District to Hold Series of Hog Hunts in 2014-2015, Permits Will Be Available Online

News Release

District land managers plan to hold a series of hog hunts on District lands throughout the year to help reduce the wild hog population.

Wild hogs, which are not native to Florida, feed on roots, tubors and grubs by rooting with their broad snouts and can leave an area looking like a plowed field. They also 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 will use a three-phase hunting system to alleviate and decrease these impacts.

"The three phases are designed to encourage attendance and maximize the effectiveness of the event," said Will VanGelder, the District's Land Management Supervisor.

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

The first two phases of hunts will have separate registration processes. Top producers from Phase 1 will be awarded free hunts for Phase 2; top producers from Phase 2 will be asked to participate in hog management activities for Phase 3.

All hunts will adhere to the hog-dog format. No still hunts will be available. The program works like this:

*Phase 1 Hunts*
•Registration will occur 9 a.m. on Oct. 6, 2014.
•Includes six hunts that occur November through December 2014.
•Permits are transferable.
•Top two producers on each hunt will be awarded a non-transferable registration to the same hunt location in Phase 2, free of charge.
•Failure to follow rules or poor behavior issues will disqualify registrant for incentive consideration at the sole determination of District staff.

*Phase 2 Hunts*
•Registration will occur 9 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2014.
•Includes six hunts that occur January and February 2015.
•Permits are transferable.
•Top two producers on each hunt of Phase 2 will be placed on the District's "top producer" list and will be contacted between March and October 2015 to take part in feral hog management hunts on an as-needed basis, free of charge.
•Failure to follow rules or poor behavior issues will disqualify registrant for incentive consideration at the sole determination of District staff.

*Phase 3 "As-Needed" Management Hunts*
•Includes management hunts that occur March through September 2015.
•Only those registrants that qualify as top producers following the Phase 2 hunts will be contacted to take part in management hunts during this period.
•Management hunts offered to top producers will be free of charge and non-transferable.
•All 12 Phase 2 top producers will be offered participation in a minimum of two management hunts throughout the non-hunting season.
The District-managed properties will be temporarily closed to the public during the hog hunts. Only permitted hunters will be allowed access.

Prospective hunters can purchase permits for Phase I hunts beginning 9 a.m. Oct. 6 on the District's "hoghunts.watermatters.org":http://hoghunts.watermatters.org/. Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until they are sold out. The cost is $75 for each permit.

A complete list of hunts with locations and dates will be available at "hoghunts.watermatters.org":http://hoghunts.watermatters.org/ no later than Oct. 1, 2014. In addition, the site provides maps of the properties and rules of the hunt.

This is the sixth consecutive year for the hunts. Last year's hunts removed 938 hogs during 26 hunts on 11 different tracts of land throughout the District.