Residents nervous after helicopters used to shoot wild hogs in Charlotte County

The USDA is using helicopters to search for wild hogs and shoot them down.

Hogs can be a big issue if their population is not controlled. And it’s happening around one community in SWFL.

A normally quiet Sunday morning in a Rotonda West neighborhood was suddenly interrupted by the sounds of a low-flying helicopter and gun shots.

“It was like Vietnam outside of my house,” said Rotonda West resident Carol Abarbanell.

Abarbanell says she ran outside to see what was going on.

“I grab my binoculars and look up and there’s a long gun that a man is holding, shooting. Pop, pop, pop for about a minute and a half just shooting bullets into the ground,” she said.

The shooting is making some residents nervous.

“A shot could ricochet off the ground or maybe hit a car or a passing person which would be very dangerous,” said resident Vincent Tricarico.

The USDA confirms that wildlife services took to the air to shoot wild boars at the nearby Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park.

It’s a practice seen in other states like Texas. The USDA says it’s necessary to protect people and property from wild hogs—a common problem in parts of Charlotte County.

Neighbors aren’t happy it happened so close to their neighborhood.

“Bringing military style helicopters in and gunning down animals…If you’re going to do that on 5,000 acres of ranch land, that’s one thing. If you’re going to do it in my neighborhood, I live here, that’s another thing,” Abarbanell said.

Neighbors say they understand the animals are a nuisance—digging up yards—but feel there are better ways to get rid of them.

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