I Love the Smell of Bacon in the Morning.
Got a wild hog problem in the state of Texas? Perhaps not for long. A new law goes into effect today allowing hunters to buy seats on helicopters to hunt feral hogs from the air. Legislators passed the “Pork Chopper Bill” back in May in an effort to reduce the population of this non-game animal. As of September 1, its open season.
Texas has one of the most out of control hog populations in the country. Before anyone get squeamish about killing large numbers of pigs in a wholesale aerial assault, try to understand that these are not cute pink domesticated piglets. These feral hogs didn’t star in talking farm animal movies and don’t make friends with literate talking spiders. These aggressive animals use their snouts to tear up crop fields, fences, equipment and they regularly attack livestock and family pets. There are an estimated 2.8 million wild hogs running loose in Texas and their population is nothing short of out of control. Experts claim that in Texas, hogs are responsible for more than $520 million dollars a year in property and crop damage. Some ranchers go out twice a day to repair fences that hogs destroy. Some farmers are saying that keeping up with the damage is becoming unmanageable.
This new law will not only benefit crop growers and cattle ranchers, helicopter companies are ready to cash in on the action as well. Hunters are lining up to take the full-day safety course and get their turn at the aerial bombardment ride of a lifetime. Copter companies say that safety courses are necessary. Apparently, flying at low altitude, while shooting a semi-automatic rifle, out an open window, can be inherently dangerous. Firing from a moving platform is extremely difficult and proper practice and safety is necessary. A shooter must remember that both you and the target are moving. Heavy turbulence, wind, and high speed can make a 50-yard shot feel like a 500-yard shot. Our friends at Magpul were kind enough to develop their Aerial Platform Operation DVDs. This is a must see for anyone who feels the need to spit some lead from the air.
Costs for the ride hover around $500 dollars per hour. Legislators took efforts to try to curb the notion that this was a new type of hog hunting sporting event. The intention of this law is to control the amount of damage that hogs do to property, not create an aerial gunning sport.
Will this type of thing take off as a popular way to rid your ranch of these pests? Cost will surely keep many flying gunner wanna-bes away. However, when you consider that some hunters pay $3,000 to $5,000 every season just to back an eight-point buck, you have to assume that we are going to see more than just a few of these copter hunts on the horizon.