SARASOTA COUNTY — A controversial pilot hunting program aimed at reducing the abundant feral hog population that’s destroying vegetation and other wildlife in Deer Prairie Creek Preserve and the adjacent Schewe tract is set to get under way Tuesday night near North Port.
The three-day hunt is one of several around the state sanctioned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Sarasota County jointly owns the 6,440-acre Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, adjacent to North Port, with the water district. The nearby 1,722-acre Schewe tract is owned solely by the district. The hunts will be held on the properties from sundown to 2 a.m., through Thursday. According to the district, there is no “bag limit” on the number of feral hogs that can be harvested. Hunters will be allowed to use knives, dogs and guns to kill the hogs. District spokeswoman Robyn Felix said the 30 permits available for this week’s hunt — at $75 apiece — were sold out the day they went on sale. Hunters are allowed to bring two “assistants” with each permit, bringing the total number of hunters and assistants that will be tracking hogs to 90. Hunters can also use as many as three dogs at any given time.
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