Texas Hog Hunting FAQs

If Texas Helicopter Hog Hunting is something you’ve never done before, you probably have a lot of questions… That’s what we expect. HeliBacon can provide you with anything you need to succeed on the wildest adventure of your life!

HeliBacon  |  888-505-2981  |  6120 E. State Hwy 21  |  Bryan, Texas 77808

The #1 Resource for Helicopter Hog Hunting!

About Helicopter Hog Hunting

  • What is the season for helicopter hog hunting?
    • Helicopter Hog Hunting is legal to do year-round during civil twilight hours. However, for practical reasons, we do not fly hunts during deer season. In our part of Texas, deer season runs from the beginning of November through around the middle of January. We don’t want to be flying and shooting when there are deer hunters downrange in the deer stands, and most deer hunters prefer not to have a helicopter flying low level and disturbing any deer during hunting season. For these reasons, HeliBacon schedules hunts from mid-January through the end of October. We typically fly 4 to 5 days a week, mostly Wednesday through Saturday. From November through mid-January, we can still operate our Aerial Machine Gun Range, deliver Ground Machine Gun Range Experiences, and own the night with awesome Night Vision Hog Hunts.
  • When is the best time of year to schedule a trip?
    • The winter months from mid-January through the end of March are cooler in temperature, the leaves are mostly off the trees, and we can schedule up to 4 hours of flying per day. However, the drawback of winter is the rain and fog, which results in a larger percentage of hunts being rescheduled compared to other seasons. Later in the year, from April through October, we only schedule 2-3 flight hours per day, starting at dawn, while the temperatures are still cool. We fly the tree lines, crop fields, river valleys, and other watering spots. We are still successful in hunting outside of winter months, although we limit the number of flight hours to the cooler parts of the day. The feral hogs are active, eating, and breeding all year long. Therefore, the convenience of travel, schedule availability with clients for corporate entertainment, or proximity to a birthday or anniversary, tend to be equally important factors in the overall decision about when to come to Texas for some Helicopter Hog Hunting fun.
  • What is the weight limit?
    • The individual seat weight limit is 300 lbs. Each passenger is weighed prior to flying. When being weighed, each passenger must wear closed-toed shoes and pants or shorts. We use a Salter Brecknell PS500-22 industrial floor scale with digital readout. It is extremely accurate. The individual seat weight limit is a federal regulatory requirement and a manufacturer safety directive. The scale must report 300.0 lbs or under on the morning of the hunt, or we cannot take you flying. If a passenger is over 300 lbs, this does not qualify for a refund. Other passengers can use the flight time, but again, no refunds will be given.
  • What is the age requirement?
    • HeliBacon’s recommendation is 16 years and up. HeliBacon provides a safety course that is nearly one hour long, where we discuss and demonstrate all of the activities for a successful helicopter hog hunt. Topics range from safe behaviors around helicopters, firearm safety rules, and even communication procedures during flight and shooting. There is a lot of information to cover and digest, and in our experience, children 16 years of age and older are better able to retain and process the information. They are also able to perform simple strength tasks, like holding the rifle for the duration of the helicopter hunt. We can allow younger participants on a case-by-case basis. In all situations, minors are required to fly with a parent or guardian. Safety is our priority, and any unsafe situations may require cessation of flight and shooting activities.
  • Do I need a hunting license to helicopter hog hunt?
    • Not anymore. Texas changed the law in 2019 to no longer require a hunting license to hunt feral hogs in the State, even for non-residents, while on private property with landowner authorization. Additionally, no hunting license is required to hunt depredating coyotes on private property with landowner authorization. See the non-game species section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for more information. HeliBacon holds a valid and current Aerial Wildlife Management Permit, and as of 2020, we are able to document hunters on the Aerial Wildlife Management Portal using a State ID such as a driver’s license.
  • Do I need to be a United States citizen or resident?
    • No. A significant portion of our clients are international and in the United States on tourism visas. You may purchase a hunting license from the Texas Parks & Wildlife website using your passport. English proficiency is required for all Helicopter Hog Hunting participants, as communication with the pilot is necessary during the flight.
  • What are the requirements to go on a helicopter hog hunt?
    • Possess a valid Texas hunting license
    • Not have a felony conviction or other restriction that prohibits you from possessing a firearm
    • Sign a liability release form with HeliBacon and the landowner(s)
    • Must not exceed aircraft individual seat weight limitation of 300 pounds
    • Be proficient in English
    • HeliBacon allows participants age 16 years and up – minors are only allowed on a case-by-case basis
  • What are we able to shoot from the helicopter?
    • Texas state law allows for taking feral hogs and coyotes by a paying hunter from the aircraft. Other species are prohibited.
  • Is this considered sport hunting?
    • No. Although it is enjoyable to fly low level in a helicopter and shoot full-auto machine guns from the aircraft, this is not sport hunting. The justification for the entire activity is the reduction of the over-populated feral hogs and coyotes. These species cause tremendous economic damage. Hence, helicopter hunting activities are limited to these two species. We frequently see amazing trophy bucks from the helicopter, but we are unable to shoot them, as any for sport hunting from an aircraft is a violation of federal law.
  • How many people are flying together?
    • Our flight configuration is a pilot in the front right seat, and two gunners in the front left and back left. Both gunners are flying and shooting at the same time. on the same side of the aircraft. There is an additional seat behind the pilot that we use as a non-shooting observer seat. This is frequently occupied by spouse or children who may want to fly along, but won’t be participating. An oddity of the Texas regulation for Aerial Wildlife Management is that all passengers on board the helicopter, including a non-shooting observer, must have a hunting license.
  • How many people can hunt at a time?
    • 2-4 hunters can participate per day. We fly with 2 shooters onboard the helicopter and fly for one hour at a time. Then, we land and refuel, put in fresh magazines and rotate shooters, and take off for another hour. We can accommodate up to 4 hunters per day in the winter months through the end of March, and we typically fly with 2-3 hunters per day later in the year. Parties of 6-8 people are divided over two days in order to fly the first couple hours of daylight. Occasionally, we fly the last hour before sunset as well. Itineraries for parties of 6-8 people usually feature Night Vision Hog Hunting, Ground Machine Gun Shooting, Shotgun Sporting Clays, and other activities that keep the action going during the trip.
  • Do you take single hunters?
    • Our hunting experiences require two seats to be purchased to schedule the event. It is best to find a buddy to go with you. Individuals are able to purchase both seats and fly by themselves, but we do not have services or packages specifically catered to single participants at this time.
  • How many hogs can I shoot?
    • There is no bag limit. We are only limited by our available flight time and finding hogs. It is typical in a 2 person 2-hour hunt to see coyotes, solitary boars, and at least one sounder. A sounder is a group of 3-4 sows and 8-16 piglets. We do occasionally see and engage 60 to 100 feral hogs in a hunt. This is the exception rather than the rule. We don’t want to set false or unreasonable expectations. The fact is that hunting for wild animals is, and always will be, hunting.
  • Is Helicopter Hog Hunting ethical?
    • Feral Hogs are a non-native, invasive species, which cause damage to the environment through spreading disease; damage to the ecology by wiping out ground-nesting bird populations and competition for food from other native species; and damage to the economy with untold billions in crop destruction each year. Helicopter Hog Hunting is one way to cull their numbers. When we regularly fly land we can keep their numbers down by a noticeable percentage. We aren’t trying to recover the meat for food, but we do want to eat the crops. HeliBacon strives for humane kills that minimize animal suffering. We have a strict policy to overfly our kills to ensure that the animals are dispatched, rather than merely wounded.

About HeliBacon

  • Why should I choose HeliBacon?
    • HeliBacon’s core values are Safety and Professionalism. Our company’s purpose is to create unique and unforgettable lifetime memories. HeliBacon’s bread and butter is building strong relationships with key customers; helping with father/son adventures; celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other special occasions; or, just helping customers check off a completely awesome bucket list experience. HeliBacon was founded in 2012 and features a perfect safety record in aviation. Our unique arsenal and inclusive packages provide outstanding total experiences. We achieve excellence in every area that we control. Our many return clients, and overwhelmingly positive reviews on Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp, speak to our high standards and success. It would be our highest honor to have the opportunity to prove ourselves to you, in person, on your Helicopter Hog Hunting adventure. Watch an awesome 3-minute video titled, “Our Mission.”

  • Does HeliBacon have insurance?
    • Absolutely. We are fully insured for commercial Helicopter Hog Hunting.
  • What type of aircraft will we be flying in?
    • We use the Robinson R66 Turbine Helicopter for our depredation program. This aircraft is agile, nimble, and highly effective for this operation. It features a Rolls Royce RR300 turbine engine designed specifically for this helicopter. HeliBacon’s R66 is a 2013 model ship, making it the newest turbine helicopter operated by any Helicopter Hog Hunting company.
  • Does HeliBacon own or lease your aircraft?
    • We own our Robinson R66. It should come as no surprise that we take the best care of our aircraft because we personally own it. Everything about our helicopter is in immaculate shape, from the quality of the maintenance standards down to the Bose headsets. Our helicopter isn’t just leased from a nearby flight school it is the pride and joy of our operation. The care and attention to detail showcase this fact.
  • Where is your helicopter maintained?
    • HeliBacon maintains the R66 in top condition with Helicopter Services Inc. HSI is an FAA-certified, Part 145 service facility. HeliBacon takes great pride in our quality of maintenance. Mike Crossland is the CEO of HSI and can provide reference checks on HeliBacon’s maintenance track record. We proudly publish information about our aircraft, where it is maintained, and who the point of contact is for reference. We take quality aircraft maintenance very seriously, and you should too!
  • What is your pilot’s experience?
    • Chase Roberts, co-owner and co-founder of HeliBacon, has a decade of flight experience and thousands of hours logged rotorcraft time. Over 95% of this time has been spent conducting low-level operations, specifically, Helicopter Hog Hunting. Many of HeliBacon’s online Google reviews specifically mention how impressed people were with our pilot’s abilities, and how safe and confident they felt with Chase in command of the aircraft.
  • How much land do you have to hunt on?
    • HeliBacon has access to over 300,000 acres of prime farm and ranch land. We are situated in the heart of College Station, TX, and fly in Brazos and the surrounding counties. Our land is watered by the Brazos and Navasota rivers. The lush farmland provides ample food sources for the feral hogs.
  • Is HeliBacon paid by the landowners as well?
    • No, actually. The feral hogs are such a nuisance that the landowners give HeliBacon free access to the land in exchange for HeliBacon bringing customers to come and kill the hogs as often as possible. From the landowner’s point of view, it’s a form of free pest control. See this video about one organic rice farmer’s perspective on HeliBacon’s efforts to control the feral hog damage.

 
 

About Firearms and Ammunition

  • What firearms are you using? Caliber? Optic? Ammo?
    • From the helicopter, HeliBacon uses both semi-auto and full-auto AR-15s chambered in 5.56 (55gr FMJ) with EOTech XPS 3.0 holographic red dot optics. The exact rifles are pictured on the Arsenal page in the carbines section. HeliBacon’s machine guns are Seekins Precision lowers with M4 fire control groups, featuring Geissele Super Select Fire triggers and BAD-CASS ambidextrous selectors, mated to LWRC M6IC short-stroke piston uppers, with enhanced brass deflectors for aircraft use. Magpul ASAP end plates with MS3 single-point slings provide secure firearm retention. This setup is durable, reliable, and proven for helicopter use. These rifles have served us extremely well. We discuss practical usage during our Safety Course before every hunt.
  • Can I use my own firearm?
    • HeliBacon hunts, including Night Vision Hog Hunts, include access to all firearms in out arsenal and unlimited ammo. For safety reasons, HeliBacon prohibits the use of client provided firearms during all HeliBacon activities.
  • Is a shotgun better Helicopter Hog Hunting?
    • No, not really. And we’ve tried it for sure. A shotgun is long and heavy, with lower ammunition capacity than a rifle, and takes considerably longer to reload. 3″ magnum buckshot is devastatingly effective up close, but if the presence of sporadic trees on ranch land requires the helicopter to maintain 50 feet of altitude, for aviation safety, buckshot becomes considerably less effective at this moderate distance. 3″ magnum slugs are still effective at this distance, although less accurate than the rifle while still suffering from weight and capacity disadvantages, combined with punishing recoil. There are pros and cons to every firearm and ammunition choice. In our opinion, the AR-15, in full-auto, with unlimited ammunition, offers maximum enjoyment, and overall best effectiveness for this operation.
  • Your arsenal has many machine guns. Are these, including belt feds, able to be shot from the helicopter?
    • From the helicopter, we exclusively use the AR-15. Partly because we can easily control the brass deflection for safety, but for many other reasons as well. You can experience all of the firearms in the Arsenal during a Ground Machine Gun Range Experience.
  • Do you use silencers?
    • Several of the machine guns in the Arsenal are suppressed, including the extremely quiet MP5SD, the integrally suppressed Maxim-9 machine pistol, full-size Uzi, SCAR 17 Heavy, SCAR 16 CQC, MP5K-PDW, among others. The main benefit of using suppressors is noise reduction. This benefit is irrelevant to a shooter in the helicopter, where we are wearing Bose helicopter headsets with integrated noise cancellation technology. Noise reduction is actually a detriment from a helicopter hunting perspective, where the report of full-auto firearm discharge encourages the feral hogs to move. The secondary benefit of suppressors is slightly smoothing the recoil impulse. This benefit is outweighed by the weight and length disadvantages, extreme heat during sustained full-auto fire, and the blast chambers significantly increasing fouling of the action, which negatively impacts feed reliability, especially at high cyclic rates. We certainly have many suppressors, and enjoy their use in specific applications. All of our firearms are suppressed in Night Vision Hog Hunting operations, where we communicate in a quiet whisper, without any ear-pro. But from the helicopter, we specifically choose not to use suppressors for that application.

About the trip

  • Where are you located? Where do we fly into?
    • HeliBacon is in the Bryan / College Station area which is 1/2 way in-between Houston and Austin. We are a 1 1/2 hour drive from Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). Some commercial flight services are available direct to College Station’s Easterwood Airport (CLL). HeliBacon’s safety courses take place at Coulter Field Airport at 6120 East State Hwy 21 Bryan, TX 77808.
  • What is the typical itinerary?

    • The Works Package covers approximately 48 hours in Texas. Clients typically fly into Houston’s Intercontinental Airport, and drive to Bryan, Texas for a 4:00 PM, hour-long safety course. Then, they’ll head to the lodging facilities and enjoy a nice home-cooked dinner. The next morning, we’ll have you up early and back at the airport before dawn so we can take off for an early morning helicopter hog hunt, making use of the first hours of daylight while temperatures are cool and the hunting is good. In the afternoons, we do shooting activities at the ranch, including the Ground Machine Gun Range Experience and the Shotgun Sporting Clays competition. After a second home-cooked dinner at the ranch, our Night Vision Hog Hunting guide does some equipment familiarization around sundown and then the group heads out into the night, hunting sometimes until 2:00 or 3:00 AM. Sleep in the next morning, enjoy a hot and fresh breakfast and coffee at the ranch, then head back to IAH for your flight home.
  • What accommodations are available nearby?

    • HeliBacon is in College Station, home to Texas A&M University. Because of the campus, there are an enormous amount of lodging and restaurant accommodations available nearby. You can purchase lodging and meal tickets through HeliBacon, bundle lodging and meals with The Works Package, or stay at many nearby hotels, bed and breakfasts, and Airbnbs/VRBOs (rent a mansion for the weekend). When it comes to accommodations, you have a lot of options. See our Lodging page for recommendations.
  • How do tips work?

    • In the outfitter industry, if the crews provide excellent service and deliver successful hunts, 10% of the total hunt price is a customary gratuity. Pilots, ground crew, night vision hunting guides, and lodging staff are working hard behind the scenes to ensure your experience is top-notch and the service is outstanding. If you would like to tip the various staff personnel directly, HeliBacon is happy to provide a cost breakdown of individual services. More commonly, gratuities are given to the Pilot, who is responsible for dividing the funds among all of the service staff.
  • What else is there to do in the area?

    • Most clients add a Night Vision Hog Hunt or a Ground Machine Gun Range Experience to the Helicopter Hog Hunt. Old-town Bryan has quaint shopping and Messina Hof Winery is closeby. Blue Bell offers tours of their ice cream factory, and Austin is located in the Texas Hill Country. If you are flying in and out of Austin, we recommend all of the amazing restaurants with live music. Try some Texas BBQ, Tex-Mex Fajitas, and enjoy a show while you’re in town!
  • What should I wear for a helicopter hog hunt?

    • Wear clothing applicable to the season (e.g. T-shirt or Polo in Summer, jackets in Winter.) We don’t fly with doors on the helicopter, so it gets quite breezy and cold during winter flights. During the cooler months, we recommend a warm jacket and shooting gloves if you have them. Under-layers help as well in the winter. In the summer, bringing sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen is a good idea, as we will potentially be out in the Texas sun for several hours. Sunglasses or other eye protection is recommended while shooting from the helicopter year-round. We provide eye protection, but most clients prefer to bring their own for the best fit and comfort. Please, no open-toed shoes or sandals.
  • Do I have to attend a safety program before I go on a hunt?

    • Yes. Safety is our number one priority. The HeliBacon team has an extensive background in teaching aerial hunting safety. HeliBacon provides the mandatory safety course, which is approximately one hour in length and is usually completed the evening before the hunt, or, in certain circumstances, the morning of your hunt. The safety course is comprehensive, and there is plenty of time for questions and demonstrations to ensure all participants are comfortable with the upcoming hunting activities. At the safety course, we’ll sign the release of liability, verify the hunting license, and then head over to the aircraft for combined firearms and helicopter safety training. We will go over all of the key safety topics and procedures that will be performed during the hunt. Learn more about HeliBacon’s focus on safety.
  • What if there is bad weather on the day of my hunt?

    • Our practice is to review the weather forecast a few days before the event date and contact the client in the event of forecasted poor weather. Events that are canceled due to weather are rescheduled to the nearest available date that is convenient for all parties. The official terms and conditions are “All sales are final. Flights that cannot be conducted due to inclement weather or aircraft maintenance will be rescheduled to the nearest available date. No refunds will be given.”
  • How far in advance should I schedule my hunt?

    • It is an open schedule, and first come first serve. We will do our best to accommodate your event date. A 50% down payment is required to officially reserve a spot on the calendar. January through March is the highest demand season, and dates in this window book up sometimes a year in advance.
  • Will we recover any of the hogs we shoot?

    • HeliBacon does not recover the feral hogs during a helicopter hunt. We want to maximize the use of time for flying and shooting. Within 12-48 hours, vultures, and other scavengers, will have completely removed the carcasses. If you are interested in recovering some meat, this can best be done on a Night Vision Hog Hunt because we will already have a vehicle on the ground, relatively close to where we are shooting. Please discuss these options with your guide. HeliBacon does not provide cleaning, processing, or shipping services.
  • What is a good group size?

    • Parties of 2-4 people can helicopter hunt on a single day. We regularly accommodate groups of 6-8 with The Works Package, over 2 days of day and night hunting, with shooting activities in between. The Aerial Machine Gun Range Event and the Team Builder Pro Package are flying and shooting activities that can accommodate up to 30 people in a single day. These are not hunting packages amd are designed for large team building events.

About Night Vision Hog Hunting

  • What is the length of the hunt?

    • The guide will usually meet the clients about 30 minutes before sundown for equipment familiarization. The hunt begins about sunset and can go until 2:00 or 3:00 AM.
  • Is it all on foot? Or in blinds?
    • No. We drive out to the various fields in trucks and use thermal imaging to scan the fields. We can drive up to about the last 100 – 150 yards or so. Then, we stalk the last bit on foot, staying downwind. We can usually get to within 25 yards (sometimes closer) and set up for shooting. We have access to blinds as desired, but most clients prefer to drive and stalk.
  • What equipment is used?

    • Trijicon Reap-IR thermal scopes, mounted on suppressed AR-15s chambered in 7.62×39. We also use PVS-14s with Gen 3 Pinnacle IR tubes. These can be helmet-mounted, but for comfort and convenience of vehicular ingress and egress, the PVS-14s are typically worn on a lanyard around the neck. We are always updating and upgrading gear.
  • How many people can participate at the same time?

    • A night hunt consists of a guide plus 2 – 4 hunters. For safety reasons, we only allow 2 people to be shooting at a time, with the guide standing right between them. This helps with equipment operation in the dark, but also ensure maximum safety. We rotate shooters between engagements. Night hunt engagements are very common as feral hogs are naturally nocturnal. We frequently take groups of 6-8 people, over 2 nights, alternating with helicopter hog hunting in the mornings.
  • What should I wear?

    • Long sleeve shirts and long pants to protect against brush. Rubber mud boots are appropriate, as some of the best hunting locations are near the rivers and other watering spots which can get quite muddy. You will not need hearing protection as all of the night guns are suppressed. Clear eye protection is recommended and can be provided by HeliBacon, but for comfort and best fit, most clients prefer to bring their own. Please avoid clothing that is heavily scented from laundry detergent. Feral hogs have a great sense of smell.

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Aerial Machine Gun Range
GET AIRBORNE! Check out our aerial machine gun range.

Helicopter Hog Hunt
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Night Vision Shooting Experience
Shoot firearms with infrared/thermal in pitch black darkness. Ask for details.

Ground Machine Gun Range
Treat yourself to our arsenal with your very own machine gun party!

Helicopter Tours
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Lodging and Amenities
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