Florida FWC Wants Help With Feral Hogs
Feral hogs have a reputation for destroying wildlife habitat with their foraging habits and high reproductive rates. Nowhere is that more clear than on the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area, Hutton Unit, near Milton.
Due to extensive damage and a growing number of hogs on the 5,243-acre area, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering five three-day hog hunts this spring and summer. The hunts are the product of an agreement between the FWC and the Florida Division of Forestry — the lead managing agency for Blackwater River State Forest.
Hunt dates are May 25-27, June 22-24, July 20-22, Aug. 24-26 and Sept. 21-23. A total of five quota permits are available for each three-day hunt. Up to two people may hunt per quota permit.
And, the best thing yet for some hunters is that hog-dogs will be allowed during the hunts. Hunters will be limited to a total of three dogs, however.
Hog hunting has been legal on the Hutton Unit since the late 1990s, according to FWC wildlife biologist Fred Robinette.
"The trouble is they learn pretty quickly when still hunters are there, and hogs change their habits. It's impossible to harvest enough to control their numbers. I think they've taken a half-dozen or so over the years," he said.
Robinette said hogs come out mostly at night, destroying wildlife food plots of chufas, corn and wheat. Recent surveys show that ground-nesting birds, such as quail, have declined in numbers on the area, likely from hogs destroying their nests and ground cover.
Anyone interested in applying for the hunts can do so beginning April 24 at 10 a.m. EDT through the Total Licensing System at county tax collectors' offices or online on a first-come, first-served basis at MyFWC.com/license.
There will be no size or bag limit on hogs. No live hogs may be removed from the area.