Hunters going airborne in war against hogs

By Bob Hallmark - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The proposed bill that would let hunters bag feral hogs from helicopters is good news for ranchers like Bob Griffin. He said he has had massive destruction of his hay and grazing fields by the massive pests.

"I think its a good idea its probably a much more efficient way of thinning them out that other ways," said Griffin. "They have to do whatever they can do to get the numbers down."

Hunters will have the advantage of speed and maneuverability, something the state is already using.

"Hunting is already done by helicopter by one of the state agencies they do hunt hogs in West Texas," said Dennis Smith, a Gregg County Agricultural Agent. "It's very effective in areas where they can see."

But most hunters worry about all of the things that could go wrong in an airborne hunt.

"[I] don't agree with it at all," said Tracy Vincent, a hunter. "From a safety standpoint, simply that you're taking someone's accuracy of shooting a high powered rifle and hoping that you don't hit something you shouldn't hit."

"[A] stray bullet, especially in a populated area like East Texas [with] too many houses, too many pipelines, oil and gas pipelines all over the ground," said Wade Johnson, a hunter.

Experts estimate there are over 2-million feral hogs in Texas, but aerial hunts may not be effective in East Texas.

"But in East Texas it wouldn't work," said Dennis Smith. "We've got way too much cover."

The proposed bill has not yet reached a state legislative committee. To do this, hunters would have to spend around 200 to 300 dollars to charter a helicopter for hunting. Many hunters had an alternative - put a cash bounty on feral hogs.