Florida has many invasive species, and the state has allowed hunting to control some of them.
Though Florida has over 500 invasives and exotics, the following four can be legally hunted or trapped. The goal is to help protect Florida’s native species from the increased resource competition.
1. Wild Hogs
Wild hogs were introduced to Florida in the 1500s, and the population has since exploded. Because of this and their competition with native species, Florida opened a fairly liberal hunting season to control the population.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, wild hogs are the second most popular large game animal hunted in Florida. There is no bag limit, they can be hunted year-round with the exception of spring turkey season, and they can be taken on private property without a license.
2. Red Fox
Shockingly, red foxes were introduced to Florida by hunting clubs in the 1950s. They cannot be hunted or trapped traditionally, but can be chased with dogs.
3. Nine-Banded Armadillo
Armadillos are present throughout Florida. Private landowners can hunt nuisance animals, but other residents can only trap them. Unfortunately, armadillos are prone to avoid traps, making this control method less effective.
4. Burmese Python
Burmese pythons are native to Asia, but now thrive in the marshy warm waters of the Everglades and throughout Florida. The state has a Python Permit Program, which allows residents to catch the big snakes.
Once caught, residents must either euthanize the animal on-site or bring them to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Python meat and skins can be sold in Florida, making it a profitable business. However, pythons in certain parts of Florida, including the Everglades, can be high in mercury levels. As such, consumption of python meat in these areas is not recommended.
Invasive species are detrimental to the local flora and fauna. And fun for hunters to get rid of!