More porkchopping, please

Apparently, shooting feral hogs from a helicopter isn’t as popular a pastime as you might think.

“Number one, the cost is kind of limiting,” said Steve Lightfoot, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, explaining that interest has “leveled out.”

A helicopter shooting trip can cost from $300 to $1,000 per hour, sometimes with a minimum number of hours required.

“It’s kind of expensive, so it’s not really a common thing to do,” said Jim Barnhill, a broker in the El Campo area who arranges helicopter feral hog hunts. “You’ve got to have a pretty thick pocketbook.”


Feral hogs are also learning to avoid the choppers, just as they might run from the sound of a four-wheeler used on land for traditional hunting, Lightfoot said.

“The hogs have gotten smart. They kind of recognized what those rotor sounds mean, and they’ve headed for heavy cover,” he said.

Also, Barnhill said, the hogs are nocturnal, limiting hunting by helicopter to only a couple of hours in the early morning.

Funnily enough, I don’t recall any of these points being made while the porkchopper bill was under consideration. The debate could largely be summed up as “Yeee-haw!” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and every little bit helps when it comes to feral hogs, but clearly there’s more that will need to be done.

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