Toby Benoit

Archery Opener

This Saturday, September 19, 2020, is opening day for archery
season in the majority of our county located in Zone C, as designated
by the Florida Wildlife Commission. It’s been a long time coming and
I know a good many of you are just as excited about it as I am.
We’ve been having quite a bit of rain this year, so we can expect to
find the woods a bit soggier than usual. I hope that when driving into
your site, you’ll be wary of standing water and slick trails; what a
shame it would be to get stuck in the mud and not make it to your

The Big Shift

In the coming weeks, a giant shift will occur in the deer world.  Both food, and cover, will be changing which will surely affect the feeding and travel patterns amongst the herd.  Mostly though, amongst the buck population, physical changes are taking place.  The velvet they’ve worn, covering their antlers is now shed out and each buck is sporting brand spanking new antlers.  Along with that change, a major shift takes place in how these newly shed bucks interact with other deer.  

Sharp Knives Matter

When I was growing up, every man carried a knife in his pocket.  Heck every kid carried one also.  Especially, out in the country where they were an absolute necessity for innumerable chores.  No single tool is reached for more often day to day out in farm country and few are probably given less thought, than the knife in a pocket.  But, there was a distinct difference in the knives carried between the old-timers and us kids; the od-timer’s knives were sharp!

 

It’s Gator Time!

That’s right folks, it’s gator time and I’ve only made it out onto the Withlacoochee River once now for a freezer full of swamp-chicken.  I’d like to tell you I filled a tag already, but the only g bull I caught up with tore free of my line and escaped into thick hyacinth cover and escaped.  But, my companion Cheyenne made pretty good use of the downtime though, by multi-tasking while shining for gators; she got busy catching catfish, so the night wasn’t a total loss.

Asian Swamp Eels Anybody?

Last week I told you about my latest hunt for the Burmese pythons while filming the pilot episode of a new Adventure series I’m producing for the Carbon TV network, Invasion Everglades.  Our show isn’t strictly about the pythons, but rather each of the seventy-two species of invasive animals plaguing our native ecosystems.  One of those species, we stumbled onto accidentally, was the Asian swamp eel.  

Burmese Pythons on the Prowl

I just arrived back in town from an incredible trip to one of the most, unique arts of our state; the Everglades.  Our Everglades, composed of an enormously varied network of interconnected ecosystems has been under attack for a very long time.  Mostly due to developers and engineers altering the flow of water and pollutants dumped into the aquifer via corporate farms and housing developments.  A huge issue has been the arrival of invasive plants and trees, such as the Australian pine and Brazilian peppers.  

Opening Day Blues

That’s right, I’ve got the blues….  It’s opening day of archery season this weekend in the Southern portion of our state and I’m going to have to sit it out.  Heartbreaking, right?  Oh, I’ll survive I suppose; just one of those times where work just gets in the way.  Oddly enough, though, work will be taking me south for a few days next week, so I guess I’ll just carry my bow along and sneak off for a hunt or two if I get the chance.

Take Care Of Your Oaks

Now that the rains are beginning again as Summer rolls along, one of the things I do each year to prep some of my hunting areas, is to visit the big oaks with a bag of fertilizer.  It not only ensures that not only will the trees produce acorns in abundance, but that those acorns produced will be sweeter and more flavorful than those produced by the untended trees.  Not only deer, but all local wildlife it seems, will benefit from this small amount of work; it practically guarantees me a great show while I’m sitting in my blind.    

Candid Pics for Early Scouting

From time to time I use electronic game cameras to assist in my scouting.  These last few years, I’ve really captured some amazing photos on my game cameras and I thought I’d share a few tips to help you capture the best images you can on your own.  But, before I do, I want to suggest that a good trail-camera is no replacement for basic woodsmanship.  Learning to read signs properly can give you the same information as the camera.  The only advantage the camera has for me has been to provide some really cool before and after images of the bucks while they

Dads

My dad had gotten old, but I really didn’t know it.  Sounds strange I know, but really, I had no idea that the man I’d loved and admired my entire life, was slowing down.  He’d always been my hero; the guy that could catch a fish on the first cast, fill a quota of doves with only half a box of shells and could read the forest floor as clearly as reading a newspaper.  He was infallible, ageless and unchanged since my boyhood, until that hunt on some land down on the southern end of our county and he stumbled and fell.