magazine. “He was probably known by more hunters than any other person for his time.”
In September 1970, Sports Afield magazine published a cover article with the headline “Larry Benoit — Is He the Best Deer Hunter in America?” Five years later, Benoit, a carpenter in the offseason, published “How to Bag the Biggest Buck of Your Life,” a book, written with Peter Miller, that many people consider a standard text for deer hunters. In it, he promoted comprehensive preparation, not instant gratification:
Find deer using the ancient art of tracking hoof prints, not sitting in the relative comfort of a tree stand. Are you really a hunter, or just a shooter? Do not fire at the first big buck you see. Wait for the one you truly want.
“To outwit the whitetail, you must know how to locate him, how to track him and how to down him,” he wrote. “It takes stamina, woods lore, deer lore and experience to win this fight.”
Ease up on those summer beers. Drink skim milk. Tend to your calluses, wear wool socks, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do isometrics “on the can” if that is the only time you have.
In addition to Shane Benoit, Larry Benoit is survived by three other sons, Lanny, Lansing and Lane; four daughters, Aloma Abner, Serene Savarese, Aleta Corriveau and Zana Evans; 23 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
A daughter, Lona Burns, died last year. His wife of 66 years, the former Iris Sweet, died in 2008.
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