I have no recollection of how I got to be friends with Larry Benoit. I was in my late teens and Larry was old enough to be my father. When father died I was only twelve and Larry’s reputation as a great deer hunter certainly was one thing I thought could help fill a great void.
Some very strong ties
My father left the same hunting legacy that Larry now had and there was even somewhat of a physical resemblance. Without doubt I saw Larry as a surrogate father figure in a younger version.
Number two in sequence of birth and oldest son of nine children, Lanny is five months younger than I. We became close friends ostensibly giving Larry two sons to run around and party with and that is just what we did, for years.
How the legend started
Living in our area was a freelance writer named Peter Miller. Shame on me for not remembering to which outdoor sporting magazine Peter contributed his bio-documentary on Larry. Life for the deer hunting Benoits would never be the same again.
WDEV is the local radio station in Waterbury, VT., and it is owned by Ken Squire. At that time Ken was broadcasting many of the NASCAR races for CBS, and it was no problem getting a film crew to shoot a segment on Larry.
Peter eventually followed up with two additional articles and conjoining the three became a book. It was transitory to prodigious notoriety in Larry’s Realm. When hunting season was nigh his house was standing room only.
He didn’t ask for all this
Inordinate numbers of hunters from out of state, some of them celebrity seekers, some fantasizing Larry would disseminate where to go and how to “do” it, and others with the consummate delusion of actually being able to hunt with Larry poured into the Benoit household.
Someone being my best friend suddenly overwhelmed by good fortune was exciting for me in the sense I was happy for him. At the same time I didn’t feel awe struck because after all, it is my best friend, Larry. I had known him for a long time by then.
As a consequence of the exposure and rumors of being a better hunter than his dad, plus previous and ongoing success in Drag Racing (Another life with the Benoit Family) Lanny was as popular and sought after as his father. It was a fabulous time for me just looking on.
Let’s go hunting
I don’t remember the year, only that I was still in my twenties when I decided if I was going to deer hunt it was not going to be with my best friends.
I didn’t shoot a deer that year, but I supplied major muscle dragging out a 145 buck, mother Benoit’s (Ikie), a 193 pound brute, Lanny’s, and a 225 monster, Larry’s. All on bare ground; if you’ve never had the displeasure let me tell you, it is tantamount to pulling a box car that has no wheels.
The young ones carry on
The last I knew the Benoit clan rarely hunts in Vermont any more. They are mostly in Maine where the White Tails are bigger and hunters are fewer per square mile.
When I reached my late forties Lane and Shane, the last two sons, numbers seven and eight of the Benoit nine had been hunting for several years. At another lost moment in time of my recall Lane shot an incredibly huge 284 pound buck somewhere in Maine.
284 pounds, I never would have lived to write this story.