The Big Woods Bucks Team

If you're looking for a team of outdoor professionals whom like to share their woodsmen skills and are entertaining while doing it, you've come to the right place.

The Big Woods Bucks team is comprised of some of the foremost experts in whitetail hunting, and hunting in North America generally, many of whom bring decades of experience as Maine guides to the team. Each member is specifically chosen for their particular skill sets and willingness to help others learn. 

One of our true passions is passing on our knowledge and experiences to Big Woods Bucks fans, both expert hunters and beginners just setting out into the woods to hunt the old fashioned way. From teaching beginners to read sign, to showing intermediate hunters how to track and sneak up on wily mature bucks, through films, books, and seminars we teach the hunting and woodsman skills necessary to achieve your outdoors goals.

We encourage you to go though the teams bio's and get to know us.

Thank you for taking  your valuable time visiting our website. 


Lee Schanz Jr.

Lee is a Senior Team Member of Big Woods Bucks and a Master Maine Guide from Cornville, Maine. He has a passion for tracking big whitetails and calling Maine's largest moose. He served for many years on the board of directors for the Maine Professional Guides Association. Lee has hunted Alaska and Canada as well as his native State of Maine and killed record class animals on his adventures. When Lee is not chasing deer and moose for himself, he runs Schanz's Guide Service, specializing in deer, moose, and bear. His clients have taken animals that qualified for Boone and Crocket, Pope and Young, and MASTC. Lee also enjoys writing articles for local outdoor publications and for Big Woods Bucks media. Lee's wife, Kelly, helps him run Schanz's Guide Service along with their son, Stephen, who is also a BWB team member. Lee and Kelly also have three wonderful daughters; Amber, Sarah, and Christine.

Joe Kruse

Joe Kruse has had a passion for deer hunting ever since he shot his first buck in the swamps of Florida at the age of 15. Since that time more than 30 years ago, he has spent every fall pursuing big game. In 2006, he and his wife Liz made the decision to move to Maine and raise their kids, Leah and Taylor, in the outdoor lifestyle. In the summer of 2009, with a desire to combine their love of the hospitality business and passion for the outdoors, they bought and rebuilt what is now Lake Parlin Lodge. The Lodge is a popular destination for snowmobilers in the winter, families and weddings in the summer, and hunting in the fall. Joe is a Maine Guide and float plane pilot that combines the two showcasing all that the area has to offer.

Mark Scheeren

Mark is a Big Woods Bucks Team Member and an avid rifle hunter who specializes in tracking and still-hunting (and will stand hunt when conditions warrant that tactic) on both public and private land. He is an outdoor writer with articles published, as well as his latest book, Learning to Track and Hunt Wilderness Whitetails, One Man’s Tale of Applying the Ancient Art from the Masters. Mark considers himself a hunter/conservationist. He spends most of his season hunting in his native Adirondacks and Northern Maine and has hunted in the river valleys of Montana as well. Mark is a researcher by profession and has brought his inquisitive nature into his devotion to matching the rifle to the tracking art and mountain hunting. Mark is also an addiction researcher and is the Chairman of Baldwin Research Institute, The St. Jude Retreat, and is a co-author of the controversial book, The Freedom Model for AddictionsEscape the Treatment and Recovery Trap. Mark is married to his beautiful wife Danielle and has three wonderful children: Austin, Gabrielle and Joe. 

Neil Pendleton

Neil believes persistence and passion are the key factors that contribute to his hunting success. Having deer hunted 28 seasons, Neil Grew up hunting in Maine at age 11, and his father and grandfather taught him many valuable lessons that he has used along the way. His primary focus is on hunting mature whitetail bucks. Neil has had success in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and the Adirondacks (NY). During the early fall, Neil can often be found perched in a tree with a bow. But after a month in a tree, Neil prefers tracking. Of course, if the snow isn't flying, he will slow down to still-hunt the bare ground. After deer season ends, Neil can be found looking for sheds or scouting new areas getting ready for the next season. Neil is passionate about filming his hunts and produced  more than a terabyte of footage during the 2022 season, much of which was presented at the FBM Maine Outdoor Journal film festival and is published on the Big Woods Bucks YouTube. Neil currently has nine entries between New Hampshire and Maine in the Trophy/Big Buck Clubs (200 pound plus bucks) of those states. 

Cam Stevens

Cam was born and raised in southern Maine. Son of team member Mike Stevens, it is no surprise that he became exposed to the big woods at a young age, and Mike made sure of it, Cam remembers lugging bear bait at around the age of 6. He then went on to harvest a turkey, bear, and deer in his first year of hunting with the help of his father. At the age of 16, Cam shot his first buck tracking, which sparked a further obsession to hunting whitetails in the big woods. Later, Cam went on to be a successful track runner at his local high school and then at the University of Maine. This is where he found his athleticism helped him in the game of tracking, and the dreams of a big square toe buck track set in. Since then, Cam has tracked down and harvested a number of bucks from Aroostook County to the Western mountains of Maine with his trusty Marlin 30-30. Aside from deer hunting, Cam spends his off season chasing turkeys, bear, coyotes, and fly fishing for brook trout in the mountains, and stripers on the coast of Maine.

Austin Scheeren

Austin grew up following his father around in the woods since he was four years old. After spending years hiking and camping in the Adirondack park, he was old enough to hunt those same mountains. Over the years, Austin would learn the ways of tracking and the importance of mental strength. Austin has become more knowledgeable on gear and firearms than most because that is his passion. Having grown up on lever action rifles, that is all he carries with him in the big woods. Austin's favorite thing to do outside hunting is to teach people. Whether it be skills in the woods, about guns, or how to beat the mental game of hunting the mountains, he is always willing to teach and share the knowledge passed onto him.

Mike Stevens

  Mike is a veteran Maine guide, outdoor writer, and addicted whitetail hunter. Born and raised in southern Maine, he started deer hunting at 12 years old, when his Dad would send him hunting with his uncles. He quickly became crazy about hunting deer and was known to skip school whenever it snowed during November. In his youth, Mike got his hands on Larry Benoit's first book about tracking big bucks which opened a whole new way to hunt deer.  Fifty years later, he still can't say no to a big woods buck track. Mike starting working at Cedar Ridge Outfitters in 1995, when Hal Blood was looking for a bear guide. This ignited a friendship and rejuvenated his passion for deer hunting. For 20 years he guided for Hal and Deb Blood at Cedar Ridge. He and Hal have spent countless hours roaming the northwestern mountains of Maine, guiding/teaching clients the art of tracking deer. The best job he ever had, according to Mike.  Mike lives in Jackman, Maine with his Fiance' Marie and their dogs (Kipper and Kaylee), where he still guides hunters and anglers via his guide business, Moose River Guide Service.  As the “real” oldman here at Big Woods Bucks, Mike has a daughter and two sons, three granddaughters and a great granddaughter due any minute at the time of this writing! Mike loves to talk hunting to anyone that will listen to him and will boast how his youngest son Cam has become an accomplished big woods tracker and has hung several bucks. Sometimes Mike's lessons are direct and a bit raw, but tracking big bucks over snowy mountains is not for the squeamish. Welcome to the world of Big Woods Bucks.

Rick Labbe

Born and raised in Smithfield, Maine, Rick has hunted nearly every game animal in North America. He has killed over 150 whitetail bucks, over 20 elk, 12 mule deer, as well as approximately 200 bobcats, and more than 300 coyotes. Rick has hunted in seventeen states and 6 Canadian provinces. Rick regularly hunts around seven states every year, and is one of the pre-eminent deer trackers in the country. Rick has brought the skills he honed hunting whitetail bucks in Maine to his hunts in the Midwest and the West.

Ben Allen

Ben Allen is a Registered Maine Guide and owner of Epic Adventures LLC. Maine deer and moose hunting has been a passion of Ben's ever since he went on his first moose hunt as a boy. Ben joined his father and grandfather on that first family moose hunt and the memory is still vivid to this day. It was that hunt, that ignited a lifelong desire in Ben to accumulate the woodsman skills necessary to become a successful moose hunter, big woods deer hunter, and a Registered Maine Guide. When not guiding, Ben works as a logger, spending as much time as he can in the woods throughout the year.

Brad Willey

Born and raised in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Brad's passion for the big woods was ignited at a young age while tagging along with his father Bill trapping fur and tracking bucks. Brad's love for hunting began at a young age as he would watch his father not just kill a buck, but find the track, work that track wherever it took him, and finally kill the buck that made that track. Brad appreciates everything about the hunt, from locating the track, to taking that buck off his feet, to dragging him miles out of the big woods. Though Brad is an accomplished big woods buck tracker, he also has taken several bucks on bare ground as well. He takes pride in taking bucks in the national forests because, as he says, "your only means of locating a big buck track is with what the good Lord gave you...your feet". His passion for tracking big bucks inspired him to found his small business, White Mountain Buck Trackers. Brad is known for his fierce determination and "never quit" mindset, attributes stemming from his military training as a paratrooper and Army Ranger. Additionally, Brad is a Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) combat war veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Jeff Paradis

It was often said by his parents that Jeff was born with a bow in one hand and a rifle in the other. Starting his career at the young age of eight, Jeff received his first Daisy Red Ryder BB gun for his birthday of which it still hangs on his wall today as a reminder where it all began. Jeff's passion stretches far and wide and includes musk ox, brown bear, cape buffalo, leopard, mountain lion, and moose to name a few, and are a testament to his motivation and drive to succeed. A humble New England native with the "never give up" attitude from a young age, Jeff has propelled his love of whitetail hunting onto another level itself. With multiple New England Pope & Young accolades to his credit and countless trophy bucks across various states, Jeff is still as humble as the day he started at the age of eight. 

Leah Fitzmaurice

Leah Fitzmaurice has had a love for the outdoors ever since she started tagging along in the woods with her dad, Joe Kruse. It was natural that at the age of 10, she started deer hunting. At 11, after being drawn for a Maine Moose Permit she was determined to complete the Maine Grand Slam, harvesting a moose, bear, turkey, and deer all in the same year. With her dad by he side, she accomplished the feat and has been hooked ever since. Hunting is a bond that she and her dad have shared throughout the years. Leah pursues a wide variety of species in Maine, from ducks and rabbits to deer and moose. Leah can now also share her passion for the outdoors with her husband, Braydn. Many of their meals at home consist of wild game and Leah combines her love for hunting, with her love for cooking this way.


Bob Dunbar

Bob found his passion for hunting as a boy running around in the woods of upstate New York with his good friend, and fellow Big Woods Bucks Team Member Mark Scheeren. Bob shot his first buck with a bow when he was 16 years old. It was a small buck, but after getting that first one, Bob was hooked. In the early years, he spent much of deer season in a tree stand, waiting for the bucks to come to him. He started tracking in the big woods of the Adirondacks 20 years ago and got his first big woods buck in 2008. In recent years Bob hunts the big woods in the Adirondacks, Maine, and also spends time hunting on his land in upstate New York during the southern zone bow season. Bob is also and avid turkey hunter and fisherman. In 2015, Bob had emergency open-heart surgery. It was a long road to recovery and he was uncertain of he would be able to hunt the Adirondacks that year. Through hard work and shear determination, Bob got himself back in big woods hunting condition and was able to make a hunting trip in upstate New York with his close friend Mark and BWB Team Members Hal Blood and Chris Dalti. Despite miserably warm weather with no chance of snow, Bob persevered that hunting trip, a trip just months ago Bob was unsure he would be able to make after his open-heart surgery, and harvested a beautiful nine point buck. 


Brian Connor

Brian Connor is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Big Woods Bucks. He got his start hunting in the big woods of the Adirondacks out of his family's camp in 2018, shooting his first buck that season. A lifelong amateur filmmaker, in 2021 he followed and filmed Big Woods Bucks team members Rick Labbe and Lee Schanz hunting for two weeks in Maine, ultimately producing the film, "On the Track of a Maine Buck with Rick Labbe". Since then, Brian has served as Content Manager and CMO for Big Woods Bucks, editing the bulk of Big Woods Bucks' YouTube, blogpost, and social media content. Brian Connor is a passionate hunter and filmmaker, and has applied that same passion and drive to his work as CEO at Big Woods Bucks. Brian served as a prosecutor in New York City for six years, and now serves as an attorney for New York State. Brian is also a licensed  New York State hunting and fishing guide, and has published articles in The Maine Sportsman magazine and the Northwoods Sporting Journal.

Wes LaBar

Raised in the Adirondacks since the age of 7, Wes has fallen in love with the park (Adirondack Park) and has a tremendous respect and passion for this place he calls home. Wes is a first generation hunter who taught himself how to track and still hunt. He will sit during the rut or if conditions permit, but tracking is by far his preferred method. Wes also enjoys getting together once or twice a season with his friends to do large deer hunts to each other. In the spring, Wes can be found turkey hunting in the morning and Brook Trout fishing in the afternoon. Wes has a passion for teaching others what he knows and has learned because he didn't have that advantage in his hunting career., other that a couple old timers providing him with tips and tricks here and there. Wes got his New York Guide license in 2018 and began his own guiding business in 2019. When he can, he will take youth hunters out during the special seasons as part of his passion for getting people into the outdoors, and more importantly, the big woods. Wes is a hard working family man who has a wife, son, and daughter. When Wes is not checking trail cameras and scouting, he's spending quality time with family. Wes has hunted Ohio, Maine, and Arkansas for deer and other game, but plans to start traveling more and expanding his hunting territory.  

Logan Rackliff

 Logan Rackliff is passionate about tracking, going on outdoor adventures, his wife, family, and most of all Jesus Christ. He wants and tries to put God first in everything he does. He hopes this looks like keeping his priorities in order by taking care of his wife, family, local church, and business first and then hunting or fishing when things are taken care of. Logan's father Craig has been a big influence on his life that got him into a loving adventure in the big woods around five years old. He loves the chase, the jump, the drag, the crew and all of the tracking adventure experience. Mostly hunting Northern Maine his whole life, he lives in mid-coast Maine and has very little time now to hunt and basically no time to scout. He is the everyday-tracker who has very little time to hunt and be in the woods each season and wants to help everyone understand it can be done and in a healthy way that doesn't sacrifice the important things.