Wild hogs are the second most popular hunting game in Florida (second only to the white-tailed deer), but you may be surprised to learn that these hogs that are so common throughout the state are not native to the area. In fact, no real pigs or hogs are indigenous to North America. Hogs came to this continent with the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Over time, some pigs were released, and others escaped, creating the feral hog populations that currently exist throughout the U.S.
You can find feral pigs in all 67 counties in Florida, but they prefer oak-cabbage palm hammocks, pine flatwoods, and freshwater marshes. They tend to avoid areas of human development, such as urban areas. These animals can be hunted year-round on private property with landowner permission, and you don’t even need a license. You can harvest either sex, without size or bag limits, and a gun and light can be used at night without a permit.
Hog hunting on wildlife management areas (WMAs) is allowed but has some restrictions. You may hunt hogs during most hunting seasons, but not during spring turkey season. However, if it’s archery season you must use a bow, and if it’s muzzleloader season you must use a muzzleloader. Some WMAs do have daily bag limits or size requirements, so familiarize yourself with the rules of the area you’ll be hunting in before you go.
There are dozens of areas throughout the state that are ripe for hog hunting. Some of the best are Tosohatchee in the Northeast Region, where hunters can use dogs, and the Green Swamp in the Southwest Region, which has the largest harvest each year. For a complete listing of hunt dates and quota permit requirements, visit myfwc.com.
When you’ve bagged your wild hog (or more than one), consider donating to the Wild Game Food Bank to help a local family in need receive quality food. For more information about how you can but a hunter on a mission, visit wildgamefoodbank.com.
This column is sponsored by Wild Game Food Bank.
BIO: Caitlin Meadows is the founder of Wild Game Food Bank. She proudly serves the community in this capacity while enjoying life as a wife, mom, and REALTOR®. A UF graduate and Gainesville native, Caitlin and her family have called Polk County home for the last ten years. Her husband is an avid hunter, which is what helped fuel the inspiration behind WGFB. Caitlin and her husband enjoy spending time outdoors with their son, attending church, and managing their cattle and chickens. To learn more about WGFB, go to wildgamefoodbank.com.