District's Starkey Wilderness Preserve closed early for nighttime hog hunts Dec. 1-3

News Release

The Southwest Florida Water Management District's Starkey Wilderness Preserve, which includes J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park and the Serenova Tract, will close early at 4 p.m. Dec. 1-3 for nighttime hog hunts.

Only permitted hunters will be allowed on the preserve from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. during these dates. All of the permits for these hunts have been sold.

J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park is located at 10500 Wilderness Park Boulevard in New Port Richey. The Serenova Tract is located off SR 52 in Land O' Lakes, one mile west of the Suncoast Parkway on the south side of the road, across from Hayes Road.

The hunt is one of a series of 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 is at 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 150 pounds and travel in herds of several females and their offspring.

For more information, please call the District's Land Resources Department at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4465.