Feral hogs are destructive to habitat, destroying crop fields, pastures and roadsides with their rooting, contributing to erosion and sedimentation in streams, damaging wetlands, and disrupting livestock grazing. They can also cause significant damage to watersheds and wildlife by disrupting the flow of groundwater.
Hogs are most active during the early morning, late afternoon and at night, but they can be found in most of Florida’s habitats throughout the year. They prefer oak-cabbage palm hammocks, freshwater marshes and sloughs, pine flatwoods, and agricultural fields. They travel in family groups or alone, and can be spotted from roadways by their tracks, which are shorter, lower-topped, and wider than deer tracks.
Observing signs of hogs is essential to finding them. Look for wallows, where hogs urinate and defecate to keep cool and control insects. You can identify a wallow by observing muddy slicks and a rub spoor left behind on trees, fence rails or logs. Also watch for hog trails, which are usually clearer than deer trails and are created by the animals’ front feet, which are longer and proportionally wider than those of their rear feet.
Hogs are a popular game to hunt in the Deep South, and many hunters use dogs to help locate and ambush their targets. Bay dogs, called curs or hounds, scent hogs and bark on their track, bringing them out of cover for a shot with a gun or bow. Other hunters hunt hogs using powerful catch dogs, which rush the pigs and grab them with their jaws, then dispatch them with a knife or spear. If hunting hogs on private land, permission from the property owner is required. On FWC-managed public lands, hunter safety, baiting and other regulations apply.