Video: Machine Gun Helicopter Hog Hunting

OK, technically and legally speaking this isn’t hunting — its “herd depredation.” Hogs are a terrible nuisance in the Gulf coast area, and helicopter crews are the most effective way to eliminate the problem. One such company is HeliBacon, founded immediately after the practice was legalized a few years ago by a group of firearms enthusiasts who thought it would be an awesome thing to do and wanted to offer the best experience. It’s expensive ($850/hour), but they offer some of the most hog-infested fields and best toys out there to their clients. Unlimited ammo is included in the price of admission, and upgrades are available — such as machine guns (custom lowers with PWS piston-driven uppers). Coming soon: grenade launchers. Yes, grenade launchers. Because not only do they have a helicopter, but they’re an SOT and have an explosives license as well — one of the owners is former British military and the other runs an unexploded ordnance removal company. Told ya they wanted “awesome.”

comments

    1. avatar Mud says:

      When you said machine guns, I was expecting a 240 or something, not an assault rifle. hohum.

  1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    That would be a fun way to assist the farming community.

  2. avatar Evan says:

    WANT NOW

  3. avatar TheBear says:

    God that looks fun… and noble.

    Kill them all. Those things are terrible.

    1. avatar TheBear says:

      Except the site says it’s 850 per hour.

      1. avatar peirsonb says:

        And just think, they’re probably making that twice. I’d imagine they’re getting paid by the land owners for the service, then charging the shooters for the service.

        It’d effectively be the same that a lot of dude ranches employ, where tourists pay the ranch owner for the cowboy experience. The rancher gets his labor to pay HIM.

        And in both cases it’s a business model I love. Cuz. ‘Mericuh.

        1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

          That would depend on how long the excursion lasts. A Robinson R-44 costs ~ $500k, total per hour operating costs (including fuel, hull and liability insurance, maintenance, other fixed costs) are about $225/hour. You have to pay an FAA Rated Commercial Pilot to fly it ~ $50-$75/hour. Add in the cost of ammo, tax stamps, maintenance on the firearms, professional liability insurance, overhead and G&A costs…and well; $850/hour is a pretty good deal. I’d be surprised if they net 5%.

        2. avatar TheBear says:

          I’m not saying it’s a bad price per se – just pointing out the article says 750 and the website says 850.

        3. avatar peirsonb says:

          I didn’t necessarily mean they were making a bundle off of it, just that their likely making money twice off the same job. It’s not a bad gig from that standpoint, even though from your numbers it looks like the margins suck…

        4. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

          I imagine, like most things aviation/firearms related, it is a labor of love 🙂

          Not sure how much the landowner would pay…

        5. avatar Matt in FL says:

          I sorta doubt the ranchers are paying them for it. The only thing they’re probably offering is their permission. That’s how it is with the non-helicopter night vision hunts up in Georgia, I believe. It’s just a quid pro quo. You allow us access to your fields, we’ll help with your hog problem.

        6. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

          Most companies “double dip” — charging the landowner for the service and the shooter for the experience. These guys don’t do that, putting all the cost on the shooter. More expensive, but they get access to more area (higher chance of seeing many hogs) and whenever they want as opposed to waiting for the landowner to OK the expedition.

  4. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    I have the idea for the bachelor party for a fellow SOT now.

  5. avatar Rog Uinta says:

    Where do I sign up?? 🙂

  6. avatar A-Rod says:

    Dirk Diggler and Shannon Watts date night activity?

    1. avatar Denny says:

      But can SHE run fast enough?

    2. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      and here I was offering up a movie and dinner out followed by a nice bottle of champagne and maybe a dip in the jacuzzi. I like how you think. . . . .

  7. avatar Michael Reed says:

    Wow. Those porkers are fast buggers.

    A bit OT, but I recently a TV show that claimed among the many evils Europeans brought to the New World post-Columbus, Native Americans considered the pig among the worst. Apparently they had no defense against them.

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      The same fate repeatedly befalls several subsistence-farming tribes in the eastern region of the Congo. The tribes use slash-and-burn to clear some land for farming. Then the Giant Forest Hog comes in the dark and destroys all their crops, causing the tribes to remain impoverished…and hungry. For anyone in that area that owns a gun and bullets (or a homemade muzzleloader) forest elephants provide a better return per bullet.

      Only cheap guns and artificial light or good night scopes have made wild hog populations at all controllable. I doubt chopper-carried machine-gun hunts are an economically sustainable mode of hog control. I expect to see terrified reports of heli-hunting with select-fire weapons to appear on Huffington Post in 3,2,1……

  8. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Those last two at 4:45. Pop.

    Looks like fun.

  9. avatar Excedrine says:

    I can smell a lot of hog barbeques in the near future. 😉

    Sure, it’s gamey (sometimes very gamey), but boar meat from a healthy animal is gooood eatin’.

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      The Jews and Muslims do not know what they are missing. If someone would just open ‘West Bank BBQ Bar and Grill’ it would solve alot of problems. You cannot throw a rock or fire off an AK when you have BBQ sauce all over your fingers. Memphis Style BBQ in the Sinai could lead to peace. Tasty, tasty peace.

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        While Jewish and Muslim religions prohibit eating, and in some cases coming into contact with “unclean” animals, of which pigs are one of the most commonly cited, I’m not sure there is any prohibition against killing the buggers.

      2. avatar Thinking Man says:

        Take all that swine blood, put it into modified C-130’s & crop spray all suspected terrorist’s, their equipment, their Mosques, & homes. Make as many lethal hog blood spraying C-130’s as we can.
        Make everything they can experience pig blood tainted.

        Then take all the meat being used & keep giving our fighting troops BBQ dinners that make their tounges slap their forheads.

    2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      That’s the trick, is getting a healthy animal. These are very unhealthy animals, highly susceptible to infections. Butcher shops typically won’t accept them because it’s too much extra work and risk to avoid infection yourself and contamination of their shop.

      You can butcher them yourself, but now you’re taking on the risk and work. Whatever you do, just make sure you know what you’re doing and take the appropriate precautions. About the worst that could happen are flu-like symptoms, but depending on one’s overall health, flu-like symptoms could be serious. The same countermeasures as with other meat should suffice, but the consequences of taking shortcuts could be worse.

  10. avatar Michael B. says:

    They’re gonna let people blow hogs up with 40mm grenades?

    My god. I must do this before I die.

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      My thoughts exactly.

      I’ve built up a nice healthy savings account. I really REALLY shouldn’t do it but…god damn that sounds like fun.

      1. avatar Anon in CT says:

        Seems like a pretty good use of the that money I saved up for a Tavor, that now I can’t buy.

    2. avatar DJ says:

      They need a Mk 19!

      1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

        They’ll need a much bigger helicopter for that.

    3. avatar Kris says:

      Kidney’s going on craigslist as we speak.

  11. avatar IdahoPete says:

    So why aren’t they using Surefire 60 or 100-round mags on those MGs? Get with it, guys!

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Because those mags suck, that’s why.

      1. avatar IdahoPete says:

        They seem to work OK for me. What brand/bullet weights are you feeding through them? I have been using the 60-rounder with Fiocchi 69gr 5.56mm, and haven’t had a problem.

        1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

          55gr Federal and Remmy FMJ, maybe I got a lemon, but I was unimpressed.

  12. avatar Lt Dave says:

    Imagine, getting on a helicopter ….. at an airport ….. with machine guns ……. and flying over inhabited urban areas.

    Screw TSA. What country was this filmed in?

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      It was filmed outside the United States, in Texas.

  13. avatar Jim Jones says:

    Hey Nick, what is that brass deflector attachment behind the EOTech? I could use one of those around our private range. Seems less cumbersome that those brass catcher nets.

  14. avatar Larry says:

    Semi auto fire from a helicopter??? Why not just use napalm?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Napalm leaves an unpleasant gasoline flavor on the meat. And it also burns up the entire forest.

  15. avatar LongBeach says:

    I want ever so badly to be in that zone of danger.

  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Morning wood…
    Way cool.

  17. avatar NJDevils72 says:

    PETA is going to come after you so hard now!

    Ok, so screw PETA, but serious question: are the carcasses collected for any use or are they just left out there in the woods?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      PETA carcasses or the pigs? Pigs have value as food. PETA members, pretty much no value.

      1. avatar IdahoPete says:

        Actually, PETA members can have some slight value for carrion eaters like crows, and maybe some minor value as fertilizer when they rot. Otherwise, they do tend to be a waste of air.

        1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

          I think a Peta member would be way too happy about being eaten by crows.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Don’t forget the coyotes.

        1. avatar IdahoPete says:

          I believe coyotes have more discerning palates than to eat a PETA member.

    2. avatar rob williams says:

      i live next to state owned property and they just kill them and let them rot. they claim you could get sick off the meat and sue them if they let people have the meat. i feed them corn and cookies just to piss off the park rangers.

    3. avatar Taylor Tx says:

      @NJDevils Most of the time theyre left out in the woods during heli hunts, unless someone is on the ground nearby to pickup the meat. This activity is not for harvesting meat, but quelling the population. Most of the time when shooting a pig, like most animals,try to skin grizz asap to keep the meat as fresh as possible.

  18. avatar Paelorian says:

    As fun as it would be to launch a grenade into the middle of a running crowd of pest hogs, I’d probably break up the fun by insisting that the helicopter land after every engagement so that we could fill the hold with pigs. And then we’d probably have to end early once we were full. I’m just bothered to see the meat of those tender young porkers go to waste. Not that there’s anything wrong with it in this depredation context, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t taking food out of anyone’s mouth.

    1. avatar Kyle in CT says:

      My understanding is that they are pretty awful for eating, and chock-full of parasites to boot. That’s not personal experience though, so I would be interested in hearing it from someone with firsthand experience.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        The small ones, the young ones, the yearlings, etc. are all good to eat. The bigger and older they get, the less you’d want to.

        1. avatar Kyle in CT says:

          So would it be reasonable to fund a meat donation scheme for younger pigs similar to what we have for deer in CT?

        2. avatar Matt in FL says:

          I think they do something like that when they’re shooting from the ground, although there may be a lot of organizations that would take deer that might not take pig. If it’s feasible, sure. In this case, shooting from a helicopter, it’s simply not feasible due to reasons of both payload and ground clearance to land.

      2. avatar PeterC says:

        I hunted feral hogs in CA several years ago. They are pork like it used to be, tender and juicy, with plenty of white fat. They are what today’s supermarket “other white meat” is not.

  19. avatar jwm says:

    TTAG annual event. We pay the fees to hire 5 choppers. Formate over the gulf and come in low and fast while playing “Flight of the Valkyries” on loud speakers.

    1. avatar Steve in MD says:

      Aporkalypse Now?

      1. avatar Dm says:

        I lol’ed.

    2. avatar LongBeach says:

      I am so down for that. Even more down if I get to use the grenade launcher.

    3. avatar peirsonb says:

      Now THAT I would pay $850/hr for….but we’d have to convince them to upgrade to a UH-1 with an M60 hanging out the door….

  20. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    I realize that they are a non-native species, and that they are a nuisance to put it mildly, but I still have an issue with a “yee-haw” attitude to killing these animals. Especially from a helicopter platform, then adding in machine guns, what’s the likelihood that you AREN’T just going to wing numerous animals and have them suffer lengthy, drawn-out deaths? Just doesn’t seem terribly ethical to me, particularly when there are so many hunters that will forego filling their deer tags for the season rather than take an iffy shot. Don’t get me wrong, helicopter transport makes a lot of sense to get from A to B, but are there really not enough regular shooters down there to take care of this problem without shooting from a helicopter?

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Wild pigs != deer. They are rats. Rats and mice are routinely poisoned, trapped, crushed, etc., none of which are particularly fast or human deaths, and nobody really cares. These are no different.

      As far as the regular shooters question, it depends on the venue. In Georgia, where they’re rooting up peanut fields, “regular shooters” are the definitely the way to go. In Texas, when you’re dealing with huge, wild, noncultivated acreage and moderately heavy brush cover, very few people are going to want to make the trek that far out.

      1. avatar Kyle in CT says:

        I don’t think the fact that nobody cares is really a decent justification. People don’t care about a lot of things that they probably should. Like the fact that we euthanize millions of pet animals a year because people are irresponsible owners. Or that the richest country in the world still has people going into emergency rooms with trench foot because they can’t afford shoes.

        Back on topic, I suppose the methodology can be defended, even if I’m not terribly thrilled about it. Then again I don’t have to be. But I still would have serious concerns about someone whose idea of entertainment is to go hose down living creatures with a machine gun. Isn’t that exactly the kind of behavior kids get sent to the psychiatrist for?

        1. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

          Maybe you’d feel differently about it if one of your prized quarter horses broke a leg and had to be put down because of a feral hog. Or maybe if one of your dogs was gutted by one.We had a dog that I was very fond of killed by one of these pests on my parent’s ranch a few years ago. No mercy from me, those things are a menace. Normally I find pigs to be cute, cuddly and intelligent animals. These feral hogs are not cute, cuddly animals. Kill them with flame throwers for all I care. I hate them.

          On another note, I’m a big supporter of the No Kill movement for animal shelters. My family rescues and fosters shelter dogs whenever we can.

        2. avatar Matt in FL says:

          It has much less to do with “living creatures” than it does with moving targets. See, that’s the part where we differ. You talk about the joy of shooting living creatures as if this was about reveling in the bloodsport. But it’s not. Doing this is about the fun of shooting out of a helicopter. Now, that would be cool by itself on static targets. And some sort of pop-up or automated moving target would be even better. This is the ultimate evolution of that line of thought, because they move (or don’t) randomly. Yes, by literal definition they are living things. But in reality, they are vermin to be exterminated, which relegates them to the status of just “things,” and I have no more feeling about a pig falling down than I do a steel target.

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        I agree with Matt. Although macabre to an extent, this is eradication and not hunting. This isn’t about fair chase. Its a matter of eliminating an overpopulated species that can destroy property, damage crops, and spread disease.

        I’ve eradicated pigeons from barns for the same reason. I was armed with a lever action BB gun passed down from my grandfather, so it wasn’t nearly as much fun as this.

        Seriously, who wouldn’t want to shoot full auto or burst from a helicopter?

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          This is exactly what I would point out to people who saw me grinning from ear to ear when I’d make a long shot on a ground squirrel in a hay field. This isn’t about sport. This is about battle for economic survival.

          People who would get really pissy about seeing me vaporize squirrel flesh with a .17HMR would get the other solution demonstrated to them. I’d take the acreage closest to the road and I’d treat that area with Fumatoxin tablets. I could flag the burrows during the day and in one 90-minute period before sundown, get almost all the squirrels dead in their holes.

          As I pointed out to these squeamish people: When I used poison gas, they have almost zero chance, and the death is neither fast or easy. If I’m shooting them, they have at least some chance to survive, and their death was instant.

          When farmers get tired of getting overrun with animals, they cease shooting and they start using poison. Since there is no porcine poison that has a valid EPA label, and in this administration there likely will be none, I’d wager that frustrated farmers start doing things like leaving old hubcaps full of antifreeze out in the brush…

        2. avatar Kyle in CT says:

          @Dysp

          Given the option, I’d much rather the firearm solution. That includes doing it myself. The long-term costs associated with a bullet are essentially non-existent. For most of these chemicals we haven’t the foggiest idea what their longer term implications are, and that should scare anyone more than ballistic pest eradication.

    2. avatar Michael B. says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzVFugFcUto

      That’s how I feel about those feral oinkers.

    3. avatar Taylor Tx says:

      In most cases, it is no different than shooting a coyote/fox that is breaking into a chicken coop or a predator attacking a herd of livestock. IF these people are farmers and depend on that income, this is their well being getting eaten by the pigs. I wish I could find someone to let me hunt regularly on their land for population control, man oh man 🙂 This sort of paid hunt thing has become VERY commonplace in the past 5-10 years, choppers are just the next step in the evolution I suppose.

      Humans have a long way to go to respecting the life of other beings, as you pointed out.

    4. avatar ropingdown says:

      It is difficult to parse the ethics of heli-hunting. My research in the subject enables me to assert with some confidence that heli-hunting is only considered ethical by US legal authorities on a foreign adventure-travel basis, and only for hunting humans. This requires a declaration of a season and limits, so the season is usually declared open, and the limit as no-limit. A briefer format simply states “there is a global war on X.” Therefore the declaration of a Global War on Feral Hogs should probably issue from Washington, if this activity is to be considered ethical, perhaps even eligible for a refundable tax credit or direct subsidy.

      1. avatar Michael B. says:

        There are a few different kinds of hunting. Trophy hunting, eradication hunting, and harvesting (includes subsistence hunting).

        If the goal is eradication of an invasive destructive species it is not immoral or unethical to destroy these animals in whatever efficient way you see fit provided it complies with the law.

        The state and people have a joint interest in seeing as many of these ecosystem-destroying nuisances wiped out as possible.

      2. avatar ropingdown says:

        Michael, I was trying for ‘sardonic,’ as a reaction to the Connecticut view. If we consider political-purpose eradication of humans by chopper-borne machine gun within the pale, then taking out destructive disease-bearing wild pigs select-fire is clearly fine. Expensive, sure. But fine.

        I note that every year a few humans are eaten by hogs of the farmed variety. Apparently it is most often elderly farmers feeding their hogs, but slipping or feinting into the pen.

    5. avatar Matt says:

      @Kyle

      I was also contemplating the ethics of exploding pigs partially and/or completely with a grenade(s). A machine gun however, I see as no different than any other firearm; a crap shot is a crap shot and has the same consequences no matter the rate of fire. Having your body mangled by shrapnel is another matter entirely.

      Perhaps it’s because we are both from CT… oh god does that mean some of the stereotypes are true?!??!?!!?

      1. avatar Kyle in CT says:

        I prefer to think of myself as just visiting. It’s less painful that way.

        1. avatar Matt says:

          Hahaha! I may be on the short list soon for the consideration as well!

    6. avatar Kyle in CT says:

      Hearing the responses, I suppose I can see the argument for it. In response to Jared, having played Grim Reaper to many a porcupine that perforated my dog, I can certainly understand that perspective. In a sense it boils down to a “family first” kind of view, in that you take care of your own before worrying too much about the pigs. From another perspective, the damage has been done with respect to overpopulation of feral pigs and their accompanying havoc. Ideally it never would have been a problem, but it is now, and you have to be realistic about how you can solve it with the resources you have available.

      1. avatar Jared-Tampa says:

        Word. I’m realistic about solving the problem on our property, with the resources available to us; we shoot them. A helicopter would be nice though…maybe an old TH-55 🙂

  21. avatar Clem says:

    I’d have insisted on using a Saiga with buckshot

  22. avatar bigred2989 says:

    Looking at all that dry brush I don’t see them ever getting approval for grenades. Might end up with too much collateral damage.

  23. avatar Anonymous says:

    Hogs have become a destructive force down south. They breed at astounding rates. Their gestational period is 3.8 months. After a litter, the young can breed in as little as 6 months. That means one hog can have a litter of 8 – 12 piglets. in as little as 10 months each of those hogs will have 8-12 of their own .. in less than one year. That’s like 150 hogs a year… just from one hog. Amazing. They are consuming everything in sight down south.

    1. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

      Exactly.

  24. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    “How can you shoot sows and sucklings?”

    “It’s easy; you just don’t lead them as much!”

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      I am compelled to protest that remark, Chris. In the film it was nothing but a cheap slur demonizing soldiers who served as chopper gunners/CE’s. I’ve heard it a hundred times in my subsequent life. I never ran into that kind of behavior in RVN.

  25. avatar Whiskey Bravo says:

    Hey Nick, what is that brass deflector attachment behind the EOTech? I could use one of those around our private range. Seems less cumbersome that those brass catcher nets.

    1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

      From what I can tell from googling it may very well be the top plate from a brass catcher net with net removed. The closest thing I can find is one that is similar made from an argentinian, rail mount brass catcher for an FAL. They removed the canvas bag and ended up with something very similar to what’s in that video.

      1. avatar Chris Britt says:

        Hi Chris from Helibacon here. The brass deflectors are this item:
        http://www.midwayusa.com/product/130214/tc-accessories-brass-deflector-fits-picatinny-rail-steel-matte?cm_vc=ProductFinding
        We can’t have hot brass coming back at the pilot. The bras catchers get pushed down by the rotorwash and cause all kinds of malfunctions. The deflectors bounce the brass just a couple of feet towards the shooter’s 1 o’clock position and it works perfectly for our application.

        1. avatar Whiskey Bravo says:

          Howdy Chris, That is the kind of info we need. Thank you.

  26. avatar R T says:

    We are overrun by them at our deer lease, and have been trying to keep them in check with little positive results. We’ve been trapping them, but they wise up to the traps very fast, and shooting them at night in heavy brush is almost impossible. Heli-hunting looks like it works very well.

    1. avatar Marine 03 says:

      Animal intelligence in order – #1) Chimpanzee. #2) Elephants. #3) Dolphins. #4) Pigs

      They are hard to trap and harder to keep in the trap once trapped.

  27. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

    Kill ’em all and let Bob Evans sort ’em out.

    1. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

      Kill ’em all and let Bob Evans sort ’em out. Napalm next?

  28. avatar jimmyjames says:

    Think I would rather do the Texas hunt. More wide open. Damn that shooting thru the trees stuff. Rock-n-roll? Hell yes mam. Just FYI…the wild hog I shot a few years back and tried to eat got thrown away. The dogs wouldn’t even eat it. Nasty.

  29. avatar Esemwy says:

    I love the smell of bacon in the morning…. Smells like victory… er… breakfast!!!

  30. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Of course, we could always ask the USAF to test drop laser guided JDAM’s in texas rather than out in Utah . . . .

  31. avatar Marine 03 says:

    “If they run, they’re a hog! If they stand still they’re a well disciplined hog!” – a little Full Metal Jacket fun from a former Marine Corps grunt.

  32. avatar Marine 03 says:

    “I done got me 87 confirmed kills. That’s no shit either!”

    “Do you ever shoot sows or piglets?”

    “Sometimes.”

    “How can you shoot piglets?”

    “Easy. You just don’t lead’em as much!”

    (more Full Metal Jacket fun)

  33. avatar JIMBO says:

    To the guy with the 5% margin comment……guys in Texas are buying Robinsons to keep up with the demand for the hunts….Im sure you can pay one off PDQ if your doing the flying. Most guys charge more than you are positing …$1200 per gunner slot one hour at a time on the 4 seater. $2400/hr gross 2-3 groups per day. Trailer the Robinson to the place to reduce flight times.
    It is a lucrative business if you can find the guys with the wallets.

  34. avatar Jesse Kent says:

    I truly appreciate this article.Much thanks again.

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