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Friday, January 20, 2023
HomeBusiness SpotlightHoggin’ and Doggin’ Chassahowitzka

Hoggin’ and Doggin’ Chassahowitzka

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Man’s best friend has always been a part of managing hogs here in Florida. Long before dogs were considered pets, they were working animals first. Many were bred specifically to help the early settlers hunt for food and protect and manage livestock. Hog hunting with dogs, in particular, remains quite common to this day across many parts of the country. Florida especially has a centuries-old tradition of hunting down and rounding up wild and feral hogs in our wildlands. Back in the day, before fencing laws came into play, hogs were free ranged and gathered up in catch pens or herded together by dogs.

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Hunters utilizing dogs to assist in bringing home some fresh pork for their families, often use two types of trained dogs; bay dogs and catch dogs. The bay dogs are smaller and faster breeds like the Florida-bred, Blackmouth Cur, a breed specifically developed for the purpose. Bay dogs are released first to trail and chase a wild hog down. Once the wild hog is pressured, most often it will attempt to fight back its pursuers. The smaller, limber bay dogs dart hither and thither, face barking and remaining just out of reach of a boar’s razor sharp turshes. They will continue to harass and distract the hog until their handlers arrive; or the catch dog arrives!

Catch dogs are heavier, muscular breeds such as the American Staffordshire Terriers or the popular Dogo Argentina’s. Once the quick and nimble bay dogs have done their job, the catch dogs are then released to hold that hog on the spot, until the hunter arrives on the scene. The catch dogs will pounce on the pig and will usually seize it by the ear in order to control and hold it down. The hunters then complete the hunt with the choice of dispatching the hog or securing it to carry from the woods alive.

Along our county’s Western edge, you will find the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. It’s an absolutely beautiful property owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and managed for hunting opportunities by the Florida Wildlife Commission. With its more than thirty-four thousand, acres of varying habitat, from river swamp, cypress and bay heads to oak hammocks and pine and palmetto flatwoods, with lots of tidal creeks and coastal marsh, there isn’t much prettier or more diverse of a place to visit.

The Chassahowitzka property will become available for hunting wild hogs with dogs again this weekend beginning at sunrise on Friday, the 20th until Sunset on Sunday, the 22nd. For permitted hog hunters and their guests, targeting an opportunity to host a hefty amount of fresh sausage and ham at their breakfast table, this will be a fine time to get it done. The acorns from the Fall are just about eaten up and there isn’t an over-abundance of quick and easy dining available for their insatiable bellies. That means the sounders will be up and moving more in search of food, making them a bit more vulnerable during daylight hours. Find where they are feeding and turn them puppies loose!

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For any of you getting outdoors this weekend, I wish you the best of luck! And as always, I’d love to hear about your adventures and maybe see a photo or two of your successes at [email protected] God Bless and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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