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The Benoit brothers are demi-gods of the hunting world, just below Artemis herself. Mere mortals plant food plots or use lures and scents to attract deer. The Benoits do not. These guys pick their prey and stalk it like silent catamounts. They're better at this than anyone.

Evidence of success lines their walls in columns: huge racks, arranged like so many hundreds of vertebra from the spines of giants. The brothers are the subject of numerous books, articles and videos.

It is ancient Iroquois lineage that spawned these prodigies of pursuit. Larry, the patriarch, was a renowned knife maker, crafting each piece by hand. He passed away last year, leaving grief in the hunting world, but his heirs remain: Lanny, 68; Lane, 62; Shane, 55; and Lanny's son, Landon, 40.

Tracking is their talent, and they want to share it with you.

For those not conversant in the art of chasing down game, shadowing a deer for a shot is nearly impossible, given a deer's superior senses. Truth be told, when most of us hunt, we play pretend, imagining we're self-sufficient mountain men, or something like that. The Benoits are what we all want to be: the real deal.

Their secret isn't entirely in their ancestry. It is their technique, an elixir only for the bold. Eschewing modern amenities like GPS, with the woods of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Ontario as their realm, they pursue their quarry exclusively on public land.

"You can shoot some really big deer on public land, but you have to scout," says Lanny, the reconnoiter of the group. He's never hunted private land, and his average weight on public land is an impressive 239 pounds. He credits it to advance legwork.

"Last year, scouting, I ended up 85 miles away from camp, but we got some monster bucks," Lanny says. He covers wide swaths of land looking for the right track to pursue. But how do you know which track is the right one? What if it's a small buck with big feet?

Brother Shane explains, "There are clues. Anything over three inches wide is a mature buck." The Benoits carry a 180 grain .30-06 case as a guideline. "The length is not as important because an older buck just may have worn his toes off," cautions Shane. "This is why the width is what counts."

"Some of the older bucks become flat footed; they don't walk on their toes as much. Look for them to have the best rack," adds Lanny.

When they find the right track, they follow it - across half frozen rivers in waders and deep into labyrinthine woods, echoing the determination and intelligence that made primitive humans the prevailing predators on the landscape.

Lanny cautions against a common mistake rookie trackers make - keeping one's head down. Head up and move at a steady pace. It's the Benoit way. Pace is critical. If you move too slowly after a moving buck, it will bolt; if you keep pace, your prey may stop and check you out, and you'll get your chance at a shot. When the buck is bedded down, that's time to move in slow motion, rifle ready.

The family harvests older bucks. Lanny recently tracked an aged buck whose skin was hanging off; they ate it anyway. A biologist aged the deer at 11 years; it dressed out at 247 pounds, but probably was 300 pounds at its peak. This is pretty big, but the Benoits don't want to be known as trophy hunters, and they don't score any of their bucks.

The Benoits may not be keeping tally, but they're still the best in the buck business. At the end of the season, they stand for a photo, hands linked together by huge racks - a chain representing the DNA that binds the family.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Whitetail Fear Benoit

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