Toby Benoit

Hide N Seek

I do all of my hunting, while on the ground using whatever cover is available as much as I can, to hide myself.  As a fat guy, I honestly hide better on the ground by blending into the landscape than skylighting myself up a tree.  I think that for some folks, treestands or other elevated platforms can be a distinct advantage, but let’s face it, even camo’d and in the treetops, my big behind isn’t really fooling much.  At times, I could almost hear the deer discussing it….  “Hey Ned, that a hunter up there?”  

“Naw, too big, I think it’s a giant squirrel’s nest.”  

Talkin’ The Talk

As fall progresses and the days continue to shorten, darkness begins much earlier each evening and morning arrives a bit later.  It’s this photoperiod, which triggers whitetail bucks to enter the rut, a period of heightened breeding activity.  And I’ll tell you folks, if the fresh scrapes I’m finding while out hunting and scouting is any indicator, our first rut period is now!  From now up until our peak rut in mid-January, bucks will be most receptive to deer calls.  They’re going to be on their hooves looking for does and challenging other bucks to territorial disputes in their testostero

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.