The Southwest Florida Water Management District's (District) Chito Branch Reserve in Hillsborough County will be temporarily closed to the public for feral hog hunts Jan. 7-9, 2020.
Only permitted hunters will be allowed on the property during these dates. All 10 permits for these hunts have been sold.
Chito Branch Reserve is located at 11254 Browning Road in Lithia.
This activity is one of a series of feral hog hunts being held on District lands to control the damage being caused to the natural habitats.
The District only allows hogs to be controlled through hunts when the damage they cause exceeds unacceptable levels, and damage is occurring more frequently and with increasing severity.
Feral hogs live throughout Florida in various habitats, but prefer moist forests and swamps, as well as pine flatwoods. They are omnivorous and feed by rooting with their broad snouts, which can cause extensive damage to the natural habitats. In fact, they can leave an area looking like a plowed field.
Feral hogs are not native to Florida and are believed to have been introduced by explorer Hernando DeSoto as early as 1539. They can weigh more than 300 pounds and travel in herds of several females and their offspring.