Jan 13, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
Still absorbing all I saw and heard at the Dallas Safari Club Convention last weekend, but one scene that stands out in my mind is the constant crowd of people watching the big screen videos at the Cedar Ridge Aviation booth. They were running loop videos of the hottest selling hunts in Texas these days – helicopter hog hunts!
Feral hogs across the South, and especially in Texas, have simply “taken over.” Seems like just ten years ago hogs were viewed as a welcome “bonus” hunting opportunity both for Texas outfitters and for snowbird hunters looking for an exciting, inexpensive, off-season hunting opportunity.
Well the current hog situation is far beyond anything anyone ever dreamed it would become. Feral hogs are outright varmints by every definition. If you’re a landowner in the South (and increasingly farther and farther north) nobody needs to tell you how bad the hog problem is.
Feral hogs are prolific with females producing multiple litters each year. They eat about anything and there’s pretty much no fence that stops them for very long. I’ve seen sections of high dollar Texas high fence for which the local pigs don’t even slow down anymore. All it took was a few raccoons or such to get the wire lifted up just a little bit and bam! The hogs found their way underneath and just keep making the holes bigger.
If you have a management plan working on your property, hogs can and will devastate every aspect of it including the populations of desirable wildlife species. To restore order you must extremely reduce or totally eliminate hogs from the property. And that’s a case of much easier said than done. Until now the only alternatives have been trapping and intensive hunting (including baiting, hounds and night hunting in many places.)
But in their tradition of doing things bigger and better, Texas is turning the hog problem into yet another new, andrenalin-pushing hunting opportunity. Gunning hogs from open helicopters is the hottest thing going in the Lone Star State these days. Would-be aerial gunners are lining up to experience the literally “stomach-churning” challenge of hitting a moving target from a moving helicopter. For a guy like me who loves to take on the toughest challenges hunting and the shooting sports have to offer heli-hogging is a must-add to my personal bucket list! Adds a whole new level of meaning to my traditional sign-off “shoot straight!”
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