Feral hogs or “wild boars” are non-native and invasive species, which pose an imminent threat to a number of goods, crops, land, and the overall health of the ecosystem in our corner of the world. There is a reason that Texas Law allows HeliBacon to sell the gunner’s seat. Helicopter Hog Hunting hunt isn’t only fun… It’s necessary and beneficial.
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The Feral Hog Problem in Texas
Feral hogs have a gestation period of only 115 days and reach sexual maturity in just 6 months. The population of this invasive species has the potential to triple in just 14 – 16 months and they have no natural predators. These non-native hogs are nearly impossible to eradicate and Texas’ need to protect its native wildlife and agricultural industries has reached a fever pitch.
Texas has over 4 million wild hogs running rampant, and the population is in direct competition for resources and habitats against native wildlife including some endangered species. Ground nesting bird populations are especially at risk. Feral hogs destroy ecosystems by over foraging, destabilizing soil in wetland areas, and upsetting creek or stream beds by way of excessive rooting and wallowing. This damage and destruction puts further stress on endangered and protected species struggling to survive in the area.
Crop Damage Caused by Feral Hogs
Wild hogs also threaten agriculture business through devastating field crops, causing property damage, and upsetting normal farming techniques. Texas’ boar population is responsible for an estimated 500 million to 1 billion dollars worth of annual crop damage caused by the hogs living in and feeding on field crops. Large 400 pound adult hogs have been know to damage property and equipment while moving from ranch to ranch. Lastly, enormous amounts of time, money, and effort are spent rectifying problems brought about by hordes of pigs inhabiting properties.
Texas Hog Depredation Act
In the past, hog control was generally managed by ground hunters and trappers, who obtained permission to hunt on the farmland, thus providing a paid service to the ranchers and farmers (controlling hogs) and the hunters then collected and used the meat for sustenance. Recent studies have revealed that 75% of Texas’ hog population must be eradicated each year, just to maintain the current population – not reduce it. The Texas Legislature passed HB 716 in response to these devastating numbers. The Great State of Texas has ruled feral hogs a threat to the State and these hogs may be taken by any means or methods necessary. In HeliBacon’s case, this equates to Helicopters with Machine Guns!
The HeliBacon Solution
HB 716, also known as the Texas Hog Depredation Act, not only allows landowners to offset the financial losses caused by hogs with hunting tourism dollars, the bill also allows communities to rally around each other and protect their ecosystems and crops together. HeliBacon can sell the gunner’s seat to the public, which attracts out of state hunting tourists, partners financially with landowners, and makes HeliBacon’s Helicopter Hog Hunts an asset to the community as a whole. In fact, According to a Texas A&M survey in 2011, 70% of Texas landowners are open to aerial depredation efforts as a type of feral hog control. (Timmons et al., 2012, figure 4) There is widespread public support for HeliBacon’s activities.
In today’s post HB 716 Texas, landowners are no longer paying ground hunting teams out of pocket and those hunters are no longer putting themselves at risk. In the past, ineffective ground hunters risked coming in contact with Swine Brucellosis, a herpes virus called Pseudorabies, and/or being charged by packs of boars with long sharp tusks and no fear of humans. Instead, insanely effective Aerial Depredation Programs are now being financed by out of state hunting tourism dollars and the act of depredation is being carried out from the safety of a helicopter. Did we mention, it’s a lot of fun too!