Florida is famous for swamps, alligators and the everglades. Another animal that calls Florida home is the wild hog. Second only to Texas, Florida has a hog population that is estimated at more than 500,000, with hogs in every county. The large population can be harmful on crops, soil and vegetation. Hog hunting in Florida plays an important role in controlling the population growth of wild hogs.
Hogs are traced back to 1539, when settlers moved to Florida. The settlers would often let the hogs roam free and eventually hogs would release into the wild. In a short time, the hogs would turn feral--or wild--and quickly reproduce. As a result of the hog population, Florida declared wild hogs a game animal in 1956, allowing them to be hunted.
The nature of hogs to forage and wallow can be destructive and harmful to natural habitats and vegetation. The Southwest Florida Water Management District calls hogs "invasive, exotic species." Hogs in Florida may carry a bacterial disease that is infectious to humans called brucellosis. To avoid infection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suggest wearing latex or rubber gloves when handling any part of a wild hog.
There are very few regulations in place for hog hunting in Florida. Hog hunting is allowed year-round with no bag limits, size limits or licenses required. To hunt on private property, the landowner must give permission. Hogs may also be hunted at night using a hog light.
Wildlife Management Areas
Florida offers some excellent public land opportunities for hog hunting. The wildlife management areas (WMA) allow hog hunting but may also require a special license or permit. Most permits at the WMAs are on a limited quota, which means they are available until they are sold out. These permits may be purchased online through the Florida online hunting license issuing system. Look at areas with the highest population density of hogs to the north and west of Lake Okeechobee. Possible WMAs include Crew or Rocky Glades.
Many outfitters offer hog hunting packages to potential clients. These hunts can be combined with other animals such as alligators or Osceola wild turkeys. Some of the hunts, however, may take place in a high-fenced area. If you want a fair-chase hunt, review the outfitter and ask for several references before booking a hunt.
- bush pig image by michael luckett from Fotolia.com