Toby Benoit

Henned Up Toms

Week three of Spring gobbler has finally arrived and the flocks are definitely changing their habits.  The early part of the season has a tremendous amount of activity among the flocks as the toms are forming their harems and the hens are picking their nesting sites.  These times, the toms are very eager to breed, but the hens aren’t having it.  That’s what makes them thunderchickens so vulnerable when they hear a hunter mimicking the calls of a loving and receptive hen.

Garth & Mutt on the hunt

I recently had the pleasure of escorting a pair of octogenarian turkey hunters to the woods and listening to their stories.  Between these two brothers, they shared experiences with me from over a combined 120 years of hunting these big, beautiful birds all over the country.  Anybody who knows me understands just how much I appreciate a good story and these two did not disappoint.  Mutt, 82, and his older brother Garth, 84, were true turkey hunting gentlemen and great sports. 

The Bachelors

This past Saturday, the opening day of Spring 2021, I found myself and a client seated on the edge of a small cypress strand.  We were there to hunt a big Osceola gobbler; my client and good friend Devin Selowese, has since named the bird, “Chuttles.”  The “Chuttles” name came from the raspy, warble way he would finish his gobbles.  Made it sound like he was saying, “Gobble-Gobble-Gobble, Chuttle, Chuttle”.

Oh What A Thrill

By the time ya’ll read this, Spring Gobbler Season 2021 is running wide open across Florida, as well as most of the South.  I’m seeing tons of beautiful harvest reports and photographs from all over South Florida and many of you have taken the time to call or message me with your first-hand accounts. 

Keep Calm and Hunt Turkeys

This weekend opens the two day youth season for wild turkey hunting in our zone, as determined by our friends at the Florida Wildlife Commission.  I pray that many of you will be taking to the field with your favorite little folks in hopes of bringing a big gobbler to their gun.  Now anybody that’s hunted with kids knows that they lose focus when they find themselves having to wait too long for some action.  Think about ways to keep them from growing irritable with boredom; muted cell phone games, handheld gaming devices, or quiet toys. 

My Very First Gobbler

t may be hard for many of you, who’ve met and know me personally, to believe this; but I was young once.  After chasing these Osceola gobblers around for thirty-seven years, my hairline has gone into retreat and my beard is growing grayer by the season.  But, I’ve chased these big birds in two countries and seventeen states and invited so many of them old thunder-chickens home to supper, I’ve given up trying to keep count.  Through it all, I’ve made some incredible memories, but one memory stands out far above the rest….  My very first gobbler.

Crock Pot Coons

I’ve been mighty fortunate to be able to do quite a bit of coonhuting over the last few months and I love it.  The excitement of a fine working hound on the trail is one of those sounds that enters deep inside me and gives me great joy.  And these hounds I’ve been listening to as they untangle the toughest trail laid out for them by Mr.

First Annual Squirrel Hunt

Dawn was just breaking as the sun reached the eastern horizon, daylight barely overcoming the shadows.  The crickets and other nighttime insects were ceasing their song as birds and frogs took up their chorus.  My partner for the morning’s hunt, eight-year-old Owen Geer, nudged me before pointing upwards into the oak hammock before us.  His eyes wide and a smile spreading across his face.

Small Game Sport

Any of y’all out after coyotes lately?  I’m getting a lot of feedback via email, from hunters around the county who have been out targeting song dogs but having a pretty tough time of it.  They’re not really coming into the critter in distress calls lately…. I’ve experienced that myself.  As the coyotes are in the midst of their breeding season, the only calls that appear to be working are territorial howls and female barks and yips.  

First Forecast for Spring Gobblers

The dogwoods haven’t begun to bloom yet and already I’m seeing toms, still in their bachelor flocks, following the hen flocks.  This is a time of great changes amongst the wild turkeys.  They are changing up their feeding patterns and more and more traveling in the open places as opposed to the depths of the forest.  As I travel about our county, I’m seeing more and more turkeys and the numbers are giving me great hope for the new season.