Toby Benoit

Pythons Are Pushing North

A few weekends ago, I received a message from our Hernando Sun founders, Julie and Rocco Maglio. According to Rocco, he had just discovered an eight-foot long, Burmese python on the road in front of his driveway.  Reports of such a creature have been quite rare much farther north than the Peace River, yet there it was. And, the swampy wetlands around their home are the perfect habitat for a Burmese python to thrive, so I would not at all be surprised if this was only the first of more to come.

Making Plans and Making Friends

As the next deer season continues to creep up on us, most of us are beginning to get outside a bit more.  Scouting out the mature bucks for sure, placing trail cameras and looking for signs from last year’s rut. Quite a few of us are going over our gear, checking to make sure things are as it should be.  Others still are making their lists and checking them twice, readying for a bit of shopping to replenish last year’s supplies; deer pee, Thermocell cartridges, nitrile gloves and such.

Snake Smarts

I got a little tickled earlier after reading a public service announcement from our Florida Wildlife Commission.  The announcement, basically stated that poisonous snakes, especially cotton-mouth water moccasins cannot climb trees and went on to claim that stories of moccasins falling from tree limbs into boats are complete falsehoods; myths, they claimed.  Now folks, the reason this tickled me is that I have first-hand experience on three separate occasions of having water moccasins fall into my boat.

String Stretching Time

Archery season is just around the corner and it’s time to get our gear ready.  Time to knock the dust off the old quiver, pull the targets out and begin flinging arrows.  For the bowhunters who don’t shoot year round (I can’t imagine) now is the time to begin stretching out the muscles to draw smoothly and comfortably and put your set up through its paces to ensure we’re every bit as ready for the big hunt as we can be.

First aid on the hunt

One of the most important pieces of gear for anybody who likes to leave the pavement is a solid first-aid kit.  Whether you are heading into the deep stuff for a multi-day hunt or simply hitting your local standsite while setting trail cams, a first-aid should always be in your pack.  Never assume the outfitter, your hunting buddy or someone else along the trail will have a medical kit, so always be ready to take care of yourself.

Grabbin’ some legs

Now folks, it’s that time of year when I begin growing a hunger for frog! I’m tellin’ you, fill up a platter of fried legs with a pot of hominy grits on the side with some cornbread and iced tea and you’ll have a Southern meal fit for a king!  But, how’s the best way to go about gathering up the main ingredient for a frog fry?  Well, that’s a bit of a subjective answer as some ways are certainly more efficient than others, but efficiency aside, my idea of the best way is the way which is most fun…. to jump in and grab ‘em old school, with your bare hands.

Guardian of the Glades, Part 2

by TOBY BENOIT

During our last trip to the Everglades, my best hunting buddy, Meghan Bailes and I joined The Wildman, Dusty Crum, his long-time girlfriend Natalee Mckinney and fellow member of the South Florida Water Management District’s, Python Eradication Team, Greg Morris, for a night’s hunt, searching for wild Burmese pythons.  I had the pleasure of interviewing them about the plight of the Everglades and it’s native wildlife.  

'Guardian of the Glades'

by TOBY BENOIT

June 14, 2019

Funny how life works out sometimes, isn’t it?  For instance, last Friday began as any other with a handful of household chores, later a few odd jobs around the farm.  But by midnight, I was standing in the middle of the Everglades with the star of Discovery channel’s newest hit show, Guardians of the Glades, the Wildman, Dusty Crum…. with a fourteen foot python over my shoulders and peeing down my back. 

The Trouble With Ticks

I love the outdoors and most everything you can come across in the wild places, but with a few exceptions.  At the top of my list of exceptions folks, are ticks; ticks are just nasty. They serve a purpose in the food chain, so I don’t fully condemn them, but I will go way out of my way to avoid having them creepy crawlers getting on me for a free lunch.  Despite my best efforts though, it still happens and during my twenty-eight day in the field hunting and guiding for wild turkeys, during the Spring Gobbler season, I was bitten seven times.

Calling all Toms!

The turkey hunters in south Florida have been in the woods busting beaks and filling skillets for a couple of weeks now.   I’m getting reports rolling in from many of my friends telling me that the breeding season is in full swing down that way with some mighty impressive trophies.  Here, in our hunting zone, which is anywhere north of State Road 70, the birds are just beginning to fire up and that means big things are in store for our season opener.