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It’s pork-choppin’ time

At least one Texas industry is looking forward to better times.

New legislation aimed at reducing Texas’ massive feral hog population also is expected to put some sizzle in the state’s helicopter services sector and create a new breed of hunter-tourist.

The legislation, nicknamed the “pork chopper bill,” will allow hunters to pay landowners and helicopter companies to climb aboard a helicopter to shoot and kill feral hogs and coyotes.

In a pro-hunting state like Texas, it is expected to draw sizable interest, which could keep the copters flying more often than they did before.

Previously, landowners were prohibited from accepting payment from hunters to shoot the beasts from the air. The legislation has been signed by the governor and will take effect Sept. 1.

Helicopter companies in the state are gearing up to handle the new business.

“I’ve had people contact me from Alaska who want to come down to do it,” said Dustin Johnson, owner of Cedar Ridge Aviation in Knox City in North Texas. He plans to charge $600 an hour per person, but that hasn’t tempered interest.

It’s just too bad that the bill that enabled this didn’t create a revenue stream for the state in the process. We could have wiped out the expected deficit for the next biennium.

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