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Image by Keith Misner


the Hunter's Lane
summer hunter's guide:
Green Iguana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Iguanas are problematic because they not only mess up a delicate natural ecosystem, but they can cause damage to infrastructure by digging their burrows that eventually erode and collapse foundations, seawalls, sidewalks, berms, and canal banks. The sunshine state is also responsible for growing many of the vegetables and fruits for the rest of the nation, all of the favorite foods for this invasive animal.

Where:

The earliest reports of wild iguanas first appeared in Dade County in the 1960s. Due to climate limitations, the population of green iguanas has failed to extend much further north than Palm Beach or Martin Counties.
Green iguana populations are now predominately along the Atlantic coast in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties. On the Gold Coast, the green iguanas are mostly in Collier and Lee counties. The top hunting locations are currently Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.

Green iguanas are diurnal and generally arboreal (tree-dwelling). They often live close to water and readily swim underwater to escape danger.

When:

Year-round.

 

Preferred Habitat: 

The green iguana is wide ranging and can be found from Mexico through to Central and South America. They are seen as invasive animals in southern Florida and Hawaii. They live in humid, tropical rainforests, and prefer to live high up in the tree canopy. 

Active Times:

Just like us, iguanas are diurnal. This means they are most active during the day and like to rest at night. Unlike us though, they're arboreal. This means they like to hang out in trees.

Get Paid For Your Efforts:

The city of Miami Beach paid iguana hunters $50,000 in 2021 and is expected to quadruple its budget to $200,000 to deal with the lizards. The recent price increase for iguana hunting has made it a profitable business. A hunt for a large adult iguana will pay you $10, while a hunt for a smaller adult iguana will cost you $7. Hatchlings are only worth $5. Prices for iguanas have recently risen, most likely due to eradication programs that reward cullers with $5 per iguana, but larger iguanas are now available for $10 and smaller ones for $7. Any level of hunter can enjoy hunting iguanas in the wild, regardless of experience or skill level.

Recommended Caliber for Iguana Hunting: 

- .25 caliber air rifle to humanely and effectively hunt iguanas.

 

Taking Aim:

There is no one definitive answer to this question. It depends on the specific situation in which the iguana is killed. Generally speaking, however, the most effective kill shot for an iguana is a clean shot to the head or neck area. This will quickly and humanely kill the iguana without causing too much damage to the body. The Red target on the photo below illustrates the best placement for a humane shot.

Edibility:

Many people enjoy eating green iguanas, stating that it tastes similar to the gator, which many say tastes similar to chicken. Green iguanas have even earned the official nickname “chicken of the trees” for this reason. Hunting iguanas and eating their meat is a cultural practice for many South and Central American countries. Green iguanas have very nutritious meat with high levels of protein; in fact, the iguana is relatively lean meat but contains more protein than chicken. Popular cooking methods include drying, roasting, boiling, skewers, or deep frying.

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