District To Hold Series Of Hog Hunts In 2013-2014, Permits Will Be Available Online

By Tamas Mondovics

The Southwest Florida Water Management District approved plans to hold a series of hog hunts on District land during the 2013-2014 feral hog-dog hunt season to help reduce the wild hog population.

District spokesperson, Susanna Martinez Tarokh, emphasized that wild hogs, which are not native to Florida, feed on roots, tubers and grubs by rooting with their broad snouts and can leave an area looking like a plowed field.

One recent example of these unwelcomed guests rummaging and snorting their way through yards and fields was when the Pinecrest Little League Baseball complex became a choice of invasion.

The boars successfully caused the facility’s major league and senior field approximately $5000 in damage.

Hogs routinely prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for food and transmit diseases to other wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, hogs may facilitate the spread of exotic plant species by transporting seeds and or providing germination sites through rooting.

The District allows hogs to be controlled through hunts when damage they cause is at unacceptable levels,” Tarokh said. “Damage from hogs is occurring more frequently and with increasing severity.”

This year’s hunt is said to be implemented as a three-phase process, with the first one that includes nine hunts from October 2013 through January 2014. Permits are transferable.

Registration for phase two will occur on January 13, 2014, beginning at 9 a.m., and will also include nine hunts that will occur February through April 2014.

“Top producers from Phase 1 will be awarded free hunts for Phase 2, while top producers from Phase 2 will be asked to participate in hog management activities for the final phase of this year’s hunts,” Tarokh said.

All hunts will adhere to the hog-dog format. Still hunting, which is to sneak up on them hoping to encounter the animal, will not be available.

Tarokh added that the District-managed properties will be temporarily closed to the public during the hog hunts. Only permitted hunters will be allowed access.

To obtain a permit online, maps and hunting rules of the areas where the hunts will take place are available on the District’s website at HogHunts.WaterMatters.org.

To view the 2013-2014 schedules, please visit: http://hoghunts.watermatters.org.