The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Edward W. Chance Reserve’s Gilley Creek Tract in Manatee County will be closed to the public Oct.17 and Oct. 24 during two youth hog hunts.
Only youth hunters, their parent or guardian, and volunteers will be allowed on the property during these dates.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Orlando and the “American Disability Adventures” group are partnering with the District on the hunts, which are being held to introduce young people to hunting while helping 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.