Texas May Let Hunters Shoot Pigs From Choppers

This method of hunting is rather difficult to enforce.

“You’re not going to have some bubba up there going, `Pass me a beer and ammo’ and hunting some hogs,” the legislator said. “We certainly want to do it right.”

Many are concerned that the temptation to shoot other animals by some who might engage in this “sport” might be hard to resist. It would be out of the reach of most people because of the expense involved to operate the helicopter.

Texas May Let Hunters Shoot Pigs From Choppers.
AP article on Huffington Post

Wild pigs are not native to North America, they were brought to Texas by Spanish explorers some 300 or more years ago. There have been issues with a more virulent form of brucellosis found in pigs, Brucella suis, which is a potential bioweapon. This is why Brucella abortis is classified as a potential bioweapon and the reason why the Department of Homeland Security escorts bison to slaughter.

Wild hogs also cause a lot of resource and crop damage and as many know, most of Texas is private property with little public hunting opportunity.  There are numerous other non-native species in Texas which were brought in for the pleasure of hunters.

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Addition  by Ralph Maughan on Feb. 23-

Ken C. posted this article. I want to add that I think folks might notice that feral hogs harbor the most dangerous kind of brucellosis. Where are the livestock associations that bemoan the brucellosis in Yellowstone area elk and bison?






  1. Barb Avatar

    This is obviously an “in your face” to those who hate Alaskan’s aerial killing policies.

  2. Ken Cole Avatar

    I have mixed feelings about this. I don’t think that feral pigs have a place in the ecology of North America yet I think that the idea of hunting them from helicopters may set a precedent that I’m not comfortable with. I kind of feel the same way about feral pigs as I do about cattle. They do considerable damage to native wildlife by eating the eggs of various ground nesting birds and reptiles and I’m sure there are other issues as well.

  3. Barb Avatar

    If man can land on the moon, surely man can remove the pigs in some other humane manner. I am sure there are parts of the world not that far away where they would be appreciated. Transferring pigs to an island where they are native (by boat) — doesn’t seem that difficult when we have many very wealthy individual conservationists and organizations throughout the world. Surely someone somewhere is interested and e-mail is cheap and effective to get the message out.

  4. David Avatar

    I am a bit perplexed as to why the pigs need to be hunted from the air. Unless there are serious and immediate issues arising from the transfer of disease into the native population, hunters need to maintain a “fair chase” policy. On a side note, I do take to task the “temptation to shoot other animals” statement. Arguments based on conjecture need to exit right. Sorry, forgot what blog I was in….”exit left”.

  5. Ryan Avatar


    This is probably the most effective and cost efficient way of removing large numbers of feral hogs. Trust me if we had feral hogs in the west like they are in the south there wouldn’t be as many complaints about the damage cows do. Contrary to popular belief, shooting them is very humane in comparision to many other ways they are removed.

  6. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    I dont know about transporting animals on boats,
    and with them being a non native species aggresive measures for there removal are okay for me,

    But I am not sure how i feel about creating yet another sport for the ultra rich who can afford to fly around in helicopters for this,

  7. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Feral pigs are not native, however I agree with Nathan. It is just another sport for the rich and believe me when I say if the undertaking is not taken seriously it will never achieve anything.

    Aside from shooting, hunters from Australia let dogs rip feral animals (not just pigs) to pieces for fun, some who partake in this activity even have a laugh when their dog gets disembowelled. Native predators have a dramatic effect on non-native wildlife, if they are allowed to populate those areas without molestation.

  8. mikarooni Avatar

    I have a great deal of experience with Texans, their politics, their approach to business, their sense of “horse-tradin” ethics, as well as their approach to public land, public good, wildlife, and anything that isn’t “them” or “theirs” or an immediate source of instant gratification for “them.” Letting the Texans kill every pig in the state may be the easiest way, ultimately and over the long run, to limit the population …of Texans.

  9. Barb Avatar

    So John, are you advocating or suggesting that wolves be reintroduced to this particular area of Texas? I’m sure they’d love to go after and eat those pigs. 🙂 🙂 And I’m sure they’d take care of all of them fairly quickly too 🙂

  10. Barb Avatar

    It’s so obvious. We need wolves desperately in so many areas.

  11. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Precisely Barb.

  12. Bonnie Avatar

    John D. and Barb, I hate to burst your bubble, but I seriously doubt wolves would be very effective in controlling the feral pig population. If fact, I seriously doubt grizzly bears would want to routinely tackle a full grown hog. Their size (200-300 lbs for an adult), their extremely effective tusks, and the fact that they are built low to the ground with a tough hide make them a tough proposition for a pack of wolves to handle. The wolves make take an occasional sick or injured animal and be able to catch a few piglets away from their mother, but not enough to make a difference.

  13. Barb Avatar

    Are you a biologist or scientist, Bonnie?

  14. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Wolves here in Germany are known to take on wild boar. Their diet is about 50% deer, 27% elk, 28% wild boar (derived from scat analysis). And, we do have the smaller wolf species and smaller packs.

  15. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Doubtful wolves are any solution to feral hogs because of where the hogs are located.

    In addition, in these states deer are probably easier nutrition. Wolves do seem to conduct a sort of benefit/risk analysis when they choose prey.

    Finally, we need to get away from the idea that wolf reintroduction reliably reduces the population of any of its prey.

    One can hardly argue that wolves don’t reduce elk populations, and then say we need wolves in an area to reduce some other animal.

  16. Barb Avatar

    Ralph, are you saying that wolves cannot effectively reduce elk populations (such as in Rocky Mtn National Park)? I’m confused — I thought they keep prey populations in check.

  17. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I’ve come to the conclusion that wolves would not reliably do this. Wolves don’t seem to be a clear factor reducing elk anywhere in in Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming except Yellowstone.

    It seems to me that wolves only put downward pressure on elk populations when there are a substantial number of other predators keying on elk (as in Yellowstone where grizzly bears, bears, cougar, and coyotes all prey on elk). Yellowstone northern range elk are also migratory, and human hunting until recently took a large number of the elk herd.

  18. Bonnie Avatar

    Barb, I am neither a biologist or a scientist. I’m simply a person who reads a lot, has lived around animals all my life, including livestock and wild game. I was raised in the shadows of Yellowstone and I have been known to spend hours simply watching wildlife go about their lives. Are you trying to say that only people with degrees should comment here or have an opinion?

    Perhaps I wasn’t entirely clear in what I was trying to say. Ralph said it much better when he said that wolves prefer deer over pigs. Deer are much easier to kill, with less risk to the wolf. I’m not saying that wolves wouldn’t kill a pig if the opportunity arose, but I’m pretty sure they would check it out first rather like they do an elk or buffalo, for signs of weakness. If the pig appears strong, they’ll move on unless there is absolutely nothing else available.

  19. Ryan Avatar

    Wolves in texas wouldn’t fly. With over 90% of the state in Private control they’d end up exterminated before they ever got populated.

  20. Bob Avatar

    I live on the east coast. A couple of years ago we had a problem with deer so the state brought in coyotes. They hurt the deer population alright but now we have a couple hundred thousand coyotes still multipliying like rabbits. Introducing a preadators to undo population is the worst idea because they do not just target on species.A full medal jacket is the best way to handle these kind of problems.

  21. Kevin Avatar

    Mikarooni – your comment is completely ignorant and out of line. Where do you live so that I may attack your culture and the dynamics in which you conduct business? Please take note that you are not welcome in our state – drive around it.

    For the rest of the readers willing to listen. Sows can birth as early as 6 months although 1.5 years is more likely. Sows can have as many as 13 in a litter and can birth up to 3 times per year. Contrary to what is being reported, grown hogs have no known natural predators beyond humans. Hogs can reach weights here in excess of 700 lbs with teeth/tusks as long as 5″ or more that can and have seriously wound or kill humans. There are an estimated 3+ million hogs in Texas and the number grows at an alarming rate. I see hogs nearly daily where I live. A friend of mine is a farmer. His largest crop a few years ago was a 100 acre field of corn. The hogs ate his entire crop. He did not get to harvest an even one ear of corn. The result nearly cost him his farm and if it were not for the help of close friends he would have been destitute, farmless, and nealy homeless that year. Hogs are a serious problem. I have seen hogs kill entire teams of pitbulls – trust me nobody laughed, in fact many tears flowed. Wolves would not be much of a threat to full grown hogs. Hogs are also omnivorous even to the extent of eating other hogs. They will eat fawns and your pets. Hogs are hogs and they hog the habitat of indigenous wildlife like whitetail, starving them to death or forcing deer to move to less desirable, potentially damaging habitats that cannot sustain herds. If you lived here and understood not only the dynamics of our problem, but also understood feral hogs themselves you might have a different opinion. Rich or not, hunting hogs from a helicopter simply helps to reduce a growing problem, decreasing the devastating environmental and financial impact that cause. Do some homework and you’ll realize that any clean harvest of a hog is a good thing. We hunt them 24/7 here with no bag limit. I primarily bow hunt them using spot and stalk and still hunting methods and have great success but I will never put a dent in their population. The number of hogs and their rate of reproduction sadly demonstrates that we may never win that battle. Hogs continue to flood other states. If you think you are immune, think again. Biologists agree that hogs will inhabit every state in the country in the forseeable future. Think it’s too cold where you live? They are in Michigan and Russia already. They are incredibly intelligent, have keen hearing and sense of smell. They are the toughest, most unpredictable, and most violent animals I’ve hunted. They turn on a dime and run in excess of 35 mph. They adapt better than any other animal I can think of. “Houston, we have a problem.”

    I would be happy to entertain any productive questions one might have here. I’ll check back often.

    Mikarooni – don’t bother responding. You have nothing productive to offer about this issue.

    Barb – your solution is not practical. Good luck trying to catch over 3,000,000 hogs. If you miss even a handful of hogs, you haven’t resolved the issue.

    I don’t know the answer about ridding our country of feral hogs, but I know hogs, and I know how to hunt them on the ground.

    I might add a positive spin on this – they are some of the best tablefare you’ll ever find! I just put another 70 pounds in the freezer!

    Texan and avid bow hunter


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole