District's Starkey Wilderness Preserve Closed Early for Hog Hunts Jan. 8-10

News Release

The Southwest Florida Water Management District's Starkey Wilderness Preserve will be closing early to the public for wild hog hunts at night Jan. 8-10.

Only permitted hunters will be allowed on the "Starkey Wilderness Preserve":http://hoghunts.watermatters.org/starkey.php during these hunts. All of the permits for these hunts have been sold.

The Starkey Wilderness Preserve is located at 10500 Wilderness Park Boulevard in New Port Richey in Pasco.

This activity is one of a series of wild hog hunts being held on District lands in an effort 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.

Wild 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.

Wild 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.

For more information, please call the Land Management Section at the District's Brooksville Headquarters at 1-800-423-1476 or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4467.