Texas Hog Helicopter Hunts Coming Sept. 1

Texas Hog Helicopter Hunts Coming Sept. 1
Texas Hog Helicopter Hunts Coming Sept. 1

Want to pretend you're a South African professional hunter but don't have an extra five figures lying around? As of Sept. 1, you can get close in Texas. You can lean a rifle out the window of a ground-buzzing helicopter and blast ... feral hogs.

That's right. The mortal enemy of ranchers, farmers and other Texas landowners -- to the tune of more than $400 million annually in crop and other damage -- will soon be open to helicopter hunting by licensed hunters.

Coyotes too, but feral hogs are by far the greater threat. They bust fences, sour water holes, uproot crops, cripple cattle and generally don't do a darn thing positive except taste good.

Since 2005 the demand for blasting hogs has more than doubled while the number of coyotes landowners have asked the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for permission to kill (coyotes can also be killed by helicopter) has stayed pretty constant.


Texas hogs, all 2 million, are classified as a non-game, nuisance species, meaning they can be "taken by any means or methods at any time of year," states the Texas Department of Wildlife and Parks. No bag limits, but you need a hunting license.


So far that has meant shooting them from the ground, a treestand or the highest you could get was a tower stand. Now you can get higher and faster in a helicopter, provided you have the $300 to $600 per hour (with a multi-hour minimum) it costs to rent a whirlybird.

Even if many Texans could afford it, this doesn't mean you'll see hunters whizzing all over the state, looking for hogs. First are the facts that there aren't that many helos around, and it's probably a safe bet to assume helicopter operators aren't too psyched to allow anyone and everyone in their machines with loaded weapons: Jay Smith, a pilot and owner of Smith Helicopters, told The New York Times, "What we have to watch out for is the people that get in the helicopter with us and the way they handle the guns."

Also, helicopter hunting favors the open country of south Texas, where the animals are more visible and helicopter pilots can get their machines closer to the ground.

And since you're moving and so is the animal, it probably won't be easy to hit those critters. One fact might support this: TPWD data shows that it received more than 2 million requests to shoot hogs by helicopter since 2004, but less than 70,000 were taken.


On the other hand, The Dallas Morning News reported that "a good shot on infested land can sometimes hit 350 feral hogs in a day" -- that word "hit" being the reason animal rightists opposed the bill.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, also feels that helicopter hunting is all about the numbers. "We‚re not trying to make a sport of it," he told the paper. "It's the most effective way. It's about the only measure we have."

Texas' feral hogs are a mix of European domestic hogs introduced by Spanish explorers 300 years ago, European wild hogs (also known as Russian boars) released in Texas by ranchers and hunters starting in the 1930s and escaped domestic stock.


The pests also occupy the same range as whitetails, and some people are worried about that -- particularly since the state's drought is making the exploding Texas hog population more aggressive. A Blanco County man was attacked by a feral hog in mid-July and more than 100 stitches were needed to close the wound.

And then there's the fact that Texas' hog problem is spreading outside its borders. For example, they're now in every New Mexico county that borders Texas, and are rooting around as far west as the Rio Grande.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Mustad

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game & Fish 2018 Gear Guide magazine. Stories

Gear Reviews: New Coyote Hunting Rifles, Shotguns

Game & Fish Online Staff - September 07, 2018

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game &...

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos Gomez. In this article, Gomez recounts his experiences from his first nighttime poaching bust. Stories

Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 30, 2018

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos...

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck supremacy? Whitetail

The Next ‘Big Tex' for Trophy Bucks?

Jordan Michaels - October 18, 2019

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.