Find out more about Islandport Magazine

Ghost Buck

The Legacy of One Man's Family and its Hunting Traditions

Softcover, 246 pages, Nonfiction, Memoir/Outdoors

ISBN: 978-1-939017-66-6

Availability:

$16.95

Available as an e-book in these formats:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

About this Book:

Winner of the 2016 John N. Cole Maine Literary Award

In Ghost Buck, outdoorsman Dean Bennett takes readers along to the place where he feels most connected to nature and his family––Camp Sheepskin. Guided by his family’s camp register, photos, and letters ranging from the 1800s to the present, Bennett reflects on his annual visits to his Western Maine camp since his boyhood. Through intimate narrative, he recalls hunting triumphs and defeats, including the elusive Ghost Buck that haunts the camp’s surrounding forest. This multi-generational tale combines memoir, history, and politics as it illustrates the environmental and cultural changes that have altered hunting and the rural culture of the Maine woods. Ghost Buck is not a book about how to hunt, but rather a story of how a tradition like hunting in Maine can forge unshakeable family bonds.

Read an excerpt here.

Ghost Buck
Reviews
News

"Maine outdoorsman, educator, and environmentalist Dean Bennett is well-known for his lucid writing and strong positions on environmental ethics and wilderness conservation. He is also an avid deer hunter . . . with Ghost Buck, Bennett's writing takes a more personal direction . . . that vividly and respectfully describes 'the simple pleasure of connecting with yourself, with others and with a certain place in nature, and with one of its creatures of grace and beauty." 
––Bill Bushnell, Central Maine Newspapers

"Dean used his family’s camp register, photos, and letters from the 1880s to today, to write this wonderful book that is sure to trigger your own memories, whether or not you have your own family camp . . . you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy this book. It’s a real treasure."
––George Smith, Bangor Daily News (George's Outdoor News) 
Read the full review here. 

On the surface, Ghost Buck is purely about generations of the Bennett family gathering every fall to hunt deer. But peer deeper, and you’ll find a family that has not let the uncertainties of life (war, sickness, hard times, distance) hinder their cherished traditions. Even if you are opposed to hunting for sport (“I’m not a trophy hunter” the author affirms), Ghost Buck will draw you in, making you feel like one of the Bennett family. And you just may find yourself thinking of your own family and its traditions and how to keep them going for generations to come.
––James M. Fisher, The Miramichi Reader
Find the full review here. 

"When his [Dean Bennett's] prose takes you through the woods surrounding Camp Sheepskin, you can smell the bog. You can hear the deer blow. You can see the thick snow that blankets the woods."
––John Holyoke, Bangor Daily News
The full review can be found here.

This is a book for our time and will be enjoyed and treasured far into the future. . . Bennett’s prose unfolds the centuries with ease and with the clarity of a master historian. . . The book is honest and documents not only one family’s experience but an element of Maine life through the generations.”
––William David Berry, Portland Press Herald
Read the full review here.  

Whispers of the Ghost Buck

Whispers of the Ghost Buck

Outdoorsman and wilderness advocate Dean Bennett explores hunting, tradition, and family in new memoir

by Katy Kelleher

Dean Bennett went on his first hunting trip at the age of three. Too young to hold a rifle or stalk through the trees, he stayed behind at Camp Sheepskin—a family camp named for a nearby bog—while his father, uncles, and grandfather ventured out into the woods. When they returned, tired and hungry, they sometimes talked about a mythical “ghost buck,” a preternaturally large deer that was very skilled at evading hunters.

“No one had ever seen the ghost buck, but they say you could see its tracks all over the woods,” Bennett recalled. “Some hunters said you could hear it moving through the trees. Sometimes, they’d find huge scrapes on trees where it had been.” The scrapes were too high for a normal buck—they could have only come from something else, something larger than life.

Keep reading on our blog.


Five Questions with Dean Bennett

Five Questions with Dean Bennett

"Ghost Buck: The Legacy of One Man's Family and Its Hunting Traditions" launched in December. Author and seasoned outdoorsman Dean Bennett explores the history of his family camp and the hunting tradition that has been a constant in his life since age three. We met with Dean to discuss family memories, hunting stories and the future of the sport. 

IP: What prompted you to write "Ghost Buck?"

DB: I've always had a strong interest in learning and writing about nature, wilderness and human relationships with the natural world, especially from a historical perspective. It’s important for readers to know why people have traditions that define who they are and explain their way of life.

Read the complete interview . . . 

Dean Bennett

About this Author

Dean Bennett, a lifelong Maine resident, went on his first hunting trip to his family’s Camp Sheepskin at the age of three and has spent each hunting season since at the camp. Bennett has been a cabinetmaker, cu

...

MORE

You May Like