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Who is the Greatest Deer Hunter Ever?

by Doug Howlett   |  September 26th, 2012 107

There are some great deer hunters out there today for sure, many from the current who’s who of modern outdoor heroes and probably even more guys who hold down everyday jobs, flying beneath the media radar and tagging monster whitetails year-in and year-out. The question is, who’s the best?

When faced with such a decision, what criteria should be considered? Does the guy who shot a world record buck because he happened to be in the right place at the right time deserve the title, or is it the guy who heads to the woods and somehow manages to shoot the biggest deer in his county every year? Is it the hunter who hunts his own local woods and learns the area better than the deer itself, or is it the one who travels around the country wisely seeking out those places that harbor the biggest, baddest trophies in the record books?

And speaking of record books, many hunters don’t even enter their deer, making it practically impossible to know they exist. And finally, is it necessarily someone we’ve all heard of, such as an outdoor TV celebrity? My money says the “best deer hunter” is probably some guy who works in a factory, fixes cars, frames houses or farms and that few, if any of us, have ever heard of.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the latter, so we offer you a slate of candidates to consider for the title of “best deer hunter ever” and invite you to offer your own candidates for the whitetail nation to ponder. Let the arguments begin.


  • kyle

    Did you forget about chuck adams?

    • Jeremy

      I would also put in the group at the Top Hal Blood- I have been watching him for the last couple of years. He just shot a 9 pt 212lbs in Maine. He finds a big bucks track and tracks it. There is no food plots- no managed deer herds. JUST NATURE. I would like to see anybody from this group go to Maine and actually shoot a deer consistently.

      • Brett

        I don't know if you saw but Larry Benoit is on this list…

        • Snowalker

          Fred Goodwin was the best wild deer hunter of all time. He shot more big bucks than all the rest of these guys. Allbeit the Benoits do get out there and get after em. I can’t remember the last time that I actually ran into another hunter in the Maine woods and that’s fine by me.

        • Snowalker

          Fred Goodwin (OHGM) best hunter and woodsman.

  • Bernie Barringer

    Much as I appreciate the accomplishments of the Lakoskys, Drurys and Kiskys, I would say that they are disqualified because they have the advantage of thousands of acres of land they can carefully manage to produce big bucks. They would definitely be near the top of a poll of great deer hunters/deer managers, but I would rule them out of this poll. Same goes for TV celebrities that go from one outfitter to the next and shoot a great buck at various locations. Someone else is doing most of the work. And I would rule out the one-buck wonders who have shot one giant buck. With all due respect to Milo Hansen and his accomplishment of shooting the world's record; how many other big mature bucks has he shot and how many of them did he have patterned before he shot them? Sorry Milo and Mike Beatty.

    • Hunter4ever

      Just a fun fact for everyone milo hanson shot a net b/c buck the year after he shot the world record and is the only hunter ever to be entered in back to back years.

  • Bernie Barringer

    Here's the second half of my comment since it was too long:
    So I voted for Adam Hayes since he is the one on this list that comes the closest to my idea of what a great hunter is. He's done what he has done mostly while competing with other hunters and doing it mostly on his own. There are a handful of others that belong to be in this poll, and some of them have no interest in the publicity. Thanks for the chance to comment.

  • Cramer Kilpatrick

    Believe this; the best deer hunters keep their mouth shut! They do not want you to know who they are! I know a couple of the best and they ain't talking!!!!!

    • Jay

      Love that answer. You can't count guys hunting over bait either, not much skill in hunting that way. No one mentions the Benoits.

  • cramer

    And this: most of these big name deer hunters just go from one outfitter to the other!

  • Dale Ford

    All TV personalities now a days use guides and their private land to hunt and there is little skill involved with shooting something someone else has patterned. Kisky was a great hunter before he ever got infront of a camera. Potts is my favorite but I would say Ben Lee should be in there. Milo Hanson is a freaking joke. He was on a drive hunt and shot the antler off the deer with a gun. There have been numerous deer that should hold the record before his. Many dont even acknowledge his deer anymore. 100% luck. Gun hunters shouldnt even be in the conversation. And I would rank Potts in top 5 due to his acclomplishments

    • Chris Cook

      I agree with you on the tv hosts. Anybody with a lot of money or a tv show can show up in camp and shoot a buck that the outfitter has picked out for them. That definitely doesn't make them a good hunter. Just lucky! In my opinion Larry Benoit has far more skill than most of the tv hosts put together. He doesn't have to push a game call or scent either. It is far too commercialized any more. You don't have to shoot a big buck in a different state each week to be good.

    • Jeremy

      You all are crazy and obviously need to hunt more.. I finally just recently purchased my own land, food plots, and managment here in Iowa and Im yet to kill anything bigger than 150 granted i have passed on ALOT of 150 inch deer but thats because i choose to go after mature deer which is extremely hard and many many hours of work. Only advantage I see them having is TIME they do it as a living and get to spend those hours in the tree which honestly isnt easy either, love it but its tough sitting 12 hour days in tree not moving much to do it all over again.. Dont hate, everythime i see people post stuff like this its all out of jealousy, i know i was before i purchased my own land.

    • guest

      better get your story straight.Milo did not shoot the antler off the deer.

    • guest

      Milo Hanson did not shoot the antler off his deer.Better get your facts straight before you say anything.

  • cramer

    Stan is just like the rest of the TV hunters. He goes from one outfitter to the next!

  • cramer

    I quit watching North American Whitetail TV a long time ago. Every week was the same; either Stan, Gordon, or Dr. Deer goes to this outfitter or to that outfitter and kills another whopper! They should be taking our wounded warriors hunting or taking kids hunting.

    • Chris Cook

      I can't agree with you more! Amen!

    • Tim Chenoweth

      Agreed,,,, And many of those hunts are on High Fence ranches…Adam Hays hunts are all FairChase….Hes the best in my mind…

    • jeremy

      Drurys do ever heard of catch a dream!!! Look it up!

  • tony ny

    there are none mentioned nearly in the same ball park as the Benoits who continue to successfully take trophy on public land.

  • cidol87

    Can't forget Dick Idol…….

  • Seth KY

    Also think about the equipment these guys have compared to Johnson and Hill…They shouldn't even be in the same category. And like everyone else has mentioned, they all go from outfitter to outfitter and take down monsters. That would be nice, but that takes a lot of skill out of the hunt.

  • Steve Sorensen

    I see no reason to believe one of these high-profile hunters is the best. How would you know if they hunt with advantages 99% of all hunters never have? I'm most impressed with the guys who do their own scouting and consistently kill mature bucks. If Marc Anthony were on the list, I might vote for him. Marc is an Illinois hunter who bowhunts from the ground, and regularly kills bucks that no hunter on the list would pass.

  • Jim Schmidt

    Larry Benoit-end of story.When you can hunt on public land,up in the new england states-maine,new hampshire-vermount,and continue to take the kind of deer that he takes,he has no compitation when it comes to being the best deer hunter.

    • Randy Wood

      Although a case could be made for Lanny Benoit!

  • Ben_OBrien

    Yea, I'm with you guys on Larry Benoit. He didn't live in the big buck saturated areas of the midwest and he was still able to garner a reputation for being an killer and a tactician. His methods will stand the test of time, too.

  • rick

    I don't choose any of these guys on the list. My vote goes to Bobby Worthington. After reading his articles over the years it is obvious that his whitetail knowledge is unbelievable. His ability to pattern and kill big mature bucks is amazing. I wouldn't want to be a big mature buck living in his neck of the woods, that is for sure.

  • Ken Lubowiecki

    I'm glad there are a lot of hunters who know the real truth about hunting. Most of hunting is being in the right place at the right time, hunting land that has big bucks on it, and most of all, letting the deer make the mistake of wandering close enough to either just walk past the hunter, chase a doe past, or be close enough to be fooled by a call that take advantage of a rutting deer wanting a doe. I see probably 95% the best deer taken every year since I started hunting 38 years ago, by first time or relatively new hunters, who just happen to have access to land that their relatives own, or a friend's place, or guided. There are thousands of hunters like myself, that know deer inside and out, and haven't yet taken a book deer because there either aren't any where we hunt, or we just weren't in the right place at the right time. You can pattern a huge deer for years and then have it killed by another hunter on the next property, poached or run down by a car. The Benoit's are definitely good deer hunters, seeing they actually hunt their deer down, and don't rely on bait like most do here in Texas, or a lot of other places. Trail cameras, which I use, have been the downfall of many a book deer, letting people know just when the deer walks by that camera, and letting the hunter make adjustments accordingly. In any event, there are thousands of hunters out there that could get a book deer if they had that access, and were patient and choosy enough to pass smaller deer and wait for the big one to pass by.

  • Ronnie

    I can't believe these names even appear on the list. Being popular on TV and having every outfitter kiss your ass for a litle free publicity doesn't make you a great deer hunter.

    • john w. sipe

      Chuck is on the list Kyle you must look !

  • Ken Lubowiecki

    It's sad, and with all the deer breeding going on, all you need is enough cash and you can buy a book deer in many states, which lets rich businessmen who haven't any hunting skills and knowledge to look like "experts" to any who see their deer on their trophy walls. And some of these rich businessmen are the same people, land developers, who run everyday hunters of their properties and make pets out of deer, when hunting is stopped because you can't hunt within a city limits and the deer herd is allowed to overpopulate, letting the deer eat all the available browse, leading to starvation, disease spreading, and deer-car accidents which cost millions of dollars and the deaths of the unfortunate few who hit them.

  • Recil

    What about Miles Keller and Roger Rothhar, both did'nt need TV or big bucks ($) to kill the monster bucks.

  • Ken Lubowiecki

    No,they needed access to properties that weren't hunted for years and only they were allowed. It's like the "Buckmaster", who shall be nameless, who is invited to shoot a big deer on properties, with guides, that have big deer on them, all because he started a magazine, and now looks like a "buckmaster to any clueless neophytes that don't understand all of this and think these people are experts because they have a lot of big deer on their walls.

    • Recil

      Miles Keller and Roger Rothhar and the Wenzels know whitetails unlike "The Buckmaster" or Waddell or most of the TV guys.These guys show up and a outfitter puts them on a buck that he saved for them. Roger Rothhar scouted 365 for the deer he killed. I think these guys earned the bucks they killed!

  • Chad

    Why is this even an issue? Where is the burning question of "Who is the best hunter?" coming from? I've enjoyed hunting, and talking about hunting since I was very young. Not once has the question ever crossed my mind or come up in conversation. There are many excellent hunters in the world. There are many entertaining hunting personalities on tv. Some fit into both categories. I enjoy watching hunting shows, and occassionally I learn something new. I appreciate that this poll question gets people talking about deer and hunting, but I think beyond that value, it is a senseless activity. Get outside and do what you love to do. Better yet, take someone with you and help them to enjoy the things we love about being in the woods and hunting. Don't get hung up on who is better or best. When we participate in safe and ethical hunting, we all win.

    • Ken Lubowiecki

      Can't argue with that

    • john w. sipe

      Agreed 100%

  • Fred

    What about Andrae Daquisto, Myles Keller,Gene & Barry Wensel, Jay Gregory, and Roger Raglin. Andrae has 14not gross booners and nine of those bucks net B&C! No disrespect to Milo Hansen, Mike Beaty and Mell Johnson but outside of getting lucky on those days they killed those great bucks what else have they ever taken! Two friends of mine Paul Ranft andSteve Pinkston could compete against this any day of the week. These two guys are getting it done highly pressured ground which agaun no disrespect to some of the tv guys. Then there is those guys that you never hear if and one day just randomly meet and walk into there house and your jaw drops.

  • guest

    My vote goes to Marc Anthony. 5 booners 4 of which were off the ground in a ghillie suit. I think all taken with archery gear too. I'm not sure how that can be competed with.

  • Bullwinkle

    If you can't count anyone that hunts over bait, you can't count anyone that hunts over food plots or farm fields either…basically discrediting all hunters shooting deer over something they do every day…EAT…just like discrediting the top anglers, because the fish also eat…

    Give me 160 acres and a few good neighbors that let deer mature as well, and all of us would be on this list, because we'd be harvesting 150"+ whitetails every year…have the cover, have the food, genetics will follow…

    • Bullwinkle

      In addition to what I mentioned above, give someone enough money and time, and they'd be on this list. The data on how to grow mature bucks is on the internet, just do a little research.

      What about the guy/gal who's shot their fair share of does to keep the population healthy, why aren't they on this list, and just people we were lucky enough to know somebody who had big bucks on their property and got access to hunt it.

    • Bullwinkle

      Also, what about people who hunt public land in northern MN or northern WI…those bucks (though they might lack the antler size of a buck the same age due to hasher winters and lack of food) are just as impressive as a 180" typical buck with all the food and lack of pressure that people who own 1000 acres + "manage"…give me a break…though a topic to be talked about, the greatest hunter is the one that gets the opportunity with a real WILD animal and doesn't miss the shot…that being said, I vote my grandpa, who shot plenty of big bucks in his day, but didn't have the money to get them mounted, and even had a few stolen because they were that impressive…he got the meat, and that's what he needed, but when the shot presented itself, him, and his brothers/nephews/cousins, didn't miss a beat…

  • Vector

    Can't believe that Fred Bear hasn't even been mentioned….

  • Joe

    In my opinion the best deer hunter of all time is THE BLUE COLLAR WORKING MAN!!!!! He comes in many shapes sizes, abilities and smells. I thought my father was the best deer hunter ever when I was five and six years old while I sat next to him in the tree stand and I’m sure many can agree. I think we have lost sight of good old fashion deer hunting. Now a days it is all about inches and keeping that trophy a secret from your own neighbor. We should be more concerned about collaborating and getting everyone we can involved in hunting. We (hunters) are declining year after year. I live in New York and an early youth gun season just passed for our state which is the first weekend of bow season. I hear everyone and their brother moaning about how it is going to scare every buck in the state underground and that they won’t see bucks the rest of “their” bow season. I am all for the new rule and just a little jealous it wasn’t around when I was that young. Good luck this upcoming season to everyone who loves this great sport of hunting.

  • David Cunningham

    Out of those mentioned Larry Benoit hands down. Bobby Worthington or Bill Winke belong. Chuck Adams best BOWhunter maybe. With the exception of a couple mentioned, the rest are wealthy opportunists who are exploiting our way of life for a dollar. Most would be average hunters under the circumstances the majority of us are forced to deal with.

  • Shawn

    With much respect to the above hunters Adam Hays comes to mind when I think of great hunters. Managed farms and low pressure are almost garuntees success, it gives you options and the comfort of knowing if you pass a 160-170 inch whitetail he will not fall to another mans bullet.

    Although planted corn and beans are at the top of the the list for the main food source in Ohio, Mr. Hays has to factor in minimal land, money and strategic food plots along with high pressured deer.

    Hays has to be strategic with when to invade these giants territory. A pressured deer in usually equals a nocturnal deer, at least in the Buckeye state! Hays has the know how to keep pressure to a minimal but also has to deal with the pressure of surrounding hunters unlike a majority of the respected canadates mentioned in this article. To outsmart one of these true giants takes more than just a good hunting area, it's takes knowledge, commitment and patience.
    Not to many hunters will pass a gross 180 inch deer in these conditions in HOPES of shooting the infamous 200 inch whitetail! 18 inches and one arrow more and Hays would have a unpressidented 5 gross 200 inch deer with a bow!
    In my opinion Adam Hays is a master of the game and few can rise up to the challenge of harvesting such rare animals under the toughest conditions possible for whitetail deer. My hats off to Adam Hays

    • bill

      ok dude we get it…by the way are you his lover?

    • Mike Smith

      Give me a break…. I can show you tree steps in trees of a friends farm that he left in there trespassing and just ask the landowner of his 200 inch Fairfield Co buck how he got on his property and what he thinks of him….

  • James

    The greatest deerhunter is the one that puts meat on the table for his family year in and year out with nothing more than a gun or bow. That only uses bare minimum equipment and is successful every year.

  • Chuck

    No kidding. He did most of his hunting with a recurve bow as well!

  • Dan

    This is an impossible question but fun. The greatest American deer hunters were obviously the woodsmen earlier in our nation's history who fed themselves and their families partly by hunting. They are mostly anonymous at this point. The options as presented in the writeup are ridiculously biased toward the media celebrity culture. It has been one big disappointment to see NAW head off in that direction as a publication over the years. In terms of legendary deer hunters, Fred Bear and Fred Goodwin come to mind. In the arena of contemporary hunter/writers, I would agree that Adam Hayes and Bobby Worthington seem to be really good at hunting whitetails.

  • Myles

    If you ask me the greatest deer hunters are the ones who not only are good woodsmen and love to hunt, but the ones who take the time to teach some one else to love this sport. It was a freind like this who taught me what I know about hunting and can never thank him enough.

    As far as these whitetail celebrities,I don't think they'd do any better than you and me if they had to hunt on some public land in Maine or any other low deer population state.

    But if you ask me the best part of deer hunting is being out there with your friends just enjoying the outdoors and talking about that elusive buck. Not being the best deer hunter ever.

  • Doug Howlett

    Man, what a lot of great comments guys. And you're right, names deserving of being on the list do include Myles Keller, Gene & Barry Wensel and Dick Idol. There are also a few other names I am not familiar with, but will check out now that you mention 'em. And no doubt as many of you have pointed out and as we expected at NAW, a lot of the best are out there flying under the radar, just doing their thing and putting the smackdown on big deer when they're not busting their hump at the office, in a shop, or in a factory during the week. Would love to hear about more of these real deer hunting superstars and profile them in another article.

  • Ritchie griffin

    These guys are all given what what they got other than Benoit, what about Fred bear, it's all tv, real hunters no this

    • jon w. sipe

      Ritchie ,honestly dude,Fred Bear was a TV HUNTER ! He also was not a deer hunter he was an archer after various species !

  • Terry Duvall

    Myles Keller is miles ahead

  • Adam3Hays

    I will be the first to admit, I am not the best deer hunter ever, maybe the luckiest! I am very fortunate to have grown up in a state that offers the quality animals that Ohio has, eternally grateful that my father took the time when I was 4 years old to stick a bow in my hands and introduce me to a sport that has made me who I am today, and blessed that the big guy upstairs has given me another season to chase one of his most magnificent creatures! Thanks to all who have cast votes and for the kind words, I do work very hard, year round, at figuring out the Masters at the game of survival. I will never apologize for the sacrifices I have made to create a life for myself that offers me the amount of time I get to spend in the woods each fall. I have been very successful, through trial and error over many seasons, and will share my knowledge with anyone who asks, just look me up on facebook. I can only imagine this vote would have ended up very differently if some of the "True Greats" were included. Legends like Gene and Barry Wensel, Miles Keller, Dick Idol. Gabe Shaffner and the Lone Wolf himself Andrae D'Aquisto. These whitetail hunters are in a league of their own and have taught me most of what I know about the whitetail deer through their stories and firsthand guidance. If I never took the time to thank any of you, thanks!
    I hope everybody has a safe and successful season this fall. Hunt like you mean it!

  • John ODonnell

    Just because a deer hunter captures his harvest in front of a $50,000 production unit on private land set aside by an outfitter that will surely gain promotional benifits doesnt prove a thing other than they can make a shot on a big deer. Deer hunters have killed big bucks consistantly through the years wihout cameras and commercial endorsements and are all but unknown. See the Johnson buck, Peoria Illinois. Now we see a never ending parade of self promoters married to trophy wives selling and hunting with gear from the highest bidder. I am tired of it. So with that said. To all the great hunters out there have a wonderful season. Be safe and remember why we are out there in pursuit of our passion.

  • Dennis A. McDade

    Hey guys,there ain't no such thing as the greatest deer hunter.We are all DEER HUNTERS,we need to stick together and be thankful for the opportunities we are Blessed with.Think about this for a moment.You go to your stand before daylight and get to see the woods come to life.whether you kill anything or not ,what a blessing you have received from GOD,thank HIM.

    • deergetter

      I agree with you 100%.

  • Myles

    You've got that right!

  • Swampfox

    My vote for the greatest deer hunter of all time goes to my older brother Jim "Niner" Nelson of Oakdale, Minnesota. Jim who survived 4 rounds from an AK47 in Pleiku, Vietnam recovered in time and set about to take me and teach me deer hunting as a young boy. We have been hunting together now for 40+ years and I am continually amazed at this humble Christian man as he harvests whitetails every year. God willing, maybe someday a "Booner" will come in Niner's shooting lane. I am truly blessed to have such a great older brother and deer hunting partner. Many of you may know Jim who is the owner of Timber Ghost Realty in North St. Paul. It's going to be a great season. Best of luck to all.

  • chris

    I would vote for Adam Hays hands down.Adam films himself and scouts his own deer.Adam seems to be the only non commercialized on the list (a few acceptions).Stan Potts is so over rated i can't watch him,his reaction to killing a deer that someone else scouted is a joke.Would love to take all these hunters and put them on public property to scout and hunt their own deer to see who would get the best deer.My bets on Adam Hays or Don Kisky.

    • Chris

      Ask Adam Hays and Steve Pinkston who they think is the best hunter ever. I guarantee they both say Myles Clary. Who both of them can thank for a ton of their knowledge and properties to hunt. Myles is by far the best hunte around, by the way, he has a full time job. Just because a guy shoots 200+ size bucks does not mean is the best. I live in central ohio and have shot a 225+ buck. I am not the greatest hunter, just lucky as hell to live and be able to hunt where monsters roam.
      FYI, i do not know Myles but anybody that is from around central Ohio knows that Hays, Pinkston and Esker brothers can thank Myles for any knowledge or access to big deer. He also does not let everyone in the world know what and where he shot something. Ask any of these guys about him and i guarantee it is all positive.

      • Mike Smith

        Myles is the man and is SO secretive not many know anything about him……One thing is for sure he kills GIANTS!!!!

  • Bob Hahn

    Fred Bear,Gene and Barry Wensel,Myles Keller,Dick Idol and Greg Miller! They all get my vote!

  • Novice Hunter

    Stan potts??? Really??? Probably one of the worst shots Ive ever seen and only kills big deer because he listens to what his guide says. Mike Beatty? He killed one "big" deer? WHat people dont know is that he wounded one right before he killed that one!!!!!!! Not great in my eyes…. Guys like Mike Rex, Roger Rathar….etc….Did you guys even think before you made this poll???? THere are very few celebs I would consider "great" hunters…..Lee Lakosky, yes. Kisky, Yes…drurys, yes…..Everyone else…….hired hitmen!

  • nbk4real

    MIke Beatty was blessed to have harvested the Beatty Buck and he will be the first person to tell you that. He has spent his recent life giving back to hunting, the less fortunate and anyone just asking for a hand or some hunting strategy not to mention TagdOut. After reading some of the comments making reference to Mike as if they knew him or anything about the hunt or what he has done since then have just proven they know nothing, less than zero. Mike Beatty is not only a great guy but he is a true woodsman. And as far as how many bucks hes harvested, well since the Beatty Buck its safe to say hes harvested multiple bucks 150 and up ( all on video ). There are a lot of great hunters on that list, sure you can say some are missing but Mike Beatty is just as qualified to be the best as any of them. People like Mike should be celebrated because he believes the greater the blessing, the greater the responsibility to give back and he lives it.

  • deergetter

    None of the above. think the best hunter is a person who puts their all into it .face it the hunters above just have better property's .I believe I am just as good or even a better hunter than anyone of them. And all of you should feel the same way about yourselves .Hunting is not a sport .It is a passion!!

  • Guest

    My vote goes to the "unknown hunter". The one that puts others obove his or her self and continues the life of the sport by teaching others the importance of what we do and takes others hunting. It does not matter the size of the deer, the method which it was taken or the number you have taken. What matters is what have you done to make sure others can enjoy it. It matters if you have taught others to enjoy all the aspects of nature and the passion for simply being outdoors. This question can never be answered in terms of an individual and never should be, because this is not what hunting is about. It is not a contest or challange for recognition. It is a passion that should be shared.

  • Dan Hackbarth

    Gene and Barry and Bobby Worthington

  • Lucas

    Howard Hill hunted with a longbow. He did not hunt with a recurve. He found them to be too inconsistent in their grouping.

  • swampy

    Benoits all the way !!!

  • SteveP

    I would go with Lanny Benoit instead of Larry, and I believe Larry would agree….

    • Josh

      Lanny is one of the greats for sure, but in the same breath lanny as well as the rest of the boys learned from the best…..Larry

      • john

        I know who you are Josh ! LOL

    • john w. sipe

      If we are going to disect the Benoit family I will tellya this .At one time Larry ruled ,then along came Lanny to take over ,but currently Lane and shane are neck and neck the best hunters from this family ! They have adapted to other methods of hunting outside of tracking ,employed vocalization and rattling that makes them more evolved than a guy that drives 25,0000 miles to find a big track and jumps takes the track 400 yards and if he fails to come on to the buck stops and does it again ! that is road hunting employing %'s not skill per say !

  • Tom

    Dan and Guy Fitzgerald. Tom Miranda. Noel Feather

  • everythingwhitetails

    Why is Chuck Adams on this list its not a Big Game list.

  • Jeremy

    Its amazing how jealous people are because they worked there but off to achieve a dream which is to purchase there own private land and manage it the way they want. I can admit I was jealous before i bought some land that i worked my but of to get granted its only 40 acres but im tunring it into the best 40 acreas possiable budded up next to hundreds and hundres of continious managed acreas. Dont hate because we all have dreams and it all depends on how bad you want that dream work for it save for it and manage it, stop hating cause that surely wont help get yours!

  • George Barran

    First that came to mind were Stan Potts, and Spook Span.

  • Josh

    I had the privalage to film with the Benoits back in 2000-2004 with Great Northern productions and film with each of the boys and Larry. I was able to stay in wall tents and live the true out door experience….no catered hunting lodge just pure out door living!
    Larry is a very special man, and is probley one of the most accomplished hunters ever. We live in Vermont and any one who is blessed to hunt in our "great state" (touch of sarcasam there) knows shooting a trophy buck, although possible, but just not very probbable. These boys do it year in and year out hunting the mountains of Jay and way up north in Main and Canada. I remember sitting around camp one night and and Larry saying " you can walk into my house close your eyes and through your hat and it will never hit the floor."

    • Josh

      sory spelt Maine wrong

  • Coby Stempien

    John Eberhart. Hunts public land and private property that he attains permission too.

  • chrism

    Seems like this day an age money buys you the biggest deer. To me theres a huge difference in hunting your own farm with food plots established to me those guys are fbarmers shooting live stock. Dont get me wrong im jealous would do the same if i had resources. But i dont i hunt public land in ine were you can hunt hard all day and be lucky to shoot. Let alone see a deer. Yet i know a few hunters who take to these public land and harvest beautiful. 200lb. Deer yearly with nice racks. A big deer in maine is measured by weight with trophy status being bigger then 200lbs. So my vote gos to the guy that hunts public land tracks his deer and shoots a monster each year larry benoit is the only man on the list above that accomplished all that? Just my take.

  • JDreher

    On this list I would have to go with unknown or the Benoit. Most of these filks are nothing more than an average guy that caught a break in life. I know a few people, myself included who have been pretty damn successful due strictly to our own commitment and dedication. If others like me were independently wealthy or were finacially backed we would easily give these "stars" a run for their money.

  • Jdreher


  • Steve

    Although I appreciate this list and all they have accomplished, to call anyone the "G.O.A.T." you would have to factor in so many other things. I know of a man who has taken numerous large whitetails with his bow, muzzle loader and rifle. He has never hired a guide, never paid to hunt, and has access to very little private property. He has around 12 deer that range from 130-170 inches. He has introduced several people to the sport of hunting. He takes youth – both boys and girls out every year and helps them take their first deer. Given the opportunity to hunt in areas the likes of Stan Potts, Lee Lakosky and others, who knows what he could accomplish. Does this make him the worlds greatest deer hunter? He would say "no" because there are hundreds just like him. Men like him make it impossible to name the "greatest."

  • Lucas Thompson

    No doubt about it in my opinion its Mark Drury. He is the absolute best land manager in hunting today and I have to figure that right along with just killing deer. He knows how to get the best out of his land every year and most of his deer come from his very own land that he manages. Not just a killer but an ambassador to the sport of hunting and an all around great guy.

  • guest

    Lots of negativity on people who have great access to land and time to hunt. hell I bet half of the people posting have monster bucks on their ground and don't even know it, they just think they are not there. I am a fan of Drury and all the other big names and a big buck is just a smart in Iowa as anywhere else in the country. There is still a tremendous amount of skill, time, and effort that goes into consistently harvesting a mature whitetail. If you ever get consistent at it you will then realize there is much more than luck. I would bet there is a big buck tromping through any woodlot, unless you unlucky hunters push him out… without ever realizing it… BTW I hunt public land and occasionally I have some friends invite me to tag along. I am jealous of what others have, but i don't hate… just makes me work harder to get it!!! The American Way!

  • guest

    This is a fun question but needs to be broke down into catagories, i no some professional hunters that arent heard of simply because people with money would take there ground, they kill pope and young deer every year and dont register them and have been offered thousands to be video taped and refused.

  • Black Dog

    Guess they never heard of the Wensel brothers or Roger Ratthar??

  • john 'Buck' Sipe

    Honestly I revere what Larry Benoit ushered in back in 1970 when the Sports Afield Magazine Cover and story appeared ! Thee ancient Art of tracking had takena back seat to ambush hunting and the article started a Cult like following and and grows each year in leaps and bounds ! Many guys try tracking a couple times and find it to be exhausting and frustrating and one heck of a long drag when you score ! Is he is Greatest Deer Hunter ever ? I think he was great in his day as are all his sons ! As for this list he is hands down the best ever ,but with all due respect to each naominated Hunter on the list I believe the Greatest Hunter Ever Title would or could be given to more unmentioned hunters that remain out of the limelight than most want to believe ,but human Nature is to attach your self to a person that is 'famous' or well known and that is allright ,but not necessarily the honest answer ! My vote goes to Larry Benoit as far as this list goes !

  • atr2425

    Coby Stempien, you sir, got this one correct. John Eberhart. If you have not heard of this guy, Google him.
    John Eberhart is one h–l of a hunter and has managed to get most of it done within the state of Michigan.
    Michigan is a huge orange army after Nov. 15th with the if its brown its down mentality. we have the ability to grow huge bucks but they are not allowed to get that old. Eberhart has multiple book bucks to his credit from gaining hunting rights
    on private property to hitting public land. he flat out know how to get it done.

  • Tom

    Larry Benoit hands down. The Benoits hunt the big north woods where deer are not easy to pattern, and the deer poopulation is spread out. Larry gets out in the woods and HUNTS his deer, he dosen's sit on a bait pile in a blind and wait for the big boy to walk in and take a shot.

  • bill

    Its a silly argument to begin with…..its all big business today…90% of the guys/girls on TV are NOT hunters….they are SHOOTERS…they go from outfitter to outfitter…show up…look at a map and walk to the tree and SHOOT the buck when he comes by. ALL the work was done by someone else.

    And we are stupid enough to watch them on TV so they can help pay their Outfitter come in and lease up our farms…..what a joke! These days IF you`ve got a BIG buck you are hunting you had better keep your mouth shut…because these attention whores are cut throat and they will come in and try to lease theplace you hunt in a second if you`ve got a big buck there.

    I`ll vote for the unknown guy who works at it 365 days a year….who does NOT own acres of land…a guy that has to really work to get his MATURE buck….and does it year after year. I know a guy here in Ohio….10 bucks in 10 years….all in a ROW… they score from 151 to 186. Doesnt show off, doesnt brag, doesnt post stuff all over. He is just a private guy who enjoys his battle with MATURE bucks. He would run circles around these fools on TV. He shares every farm he hunts with other hunters…but still he gets it done…..THAT is a great hunter!

  • Chris

    Drive 25000 miles and give up after 400 yards? Must be you never tracked (and killed) a deer. The benoits will blow these guys out of the water! I just got back from a sport show in Vermont with speakers Jim Massett and joe Dinitto. They hunt New York adirondacks. Lowest deer density in country. Successful every year! They hunt the same way as benoits. Dinitto says he hunts 3-5 days a year and averages 6.5 year old deer. Just because adirondack deer at 6.5 don't average 150" doesn't mean they aren't as smart!

  • scott

    I agree with chris the benoit are the best and are documented these othere guts are not hunters as far as I’m concerned its easy to hunt ranches and farms but the benoits hunt the woods of the new england states they are bad ass read there storys and they hunt

  • Holmes Cadet

    I don’t think much of anyone who hunts with outfitters time and time again. The work is done for them. What these hunters should do is go out and find these great hunters, who go out year after year and do their scouting and set ups and kill big deer year after year and put them on tv some and not always these guys you see on tv all the time at outfitters hunting. And as far as the greatest hunter: the hunter that gets my vote is David Howard from London, Kentucky. This man has bagged more than 40 big bucks in his hunting career. This is the kind of person that someone should contact and hunt with him. This is a true hunter. What makes him so special is he has had 46 kids hunting with him that’s killed their first deer with him. This man also took the new Ky record bow kill last Oct. 31, 2013. This deer officially scored dry net 223 2/8. This deer may also be the biggest buck killed in Ky during the 2013-2014 deer season.

  • bowhunter

    I vote for David Howard as being the best deer hunter ever. With over 32 deer mounted, none of these have been officially scored, but about 6-7 will make Pope and Young for sure, also with his latest bow kill of 2013 which has been officially named: a new Kentucky state record bow kill. Kentucky’s new all time bow kill. This man gets it done. Leases land and does all the work associated with hunting and gets the job done. Now that’s a hunter. Not one of these so called hunters either.

  • DickClick33

    For me the best hunter is My grandfather who spend his entire life hunting in the mountains down in Mexico, he killed more than 100 deer a couple bobcats and a bunch of birds just with a old double barrel shotgun and his dog.

  • HMW

    I also vote for David Howard of London, Ky. I know this man. He’s the best hunter that I know. He’s been bow hunting for 40 years now. He has taken many animals with his bow. deer, turkey, bobcat, coyote and bear. He has at least 6 or 7 deer that makes P and Y Club. This man could go out in any woods, scout and kill deer any time.

  • Tommy J.

    I also vote for David Howard of London, Ky. He’s the best. He does his own scouting, blind/tree stand placement and hunts by his self.

  • Jerry S.

    My vote is also for David Howard of London, Kentucky. My reasons are he hunts by himself, he does all his own scouting, blind and tree stand placement. He shares his hunting land with other hunters. He never brags or feels he is better than other hunters. A group of us got together and counted up the people he has hunting with him that killed their first deer with him and that was a whopping 37 people. Mostly kids. That’s great, that’s what makes him the hunter he is. David has seven deer that will make P and Y records if he so chooses to enter them. He’s the best hunter that I know of. Thanks.

  • Jerry J.

    My vote also goes for David Howard of London, Ky. All these other guys hunts at paid ranches and all. Not David Howard. This is a great hunter and if anyone else knew him they would also vote for him and not these other guys.

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