Heli Hogs

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Whether they are called feral swine, Russian hogs, or wild boar, America has a pig problem. Over the last ten years hogs have spread across the country at a rapid rate, and today these feral pigs are found in 45 states including Michigan, Oregon, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Pigs can begin breeding at six months of age and females can produce upwards of 20 piglets a year, and currently wild boar populations are increasing at an enormous rate. Once a rural problem that plagued farmers and ranchers, pigs are now a major nuisance in subdivisions and urban areas, rooting up lawns and gardens. So far control methods haven’t worked well and the population of wild swine continues to spread and increase at a rapid rate.

      In March, 2014 Eddie Stevenson of Trijicon invited me to help with an aerial hog eradication operation in Texas. It would require riding in a four-seat helicopter with Kyle Lange of Lange Helicopters and helping to control population size by shooting pigs in one of the areas worst affected by the explosion in pig numbers near Lubbock, Texas. This technique is expensive but highly effective and has become the best option for many areas where pigs are displacing native game. Arid regions like west Texas offer little water and grass, so when the pigs moved in native deer and other game died off. Hopefully, over time, pig populations will come back under control before they spread to every state, but that’s unlikely. Until then, hunters will do their best to help hold feral swine populations in check.

Look for upcoming articles on this hunt in Gun Digest, Peterson’s Hunting (online), and Outdoor America magazines.