Helicopter Hog Hunting

The wild hog problem is one that without witnessing it you cannot imagine the damage to the land, fences and property that these out of control creatures create. So to help control this problem, helicopters with shooters armed with shotguns, loaded with buckshot are used. The shooters hangout of windows of small 2 person helicopters with the pilot carefully positioning you over a herd of ferrel hogs, allowing you to blast away killing as many as possible before they take up refuse in the brush.

My brother Kenny, and avid hunter had a relationship with a huge south Texas ranch and was allowed to invite teams of us to come down for these hunts. He was responsible for leasing the helicopters. He would usually hire 2 at any given time. This allowed for 12 or 15 guys to go up for periods of 20 to 30 minutes each (as long as any sane person wants to go at a stretch) and shoot until you arm was about to fall off. During a day, each person would have several times to go up.

Most of the hogs were left to rot where they were shot. Of course there are plenty of coyotes, Mexican Eagles and buzzards to use them as a feast. It seems like it was common for there to be a couple of hundred kills during any one day of hunting. This hardly made a dent in the wild hog population.

Sometimes the skill of the pilots would allow them to herd a bunch of the hogs to and open area, along a fence line with a road where the kill could be made and the carcass retrieved by the ranch crew to be used for consumption. This was mostly not possible due to the vastness in territory and the numbers of kills made.

The helicopters are generally used on the big ranches in South Texas to gather the cattle because the brush is so thick doing so by horseback is virtually impossible.

If you put aside the killing aspect of these hunts, which I have a harder time with as I get older, it is as they say, the most fun you can have with your pants on. (I don’t say that but it’s often said).

One particular day with both helicopters flying in an area with shotguns blasting away, a large number of illegal aliens came running out of the brush to the top of a stock tank dam with hands high in the air. They were surrendering. It must have been a frightening time for them but yet confusing, when no one showed up to take them away. “Loco Americonos” I’m sure was the buzz words of the day.

By the way these programs are sanctioned and approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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