March 28, 2023

When You Can Shoot Well, It Increases Your Odds on Bagging That Wiley Old Buck

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As most of you already know, Milt Inman, our chief photographer and I attended the first annual Big Buck Tracking School held at the Allagash Sporting Camps in Allagash, Maine. It was hosted by the camp’s owner Mike Paquette and much of the school was conducted by Lanny and Lane Benoit from Vermont, along with other volunteers.

One of the things that both Benoits stressed to the attendees was in honing your abilities at shooting. They weren’t real fussy about what you shot as long as you shot a lot and shot often.

There were two sessions of shooting that took place during the 3-day school. One took place in the gravel pit near to the camps and the other transpired in the thick woods directly behind the camps. As a matter of fact it was within a stone’s throw from the back of our camper.

I filmed some of the target shooting that took place in the gravel pit. Below is a version of that shooting that we loaded onto If you would like a better quality video to watch, click this link. (If you are on dial-up, right click and choose “save target as”).

I also have given you a couple of photos below that I hope might give you an idea of the needed shooting ability that took place out in the woods. The first picture shows a cardboard cutout of a deer that is attached to a zip line. Trust me when I say that this cardboard cutout wasn’t exactly lifesized.

Hunters were coralled into an area about 30 yards away. Without notice, a volunteer pulled on the zipline and sent the deer off into the thicket. I would estimate the shooters had between 1 and 3 seconds to get off a shot.

Cardboard cutout of deer for target shooting

The next photo will not do a real good job of illustrating the yankee enginuity that went into this effort. A cart modified with parts and pieces of a bicycle was used to simulate a bounding deer. An arm was attached to part of a bicycle pedal sprocket that when the cart moved would cause the arm to move in an up and down motion. If you thought hitting a cardboard deer on a zipline through the thicket was a tough shot, this one was tops.

modified deer target

Tom Remington