With around 2 million feral hogs in the state of Texas, it doesn’t look like their reign of terror is going to end anytime soon. They breed faster than rabbits and cause upwards of $50 million in damage every year, meaning the problem is only getting worse.
Lawmakers in Texas have tried everything they can think of to create a solution. They even passed a bill that allowed people to hunt hogs from a helicopter. At face value that solution sounds completely insane. Mainly because killing anything from a helicopter is both difficult and really expensive.
State Representative Mark Keough thinks he has a solution. He believes he’s found an alternative after talking with hunters for better ways to kill feral hogs. Shoot them from hot air balloons – you read that right.
The bill (House Bill 3535) would allow Texas hunter to shoot feral hogs from hot air balloons, along with coyotes, as long as they had a permit.
As far as practical hunting goes, this idea is both insane and not something we’d call effective. If anything it’ll at least give Texas more tourism income for anyone who wants to try.
“It’s far safer than if you were hunting out of a helicopter,” says Keough.
Not considering the erratic movement of hot air balloons, hunters still face the problem of trees in the eastern portion of the state.
“Aerial gunning by any vehicle [in East Texas] is not widely used because of the extensive tree cover,” Billy Higginbotham, with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Despite the criticism, Keough has high hopes for his new bill.
“We’ve got a problem here, and we are willing to fix it ourself,” he said. “We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things. It’s part of the culture, it’s different than any other state.”