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Water-Related News

Water district taking aim at wild hogs

By Keith Morelli

TAMPA – The plan to control populations of feral hogs in publicly owned preserves is evolving into something wildlife biologists hope will better curb the porcine rampage that can leave sensitive hammocks and wetlands looking like bulldozer trails.

Some wildlife preserves overseen by the Southwest Florida Water Management District have become overrun with wild hogs, including the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve that straddles Morris Bridge Road east of New Tampa. Night-time hog hunts are scheduled in the tract a couple times a year. The hunters use dogs to track down hogs at night, a hunting method considered the most effective way to reduce the number of hogs roaming the tracts.

Under a new plan, the most successful hunters will be rewarded with free permits for subsequent hunts and a chance to hunt later in the year on an as-needed basis. The hunts take place on nearly a dozen district-owned tracts of land this year and in 2014.

Hunts are strictly supervised and closely watched.