As soon as I posted the video of my weekend excursion with HeliBacon, the comments flowed in fast and furious. “Disgusting” one said. “Your a f***ing pussy. Hunt like a real man,” commented another. Another individual stated that my actions have angered an alien race which he worships and that they will similarly hunt me from spaceships with lasers for my crimes. While some of this is the standard response from those who disagree with hunting in any form, the addition of a helicopter and machine guns seemed to tip the scales for some people. So while I have some time, I figured it would be worthwhile to discuss the ethics of hogs, helos, and hunting . . .

The main premise of modern hunting is conservation. When we as a species moved from a hunter-gatherer based subsistence to an agricultural arrangement, we voluntarily took ourselves out of the food chain for the most part. Instead of searching for animals to eat every day, we raised our food apart from the normal cycle of life in the wilderness. Animal populations that had previously been prime sources of food for us humans were ignored, left to their own devices with almost no natural predators to keep their numbers in check. The same mechanisms that allowed them to survive the insatiable appetite of humans — namely their quick and plentiful reproductive cycle — meant that the local populations were suddenly above the carrying capacity of the land.

That’s the standard argument for hunting: that by having humans once again take their place at the top of the food chain we can keep the animal population in check and give the remaining animals a better life. It’s an argument that only the fringe animal rights groups resist, and is even embraced by that bastion of gun control activism, The New York Times. And when it comes to hogs, things become even clearer.

The hog population in the gulf coast states has exploded in recent years. The animals are estimated to cause about $800 million in damage every year, which is especially detrimental to farmers and their crops. Looking down from the helicopter you can see the damage as clear as day, with hog-infested fields looking like they’ve been hit by mortar fire. Especially with the current economic woes, one bad night of hog problems could be enough to run a profitable farm into bankruptcy.

But the problem posed by feral hogs in Texas doesn’t stop with financial damage — they also cause physical bodily harm as well. As I have settled into my new home here in Texas, I’ve been spending more and more time at Tyler Kee’s ranch, visiting with his family and hanging out with his horses. While their county isn’t as badly infested with hogs as others in the Lone Star State, the animals have nevertheless been the cause of many injuries to the livestock as well as the family.

Tyler’s mom was out riding around her ranch one day a couple months back when a feral hog viciously attacked her horse and knocked her out of the saddle. She broke a few bones in the process. She’s recovering fine now, but that might not be the case next time. I’ve heard variations of the same story from countless others, detailing the negative impact on man and beast alike from these unwanted critters.

States all along the Gulf of Mexico have similarly identified the financial and physical threat to the inhabitants of their states, and taken steps to not only allow but encourage the removal of these animals. There are certain counties in Texas that have even taken to offering a bounty to hunters, offering cash in exchange for feral hog tails. Added to that government-sponsored culling of the feral hog problem is a booming industry in Texas where landowners will pay specialized companies to come onto their land and eradicate as many of these dangerous and harmful animals as possible, an industry that has spawned the A&E reality TV show American Hoggers.

So the situation in Texas is that hogs are dangerous animals that are threatening to put farmers and ranchers out of business. Not only do the state and local governments encourage the widespread eradication of these animals but the people that live in the areas want them gone as well. Add to that the quick and productive reproduction of hogs — with multiple piglets per litter and multiple litters per year — and the problem balloons to the point where normal methods of population control simply are no longer effective.

To me, all of that makes sense. An exploding population needs to be controlled, and there’s a demand to eradicate as many of these destructive animals as possible. Once you get to that point, the manner in which you eliminate the problem no longer matters (it doesn’t need to be “sporting”) so long as the animals are killed as humanely as possible. In this case they were, since the helicopter pilot kept track of where the shot hogs fell and doubled back every time to make sure we ended their suffering as quickly and efficiently as possible. I can personally guarantee that these hogs suffered less than anything you’d see on the Outdoor Channel.

I think the guys at Jager Pro (from Tyler’s night vision enhanced hog hunt) summed it up best: “A hog is not a game animal. It is a pest and no different than a rat, termite or cockroach. Jager Pro is performing a hog control service and not hunting for sport. Our guest hunters are expected to kill every hog we see; even the juveniles. For example, if you have a termite infestation in your house, you want a pest control agent to kill all pregnant termites and baby termites before they destroy your biggest investment; your home. Georgia farmers expect us to kill every hog in his field before they destroy his biggest investment; his crops.”

So let’s break down this weekend’s experience and try to figure out what specifically rustled people’s jimmies.

Helicopters

There are two main reasons why conventional hog hunting is considered dismally inefficient: Texas is huge, and hogs move around. Feral hogs don’t have a set area where they live, instead they move around constantly following the food. A moving pack of animals is extremely hard to track down in the vast expanses of Texas ranch land unless you have some way to cover a large area in a short period of time. There are only two viable ways to make that happen: drones and helicopters.

Helicopters offer the ability to not only survey entire ranches looking for the animals, but provide a means to immediately act on that information. If you’re using a drone you would need to spend time and effort navigating yourself towards the target, and possibly losing track of where the hogs went. The helicopter allows for the efficient identification and elimination of these destructive animals.

The way I see it, the reaction some people have to helicopter hog depredation is the same reaction certain people have to AR-15 rifles and 30 round magazines. “OMG! That’s an assault clip and a machine gun! No one needs those!” Except we do — it’s the best tool for accomplishing a job that the local government and the local population not only agree needs to be done, but pays good money for people to do it.

Machine Guns

I get the feeling that the reaction some people have to the use of machine guns is just an extension of the “no one needs an AR-15 to hunt” claim. And every time someone tries to make that statement, I whip out a picture of my 300 BLK hunting rifle. I’m one of those guys that like to build a “perfect” firearm for each application, whether it be hunting or competition shooting or just long range steel, and I’m at a complete loss for alternatives to the AR-15 platform when it comes to hunting in the hill country of Texas. But when it comes to helicopters, machine guns are the way to go.

I’ve been up in a helicopter shooting things before, and using a semi-auto AR-15 is okay. It works, but it’s not the ideal tool for the job. You have an extremely small time frame in which to hit your target before it runs off, possibly only wounded, and taking the time to reset the trigger and prep for another shot soaks up a lot of that time. With a machine gun, you can walk your shots in and make sure that you bring the animal down instead of letting it run off and suffer.

In my opinion, machine guns are the most humane solution when shooting from a helicopter.

The Overall Experience

“So does machine gunning animals from a safe seat in the sky make you feel like a real man?” That was one of the comments I got back, and was indicative of the opinion that many people had: that because I was doing this, I was obviously a bloodthirsty sociopath who enjoyed shooting animals. And while it would be easy to drape myself in the cloak of journalism and say I was doing it as an experience to report back on, the reality is that I didn’t see the hogs as animals — they were just targets.

Before stepping foot in the helicopter, I had already squared my own ethics with the practice. They were animals that the land owners were paying to get rid of, they’d be killed one way or another, and to me the day was nothing more than a marksmanship challenge. It wasn’t about killing animals; it was about hitting targets. And I wasn’t happy that I was ending lives, I was happy that I was succeeding at the most challenging test of my skills that I had ever experienced. Hitting a moving target while seated in a moving object where the motions of both are outside my control, was a pretty intense experience, and stretched my skills to their limits. That’s what I was most excited about. And while I’m sure the experience could be replicated using moving steel targets of some sort, the fact that I was helping eliminate a common and dangerous pest satisfied my own moral compass.

At the end of the day, I did feel a slight twinge of remorse once back on the ground — I’d have my doubts about the mental stability of anyone who didn’t. But aerial hog depredation is something that is common in Texas these days and in demand among land owners, and I was happy to think that I might have saved someone else’s loved one a trip to the hospital at the hoofs of these animals. It’s a practice that we should definitely re-examine periodically to ensure that we aren’t hunting these animals to extinction, but while the problem is as bad as it is today I personally don’t see an ethical issue with it. Then again, as Dianne Feinstein constantly reminds us, ethics are something that varies from person to person.

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192 Responses to On The Ethics Of Shooting Hogs From Helicopters

  1. Hogs are a dangerous invasive species that need to be removed from the environment by any means necessary. Only a pinhead PETA dumbass would deny it. Meanwhile, PETA killed more non-dangerous animals last year than Nick could kill in a hundred heli-shooting adventures.

    Leave the man alone. He did a good thing.

    • THIS. Hogs are destructive to the local ecology. Plus when you kill them you get bacon, so I fail to see the problem. I bet anyone who is upset by this would be just fine with game wardens going out and sterilizing the entire population so they can’t reproduce (genocide by the way). Why is that different? Because it’s a feel-good solution. And for you folks who don’t like helo-hunts because it’s unsportsmanlike, you’re a FUD; go sit in a tree stand somewhere and give yourself a hug. These are HOGS, which must be completely obliterated from the face of mother Texas and any other state where they are invasive. If you get to have fun doing it, then that’s just a bonus. Furthermore, unless you whiney FUDs are out there hunting hogs with slings, atlatls, or bows you need a hot cup of STFU. You’re already putting the hog at a MASSIVE disadvantage by using a gun so do us all a favor and tone down the hypocrisy, k?

      I’d hunt them with AT-4s and 25 mike mikes if I could.

    • Next time don’t use Go Pro cameras, they use wide angle lenses which are totally inappropriate for those kinds of distances. I couldn’t even see the hogs.

      There are much better heli-hog videos to demonstrate what I’m talking about that don’t use Go Pro (unless you can get one w/out wide angle)

    • Yup. These hogs are the mammal equivalent of cockroaches. To use the buzzwords of the greenie groups, they are a non-native, invasive, highly prolific species which causes extreme habitat degradation. Plus, they eat little bunny rabbits.

      Kill ’em with any means that is effective. Ignore the panty-wetting hissy fits from the opposition.

  2. As soon as I posted the video of my weekend excursion with HeliBacon, the comments flowed in fast and furious. “Disgusting” one said. “Your a f***ing pussy. Hunt like a real man,” commented another. Another individual stated that my actions have angered an alien race which he worships and that they will similarly hunt me from spaceships with lasers for my crimes. While some of this is the standard response from those who disagree with hunting in any form, the addition of a helicopter and machine guns seemed to tip the scales for some people. So while I have some time, I figured it would be worthwhile to discuss the ethics of hogs, helos, and hunting . . .

    I would’ve been satisfied if, right after this intro, you had posted a picture of yourself giving the one finger salute to those trolls.

    Feral pigs are destructive vermin.

    • Destructive yes. Also tasty. Kill a lot and have a neighborhood cookout. Your neighbors will thank you and so will the farmers.

    • Agree 100%
      People who don’t live with these critters have no idea the destruction they cause. Bust em anyway you can. We run em down in a Polaris and blast away.

  3. Hunting hogs from helicopters with machine guns is probably unethical. But that’s not what I saw in the video.

    What I saw in the video wasn’t hunting. It was pest control, plain and simple. We eliminate termites, ants, and mice with extreme prejudice and for the most part they aren’t capable of taking a human life. On top of property damage the overpopulation of feral hogs is a genuine threat to people’s safety.

    Carry on.

    • Correct. They are a major pest problem. How does a rat feel after he’s eaten poison?

      How does a rat or mouse feel when one of those old school traps slam on their hip instead of their neck or head? Happens more than you might think. Not always a clean kill.

      • I still remember the sound a mouse made after one of its legs was trapped in a trap. To end the noise I took another trap & moved it to finish the job & end the suffering.

  4. Good summary.

    It’s best for the environment to reduce their numbers as efficiently as possible, while keeping in mind that they shouldn’t be treated with excessive cruelty, i.e., people shouldn’t go out of their way to torture them. Aerial hunting is ethical, effective control of an invasive species.

  5. Fun fact:

    The National Park Service uses a very similar method to control feral goat populations in Haleakala Nat’l Park on the island of Maui.

    • AND the US Gummint used to use the very same method to control the water buffalo and homo sapiens populations in SEA in the 70s.

      • Except the US gummit could use things with a belt feed and carried a LOT more ammo. I’d want something like a belt-fed .30 cal.

        If they’ve got an old M-60 I’m game.

  6. It should not be viewed the same way as traditional hunting, that is comparing apples to oranges.

    It is pest control, like spraying roaches but with lead and from higher altitude.

  7. I would not call it hunting, but population controll. This method will still never be able to reduce feral hog numders to manageable numbers. Within the next few years hogs will be destroying native flora and fauna in every state in thu union. They are so prolific their numbers will only increase even with mass killings like this. Hog controll is necessary just to slow their population down.

  8. I disagree with only one thing you said:

    “It’s a practice that we should definitely re-examine periodically to ensure that we aren’t hunting these animals to extinction, but while the problem is as bad as it is today I personally don’t see an ethical issue with it.”

    These are an invasive species. We should ABSOLUTELY hunt them to extinction.

    • ABSOLUTELY! And if they are ever completely eradicated, and someone decides he/she wants them back, all they have to do is release a few into the wild and let nature take its course. I watched a program that showed that within weeks, farm raised hogs start to turn feral, growing coarse coats and those big ugly tusks.

    • Exactly.

      When I would invite shooters onto our farm to shoot at ground squirrels, I overheard a couple of them commenting “We can’t shoot all of them. Gotta leave some seed for next year’s shooting.”

      They were not invited back.

      I was not running a shooting amusement part, I was running a farm. There was never any danger of running out of ground squirrels. When I told shooters to kill every squirrel they saw in a certain area of the farm, I wasn’t kidding.

      Here’s what most people don’t realize about farming and farmers: I never worried about making stuff grow. Mom Nature does a good job making sure stuff grows.

      My job was to kill things. Kill bugs, kill weeds, kill gophers, squirrels and voles, kill insects. That’s what I did about 60% of the time on the farm: Kill stuff. Another 30% of the time was spent seeding and harvesting, and 10% on bending wrenches. Most of my days were spent killing stuff: Spraying weeds, poisoning gophers and squirrels, spraying for insects, mites and other pests.

      I considered any day where I didn’t kill something to be a day where I was getting behind.

    • I agree. Extinction. That would be like saying: “We need to periodically examine the use of vaccines to make sure smallpox isn’t at risk of extinction.”

    • As long as there’s a Mexico you’ll NEVER hunt them to extinction. And as long as the wool-heads in the SPCA and PETA are around, making them extinct doesn’t stand a chance. [See wolf eradication fiasco.] Just keep banging away, And enjoy the cook-outs.

      But DON’T do a world class STUPID like the 1D10Ts in the video by bragging all over the internet. You’ll poison your cause and get every grandmother in tennis shoes to rally against the practice. We don’t need any more politicized conservation.

  9. I’d refer to it as pest control more than hunting because there sure isn’t a lot of sport to it. but feral hogs are pest. They’re not native and they’re incredibly destructive. I care about being human in killing them but I don’t give a damn about fair chase when controlling them.

  10. Good job revisiting the issue. After having a discussion with a few others in the comments below the original article, I conceded that given the realities of the situation it is the solution that makes the most overall sense. Not something I personally want to do, but something that needs to be done nonetheless.

    “At the end of the day, I did feel a slight twinge of remorse once back on the ground — I’d have my doubts about the mental stability of anyone who didn’t. ”

    I think that is the concern amongst most people when you really dig down. It is the motivation, rather than the actual act, that is concerning.

      • A actual assault rifle. If it is belt fed its a machine gun. Would you call a fully auto Glock 18 a machine gun. Lets just stop labeling all full auto guns Machine Guns just cause they fall under the ATF term for them.

        • I would call a GLOCK 18 a machine pistol. The terms are synonymous for all intents and purposes. Whether someone is a customer, a manufacturer, a blogger, or an agent of the government, if it puts out more than one round per trigger pull, quite literally everyone is going to call it a machine gun.

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, but machine guns are Terminators and Robo Cops, right? Not select fire fully automatic capable assault rifle 30 clip magazine fed machine guns.

  11. I do have a critique: You should have had a belt-fed MG. The ammo should be subsidized by the agriculture industry. I suppose tracers are a problem given the dry weather, but they certainly would help. It was obviously difficult, challenging, to hit the hogs with bursts of magazine-fed fire.

    I’m surprised Texans don’t organize more driven hunts flushing the hogs from the forest to more open ground.

    • Along a similar vein, I have heard quite a bit about increased success hunting wild boar with dogs. Since the southern states have huge problems with stray dogs too, particularly bully breeds, could you do something along the lines of funding training programs for rescued catch- and bay-dogs that would otherwise be euthanized? Seems like it could be a win-win.

    • Dept of Ag (and the Postal Service) in recent days were reported to be joining the “Fed buying Millions of Rounds Club”. I’m pretty sure this is as they intend to issue 7.62 and 5.56 belted to the POG for purpose of aerial gunnery. Pretty sure but not positive.

      Are these hogs BUFF of the Arkansas Razerback variety or are they decendents of escaped Hampshires/Berekshires etc (or mix of the two)?

      • Domestic pigs were brought here in the 1500s by DeSoto. The original wild Russian/EurAsian boar were brought here and turned loose very deliberately in the early 1900s so that people could have them to hunt. (Brilliant idea!) The escaped domestic hogs and the wild boars found each each and to reference a popular 70’s t-shirt – they started makin’ bacon.

  12. Napalm, machine guns, whatever it takes, they are an invasive species.

    However I’d be interested in some kill statistics. Maybe you were killing massive numbers, but the whole thing just appeared to be horribly inefficient.

    • Have to agree with one point – the quality of the video made it very difficult to tell most of the time how many pigs were there and how many were actually shot.

      For $850 an hour, how effective was the hunt as an eradication technique? What was the cost-per-pig?

  13. They’re varmints people! Get real! Dangerous good-for-nothing critters that deserve to be exterminated as the pests they are!
    What!?! Hogs!?!? I thought we were talking about CONGRESS!

  14. Understand pest control. I am of the age where we remember pest control with an M60 in the door of a Huey in SE Asia. May have been fun for you, but it brought back memories I didn’t want

    • JeffM, you’re still alive. That means you did your job well. It was a war. Our job was just this, to be good warriors. We didn’t send ourselves. Our nation’s leadership sent us. I was a gunner and CE based in Dong Ha and later down in Danang. Our politicians failed us. College kids were cool with the draft until the lottery came in and the exemptions went. I suppose they thought the prior class-based draft was fine. When the draft ended so did the major protests. If you go back to Vietnam today, you will find you are treated well.

  15. A sow can start breeding at 9 months of age. She can have 3 litters a year with 4-15 piglets per litter.
    Do the math.
    Folks wouldn’t have a negative opinion if it was their crops or land the hogs were destroying.

    • Indeed.

      Among farm bankers, pigs were known as “Mortgage Busters” for their ability to allow a farmer to pay off the farm and make the banker sad that he had to find someone else to profit off of.

  16. Your history review of the origins of feral pigs is something that I think is important for people to know when they start wanting to criticize these kinds of hunts. I think most people hear feral pig, or wild hog, or wild boar and think they’re the same. While neither are necessarily native to the US, at least I think wild boar were introduced by Europeans, but don’t quote me, feral pigs are definately not a beneficial part of the current ecosystem. They’re also mean sumbitches.

    • Pigs overall were introduced by the Europeans. Hogs and Feral pigs are primarily domestics escaped or released from the old Spanish colonies (at least originally). They had a habit of releasing some on every island they landed on to have a supply of food in case they came back. True Boars were introduced in small numbers by European settlers, colonials, and early Americans to have an Old World hunt. There was a big influx of them on game preserves in the early 1900’s, and a lot of our current boar problem comes from there. Once they got out, they started breeding with the feral pigs that had escaped earlier, and away we go.

  17. Feral hogs in Texas are every bit as invasive as fire ants. There is no closed season or bag limits because they are not game animals. There is no morality in wiping out fire ants. So saying, what is the difference in pouring gasoline on a big fire ant mound and setting it on fire, which we did when I was a kid over 50 years ago and helo-shooting hogs? Feral hogs need to go by any means necessary. It is bad enough when they tear up some beautiful golf course but when they eat fawns and lambs (which I have witnessed on many occasions) they have to go.

    Hogs are very smart and when hunted they “go” nocturnal overnight (pun intended). A good helo shoot , conducted over 1-2 days, that kills 30-40 will clear a ranch for up to a year maybe a little longer. They realize when their compadres are getting wiped out they need to move on. However, that institutional herd memory fades and back they come. A sow can have at least 2 litters a year. If you figure that only half are females and that they begging to breed in 6-9 months, you can be over run again.

    I cannot afford to “helo hunt” (slaughter lay waste to how ever you wish to couch the phrase) but see no problem with it. No live stock tho!!

    • I remember the same thing being said about the Snakeheads when they first appeared in the Patuxent River; that they would spread and eat the fry of all the native fish species and exterminate them. The Snakehead is invasive, voracious, and has no natural enemies except man. A year later they were found in the Potomac, and in the Chesapeake Bay the year after. Hilarity ensued until the various Fish & Wildlife Services found that they had attained equilibrium with the other species. Now there are Snakehead catching contests and area restaurants feature Snakehead on their menu.

      See how it works?

  18. And let us not forget, feral hogs are good eatin’. This is the original pork, nice and tender and fatty, from before dry, tasteless farm-raised pork became “the other white meat.”

  19. I am an avid hunter and think this helicopter hog hunt is disgusting. I agree with the guy who said hunt like a man. You probably spotlight and poach deer too. This is taking the sport out of the sport. The thrill of hunting is putting boots on the ground and enjoying nature not destroying it. You also probably spend the week at a game reserve hunting, where they feed and tame the animals. Then brag about the big hunt. That ain’t hunting by any stretch.

    • What don”t you understand about “not hunting” and “pest eradication”? If I shot a coyote stalking my livestock would that be “hunting”

    • ^ Bobby, you obviously didn’t understand the premise behind this rebuttal. It is population control not sport hunting.

    • You missed the whole point. It’s not about “manhood”. It’s pest control. It’s ecological restoration. It helps the survival of native game and non-game species. I wish they would do it for aoudad control. Some people have on a small scale.

    • You very clearly demonstrated that you didn’t actually read anything written here, or if you did, you really need to work on your reading comprehension, because it didn’t stick.

    • Yep. “bobby” is not a hunter, for any hunter with the slightest experience in the field understands the direct connection between healthy habitat and sustainable game populations, and how when you take away the food and shelter, the game animals die out, especially when you introduce an invasive species.

      Wild pigs out-compete the native species 3 to 1 on scarce food sources, leave water holes fouled, riparian sensitive plants torn out and shredded in fragile wetlands, and earth compacted in upland oak forests, under the canopy where the pigs roto-till the dirt 6′ deep instead of deer nibbling the last fallen and rotting acorns out of the top surface, leaving the deeper rooted seedlings intact.

      Even the newb hunter taking the mandatory hunter safety class in CA gets the explanation. Thats why there is no bag limit, on a year round season, with lowest tag fee of all the big mammals.

      My guess is he is just another prog-libtard troll wannabe, and not a very clever one at that.

  20. Shoot hogs, barbucue, distribute to the poor, repeat.

    Even Obummer could get behind that kind of practice.

    The real question is How did you not reenact that scene from Full Metal Jacket?

    I just replaced the word “feral hogs” with “liberals” and re read it several times with a big grin on my face.

  21. I hunt every year, mainly for White Tail and with a rifle. For years and years I used my 30-30. I used a scope only one year. I preferred the challenge of no scope and where I live shots are usually less than 100 yards.

    With modern technology, guns that are made by computers, and ammunition, even the cheap stuff also made by computers you take a lot of the possible error out of hunting. If you can shoot a rifle even the basics, then hunting is not hard if you have the patience to sit in a tree stand and wait for something to get in front of you. For those that love to shoot and have to large degree mastered shooting a rifle with decent precision its even easier. I can’t remember that last time I missed with a rifle when hunting. I don’t take risky shots so maybe I would miss if I tried to hit something at long range moving or only being able to see a small portion of the animal.

    My point hunting with a modern rifle, even a 30-30 its not difficult. Is it even hunting anymore?? I think “real” hunting starts with a bow. Where you must be much closer and have more skill. Even bow hunting has a ton of technology thrown into to it, but it is much harder than using a rifle.

    So hunting with a fully automatic weapon from a helicopter is a joke. Please don’t call it hunting. I suggest you just call in a napalm strike, it will cook the pig as well as “hunt it” for you.

    • If there were just a few of these critters and your intention was to spend a day or a weekend hoping to find and shoot one or two, or even holding fire looking for that trophy “Hogzilla!” then you might have a point, but this is NOT a sport. These are not game animals or trophy animals and it is not some test of man against nature. This is pure and simple an infestation of an invasive species that needs to be eradicated in the most ruthless and efficient manner possible, and with U.S. populations reaching about 4 million feral pigs a bunch of FUDDs getting their boots dirty tramping around Texas or Florida hoping to pop one or two pigs ain’t gonna get the job done.

      I’m not sure I’m good enough to hit anything from a helicopter, but given the finances and opportunity I would sure like to take a crack at them from the ground, and I can guarantee that “sport” would not be in any part of my considerations. Challenge, perhaps, sport, no way.

    • You hunt with a .30-30? Real men hunt with a spear. Naked. And drunk. You, sir, are a pussy.

      My seconds will call upon you in the morning.

      • Naked, drunk and with a spear? I was told that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But apparently that was a lie. Who do I sue?

        And I get my first hunting license this weekend. First in 40 years. In CA pigs are open year round. But you need a tag.

  22. “To me, all of that makes sense. An exploding population needs to be controlled, and there’s a demand to eradicate as many of these animals as possible.”

    let me start by stating that I’m not a murderer.. but if this statement applied to humans, which are far more detrimental to ALL environments, maybe the quality of life for all living things would be much better. I’m sorry to offend, but I just can’t understand the Christian mentality of human life being more precious than any. nor can I understand the thought of humans being supreme beings amongst “animals”. humans are more beastly than any animal to walk on all fours. I have nothing against Christianity as long as the followers are Christ-like and nothing against hunting as long as the food is consumed. just some healthy food for thought..

    • Invasive species like hogs destroy native wildlife, and interfere with human food production. I’m not really interested, personally, in what the Bible says about it, although i respect your point of view. I approach it from the point of view of the wildlife management courses I took in college, and the needs of the landowners, public and private, to protect the natural resource, for human use, and for its own sake.

    • I am not a Christian, either, and neither was Yahweh or Adam or Eve, so far as can be discerned, however, in Genesis 1:26 – 28

      26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image…he will be master over all life – the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals and small animals
      27 So God created man in his own image; God patterned him after himself; male and female he created them.
      28 God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals.”

      Seems unambiguous, taken at face value.

      • again, not meant to offend, but without knowing those are bible quotes, I could just as easily assume those are quotes from genghis knan or adolf hitler, or anyone else viewing themselves as superior with a thirst for control and world domination.

        let’s be honest here.. no one is genuinely interested in wildlife control by means of preserving farm land and all that. helos are fuckin sweet. guns are fuckin sweet. shooting at moving targets are what? ..you guessed it. fuckin sweet. is it so difficult to just be open and admit that you might take pleasure in it despite the controversy? without insisting it’s to preserve farmland and control the population? that’s on par with the excuse that gun control is “for the children”.

      • You beat me to it, Cliff. My Dad often repeated those verses to me, and explained that we were not being told to conquer the animal kingdom, but to be responsible stewards. To use them to feed and clothe us, but to also protect and care for them when necessary.

        The U.S. is full of invasive, non-native species. In fact, the trout most people equate with fishing, the rainbow, is a transplant from Europe, as are brown and brook trout. Ring neck pheasants, horses, and many other animals are not native. But they don’t cause problems, so we enjoy them, and pursue many of them as game animals.

        On the other hand, we have expanded into previously wild areas and displaced large populations of native species like elk, deer and coyotes. And wiped out the primary apex predator in North America, the wolf. Therefore, we have a God-given DUTY to take the place of the wolf and manage the populations through hunting. And since feral hogs are essentially the result of a human screw-up, we are duty-bound to do whatever we can to at least keep the population in check. So I have no problem with any effective method of population control. This is not like the horrible, disgusting eradication of the bison. Or even the wolf, much as I am opposed to reintroducing them to Colorado. But that’s a debate for another time.

        And for the record, shooting hogs with a machine gun looks like a helluva lot of fun. Almost as much fun as hiking way back into the LaGarita Wilderness to outsmart a big bull elk. Or laying behind an AR and 500 rounds, overlooking a field of prairie dogs, another destructive, costly and rapidly breeding pest.

    • I disagree. We are the only species that has codified into law the ‘wrongness’ of murdering others. We’re the only species that has laws. Dolphins rape, horses kick to death foals sired by another, lions kill the offspring of their rivals. If a new human husband and stepfather did that he would not remain the patriarch of that household. The good or inspiring behavior exhibited by animals is frequently exhibited by domesticated animals, which means they learned it from people.

      We’re no angels, don’t get me wrong, but the point of view you have expressed seems to ignore the absolute savagery of wild animals. As far as over exploitation of the environment, we are the only species that has the ability to even notice that we have done so, let alone the only species who has modified their behavior to manage resources better. We are the only species that can generate forces internal to our members to prevent us from doing what these feral hogs are doing.

      We are also the only species biologically geared towards eating meat who’s members have asked themselves if they can sustain themselves without it.

      In other words, despite all of our failings and immorality, we are the only species on the planet with any morality whatsoever.

      • Exactly.

        For the majority of species out there, life is just as Hobbes said it is: “Nasty, brutish and short.”

      • well I agree on key points of what you said, yet we aren’t exactly managing resources better. we act just like the hogs. ultimately we take what we want to get ahead. and like you said, we’re no angels, yet humans have the capacity to be just as savage as wild animals. and animals have the capacity to love, regret, organize rule, amongst other human characteristics. I’ll chose to keep my life over any animal or human that threatens it. however I do not feel as though I’m superior to anyone or anything.

  23. Who cares what the think Nick. I live in Texas and battle hogs on my farm. People who don’t deal with them will never understand. Kill em all

  24. You know, in all this excitement and shell cases flying about, I can’t remember if I fired 600 shots, or 700 shots!

    • Check your credit card statements, Gunr. The cost of replacing them rounds is gonna show up in BOLD. 😉

      By the way, there is apparently a substantial feral pig population in central Oregon as well.

  25. I think you handled the issue very well. Thanks for the feedback on what others were thinking of your pest control first article.

  26. So its the SIZE of the pest that bothers these idiots? No one objects to killing rats, mice, ants, termites etc. because they are a “potential disease carrier” or some such argument. These same people would be the first to call an exterminator if their house got invaded by mice or termites. It’s a proven dangerous pest, eliminate it as you would any other.

    • I don’t know how to break this to you gently: A feral hog is roughly as intelligent as the average low-information voter.

    • A lot of the people who had hangups with stuff like this in my political science class that addressed environmental policy were thinking of all deer as Bambi and all things pig as Babe, so anything that involved killing them was eeeeeeeeeeevil. Most had never seen a pig in the wild or on a farm and didn’t believe me when I said even a domestic can rip you to shreds if it has a mind to.

  27. Most of the vicious commenters don’t even know that the government already uses helicopter hunting to control certain animal populations; if they did know, they would most likely not have a problem with it because it’s “the government doing it”. You explained things excellently, and most of the TTAG readers have a greater understanding when it comes to hunting than the antis do. Hell, PETA kills probably just as many shelter animals, if not more, than are hunted every year but they decry hunting as inhumane.

  28. I agree that the hog population needs to be dealt with, and shooting out of a heli….I’m always up for that.
    Now, as far as justifying it by calling it hunting….I am not comfortable with that.keeping in mind that I have never hog hunted, I feel that when you hunt, there should be a ” sportsman” like quality about it. Hunters do not have quite the bad press as ” gun nuts”, but getting a heli and a semi or full auto and calling it hunting doesn’t help
    I do respect others opinions and I do believe hogs are a problem that needs addressing. I just don’t know if I’d call it hunting

    • I agree, and I’m regretting titling the video that way. But that’s the common terminology, and the word people use when they Google for this kind of thing. So it’s more about making the video easier to find than making the title accurate, to be honest. I did put a note in the description that it’s technically “depredation” but I don’t think anyone saw that.

    • @ patriot, this isn’t about cowering in fear because of the anti gunner. I couldn’t give a rats a$$ about them nor their feelings, but when I ask permission to hunt land owned by another person, I don’t want them denying that request because they think hunters are just blood thirsty goons bent on killing. I am not against going after a species like hogs. I know what they can do, and are capable of. I also can’t think of one reason anyone wouldn’t want them eradicated. I am sorry that you think everything is black and white

  29. Watched a video of similar goings-on in Australia. Shooters were using Benellis and buckshot. I think I’d prefer that. Especially with the new flite-control wads. Either way, it’s on my bucket list. As well as the night-stalker version with high powered rifles equipped with night vision optics.

    • I can tell you down under feral pigs are a very serious problem, and especially in lambing and calving seasons. Helicopter hunting is actually done by the anti-hunting National Parks and Wildlife.

      Feral pig numbers have exploded because of National Parks offering safe havens for feral animals, onnerously restrictive firearms licensing that allows little flexibility in hunting locations (you need written permission from the property owner, but there are work arounds), and the anti-hunting stance of the Greens party which has infested the media, public service, and government.

      From experience, the best hunting is from dusk to late evening and from just before sun up to mid-morning.

      I used to use a SKS with 30 round AK mags and a 10/22 with extended capacity magazines. Good for close work with multiple targets. After Port Arthur, I used a sporterized Swedish Mauser (6.5×55 is an awesome cartridge), 8mm Mauser scout rifle, or .303 No4 in service configuration. My service shooting background works well in feral pig hunting.

      I only wish some useless restrictions were relaxed and some decision makers realized that recreational hunters are part of the solution and not an additional problem.

  30. I have hunted hogs many times. While I have no problem with hunting hogs, nor blasting as many a possible to wipe them out on your land. But there is something about hog hunting out of a helicopter that is a bit overkill!

    I much prefer a nice slow stalk on a pack of hogs at sunset then hard charging them from the air.

  31. Feral hogs are in the pest catagory, just like rats, Hate rats, hate feral hogs. The reason is they will wipe out next year’s chop of calves, lambs, kid goats, and fawns. Most ranchers have deer leases to supplement income. They will eat your dogs and you too. Very real hazard for elderly farmers and ranchers. I don’t care if you shoot them from a helicopter, from the ground, or drive off
    a cliff, as long as they are are eradicated. I speak as co-owner of a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country with Longhorn cattle,

  32. As a farm boy in eons past, i understand varmint removal. if you enjoy it and you accept the risks and expense involved go for it.

    I will admit to being very skeptical of the cost effectiveness of the method though.

  33. Friends and I went hunting in Kansas for pheasant 3 years ago. The farm where we hunted was overrun with jack rabbits and cottontails. The farmer told us to hunt all we wanted but he asked us to kill every rabbit we saw. We kept the cottontails and left the jacks for the buzzards. Good hunt.

  34. If God hadn’t wanted people to shoot pestilent feral hogs from a helicopter with a machine gun, She probably wouldn’t have given us pestilent feral hogs or the cleverness to invent helicopters and machine guns.

  35. Up here, they passed a law to make it unlawful to charge anyone to kill feral pigs. You can also be fined if you find feral pigs on your land and don’t notify fish and game.
    This is to try and prevent the migration of the animals from down south.
    There are no tags, no limit, no nothing. Shoot on sight and feed your family!

  36. The only thing that bugs me about hog extermination in Texas is how many land owners charge you for the privilege. Charge me to hunt deer or birds on your land? No problem. You put time and money into game management profit away. Charge me to do you a favor and kill hogs? I wish I could get away with that with my exterminator. “Will, you can come in my yard and kill fire ants and scorpions, but it’s gonna cost ya’ two hundred bucks. Extra if you kill any mice.”

  37. Having grown up on a ranch, I raised 4H pigs as a kid and am probably more familiar with them than 98% of Americans. Pigs are incredibly intelligent and therefore, have more successful hunting strategies than most of their competition. Wild pigs are also very aggressive, destructive and dangerous. I have absolutely no problem with culling an invasive species that has gone out of control and I have zero problem with Texas hunters killing them with machine guns shot from helicopters.

    As far as animal extremists like PETA, they are misguided terrorists and I am all for doing anything that pisses them off. These pigs are not Babe, they are big, aggressive tractors and earth movers who will root up and mow down anything in their path. Kill ’em all, they are a blight on the natural landscape.

    I am actually disappointed that Nick couldn’t hunt them with a 1919, Ma Deuce or a Mini Gun, that would be a lot exciting to watch than a mere full auto M4 or whatever AR variant he was using. More clips, they are interesting to watch and frustrate anti-gunners so what’s not to like? Here in California, we gun owners are subjected to having to watch morons like Senator De Leon talk about things that don’t exist like Ghost Guns, paybacks are a bitch antis.

  38. So why not do it right: Drop napalm from a Warthog. You can kill the hogs, clear a picnic area, make a BBQ pit, and cook the critter. All at once.

    Want to get rid of them? Put a bounty on them. They’ll be gone in a month.

    • Certain counties in Texas have put a bounty on them. In Corryell I believe it was something like five bucks per tail, up to fifteen hundred dollars a year per individual. From what I can tell it hasn’t made a dent in the hog population.

      • You mean to tell me one can put food on the table and get paid for it, and people aren’t taking advantage?

        Those counties are run by imbeciles. If I was in charge there would be full-page ads in every outdoor magazine in North America.

        C’mon down.
        No limit! Shoot all you want!
        Gun rentals available! Guide services on request!
        Processing and FEDEX available.
        Motel and car rental lists on request

        Everybody makes $$$$ off the pigs, and the pig population’s kept under control.
        WIN-WIN

        • It’s not that no one is doing it, I took 20, the county gave out over 20k in bounty money, that’s something like 4,000 hogs, but it didn’t make a dent. A single sow can have two litters of 6-8 per year. You can’t hunt them into extinction from the ground.

        • No, I mean GO NATIONAL! And do something like a $10 nonresident hog license. I’ll bet you could do 4,000 an hour. And the motels, car rental companies, processors and FEDEX/UPS would make a fortune.

          Golf weekend getaway? Nope, hog hunting weekend getaway. I can see packages …

    • Alabama (unfortunately) isn’t serious about controlling feral hogs.

      In order to use machine guns, silencers, night vision to hunt them, it must be done on a special damage-control permit.

      This needs to change.

  39. I think everyone will agree that there is a significant difference between sport hunting and mitigating the adverse environmental impact of non native invasive species. Feral hogs/ wild pigs are dangerous and destructive beasts with a population density that cannot be legitimately contained through sport hunting, hence the necessity of herd culling. Whether dispatched via automatic rifle fire from a helo or single shot muzzle loader from the ground floor makes no ethical difference, just one of efficacy and expedience.

  40. Great article Nick. I’m friends with the pilot that flew you, and love what they’re doing. I work in farming and see plenty of hog damage, but I didn’t fully understand how widespread the damage is till I took John flying with me a few times and he pointed out all the signs. Call it hunting, exterminating, massacre; I don’t care and the farmer doesn’t care. I look at the helicopter hunting the same way I look at a crop duster spraying for stinkbugs, just taking care of a pest. If you ever come back I’ll try to make it out and meet you, even take you up in my Cub if you want!

  41. The “hunt like a real man” comments kill me, you mean like sitting on your ass in a tree and waiting for the deer to come to you with a beer in your hand?

      • I once heard a UL about some guy who went native – he went out in the woods wearing a loincloth, and hid in a tree with a knife in his teeth. A nice buck ambled under the tree, he pounced, and the buck almost killed him with its hooves and antlers and teeth.

  42. Hey Nick…we have a helicopter hog piece on SHOOTING GALLERY this season, with Iain Harrison manning the DD 6.8. I make a point to say very specifically that what we are doing is NOT “sport hunting,” “fair chase,” or any of the other euphemisms we use to describe what we do. We were there to kill pests, and we did.

    Don’t give ground, brother.

    mb

    PS: Hey, I’ve shot animals on OUTDOOR CHANNEL, and they went down pretty quick!

  43. Folks, if you want to exterminate hogs, get serious and use traps and poisoned bait. Just like they did with wolves, coyotes and mountain lions. Tried and true.

    If you want to hunt them, hunt them. Just don’t post jackassery on the Internet and expect applause. Things are bad enough for us image-wise as it is.

    Just sayin’…

    • With hogs, a trap will work exactly once. Any that don’t get trapped will immediately learn to avoid anything similar. You might trap a dozen or so, but what about the hundreds that don’t go in?

      Poisoned bait? Got any foods that only hogs eat, or are you okay with eradicating whitetail deer, armadillos, raccoons or possums, too? Wolves, coyotes (which are anything but rare, btw) and mountain lions are carnivores. Hogs will eat just about anything – there is no “hogs only” diet.

      In Texas, it is legal to hunt these pests without a permit, with no bag limit, with a spotlight, with night vision, with a silencer, from a vehicle – every dirty trick is perfectly legal because they are destroying the environment, eradicating native species, and posing a financial and public safety hazard. As mentioned in other comments, some counties have put a bounty on them. If Nick can afford the helicopter ride to aid in their eradication, then so much the better. More power to him.

    • You’re worried about your image? the image others have of you guys is the one you deserve…. you earned it all by yourselves.

  44. Let any nay-Sayers gun up and take out the thousands of hogs themselves and then harvest all the meat. If someone could figure out how to harvest these buggers they would be a billionaire and could help end hunger in the country.

    • “help end hunger in the country.”

      Pffft! I finally came up with an answer to the liberals who rationalize taxation with the “feed the hungry” line. “So, go find a hungry person and FEED HIM! But keep your filthy hands off my hard-earned paycheck!”

    • I’ll be down this Spring to visit my son-in-law&family and do my part if I can. We’ll see if I get shaken down in the process.

  45. If we are talking ethical and stuartship, how about a .30 cal instead of .223/5.56. Clean killing. They are tough big animals.

    Also, I can see in extreme remote areas leaving them be, but where possible, shouldn’t they be retrieved and donated. Drop a GPS point on them from the helo and go back in with a jeep and a 4×4 trailer and retrieve. I am all for eradication but do it as painlessly, cleanly and use the meat. It is a free resource to be used wisely.

    • I agree, shooting and leaving them seems kind of wasteful. Also, I can appreciate the fun factor and the sporting aspect but if it’s just being done to satisfy some guy’s blood lust then I dont agree with it.

  46. Used to have a buddy in the Navy who would loudly proclaim being an expert in AGW: anti-goat warfare. He was assigned to a composite squadron in Hawaii (VC-1, since disestablished) Occasionally they would have to load a helo up and shoot goats on one of the smaller Islands. So, pest control from helos has been around awhile.

  47. 1. they should use a mini gun
    2. Wild hogs are nothing to monkey with
    3. “Tame” hogs occasionally attack people feeding them
    4. some Ranchers let those hogs loose so they could get a cash crop!
    5. capture some of those wild hogs and donate them too the do gooder’s to raise bet they disappear pretty fast once grandmas Petunia get ate!
    6 shooting a mover on the ground but shooting a mover while you are moving is a whole new ball game!
    7. hunt them with a grenade launcher.

  48. This helicopter hunting looks rather inefficient. What you need to do is transplant a village or two of bush beaters from Africa or India. Remember those old safari films? All the people in long lines stretching to the horizon, driving the animals to the hunters lying in wait…Or use helicopters to drive them, just like cattle–join the forces of the sky with forces on the ground. I also thought that hanging out the side of a helicopter looked kind of awkward, but only you guys would know. I was thinking that they need to equip the helos with side cars, like on a motorcycle. Maybe even mount a belt fed .30. Get enough helos and you could have a competition–most tails wins.

    • Just import a village or two from any of the starving regions in the world. Put ’em on H1-B Visas as Pest Control Technicians. End of problem.

  49. Nicks right. These are wily, tough, fast-breeding, wary night feeders with better noses than your hunting dog, that eat everything, including one another, and devastate crops and sensitive native habitat equally.

    The USFS hosted a scoping letter on options for how to hunt wild hogs in San Diego county before they became any more of a problem (estimates between 300-1100 animals) and after considering all inputs, running it thru the EIR process, they came down to hunting from helicopters, as most effective and most humane, for any areas they couldnt get in to set up traps. Pretty much the same way they hunted wild pigs off the Channel Islands.

    Hunters were pissed because they werent included into the party, and in fact excluded in op areas where the pro hunters at USDA were concerned they would spook sounders to move, instead of allow the pro hunters to shoot them with silencers and night sights.

    PETA types were upset of course, and so were landowners and ranchers, who thought it was too little too late,

    but it got approved anyway, and the whole thing was ready to go at a cost of some ridiculous amount of money, then it just went away. No idea why- guessing the budget.

    But the point being its probably the most efficient way to conduct depredation efforts for a problem species. And from the literature I’ve read in various places, including some of the bio guys in their conferences, the consensus is that, yes, hunters can help, but they cant solve the problem, not even close.

    I hear from the guys running Teton Ranch up in Kern County, middle of CA, where the pigs have been longest, having been introduced by Mr Hearst at Hearst castle as Russian boars for sport- is even with heavy organized guided hunts they are barely keeping even with population growth.

    So, while “fair chase” is the ethic for sporting hunting, like deer, thats not what this is- its eradication, and even helicopter hunting is not doing enough to bring it down, in any sustainable decrease.

  50. Nick,
    I showed your video to my wife, who does not hunt but understands the burden of hogs and she was surprisingly just as intrigued as I was and then went as far as to say she would be interesting in occupying the second seat with me as she enjoys shooting. She did have a moment where her concern was injuring a hog and making it suffer if she could not make a clean kill but then she also quoted the destruction these animals bring and how fast they repopulate before confirming she would still be on board if I was willing to drop the cash.

    I really think the outrage here is from those “not in the know” on the seriousness of the hog situation possibly mixed with the word “hunting”. The world is getting too PC on me now where we need to classify everything to a T. “Honey I grabbed my rifle to go deer hunting” vs “Honey I grabbed my rifle and am off to offer pest control relief on the current ground hog situation”. Whole lot easier just to use the word “hunting” even if is not always in the traditional sense.

  51. Funny how most people wouldn’t have a problem with mass-eradication of rats or cockroaches. I seriously doubt anybody would say “You blood-thirsty psycho!” if you were to shoot 10 or 12 or 50 rats in or around somebody’s house (OK – maybe the PETA freaks would) especially if they were crawling into a child’s bed at night or eating up the food in the pantry. Hogs are no different and in my opinion worse in many ways. I’ve heard people at Texas Parks and Wildlife say that it would be impossible to eradicate the hog population and even keeping it in check is difficult. So as I see it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with shooting at a moving target from a helicopter.

  52. Ok, I get your point, but it still isn’t hunting. It is culling or pest control. But please don’t call it hunting.

  53. Nick,

    Care to comment on the potential future use of a grenade launcher per the first post? That is the part I questioned. I understand the idea behind it and without a doubt accept its utility in this application, but I see it as having the most potential for causing an agonizing/inhumane death.

    Good point also about walking your shots in with a machine gun for quick followups.

    Text from my first post included below.

    “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. “

  54. Back in India where I come from, anti-hunting attitudes are a way of life, and, even that country has recently relaxed its laws to permit pigs to be hunted. For a long time, farmers were not allowed to shoot them, and some idiots concocted a pig killer made from firecrackers covered in dough and dried so that you had a booby trap that would blow a pig’s head when bitten into. The problem was that people would step on these and get their feet blown off on farms instead.

    Pig numbers can be reduced, and they can be made to stay in a general area. We would bury rotting leftover food about a foot below the ground (the more it stinks, the better – fish bones seemed to work particularly well) and we would then pour moonshine over it. This “bait” would be placed at several different spots on the small farms that are common there (usually 7.5 to 15 acres) and you could bet that when the bait was dug up, the pigs would be in the nearest tree clumps the next day. Of course, they make fantastic eating, and the tradition in that poor country is for a communal feast after some pigs are shot. Perhaps, that could become a tradition here as well?

    There’s also a business opportunity here. European hunters go to Africa to shoot warthogs (not boar, I know, but many hunters love shooting pigs) and there are roughly 3 million people of Indian descent living and working in the US at any given time. A lot of them come from families with hunting backgrounds, but, I’ve not seen any concerted effort at selling them pig hunts. This might be a new market to tap? At the end of the day, the more the pigs that get killed, the safer the environment will be. These animals are far more destructive than most other pests as many people have rightly pointed out. If we could have fun while preserving the environment, that, perhaps, should be our argument against the antis of the world.

  55. Wow, looking at all these comments makes me see why people from other countries see Americans, especially those from Texas, as a people that cares only about themselves. You’re scary !

  56. what people need to realize is that the hogs are not native to the USA. they were brought in for farm animals to eat.

    When they get loose, whether by accident, hurricane, what ever they end up becoming feral ( wild). they grow tusks etc… and become very distructive.

    we have the issue here in NC also.

  57. Nick, I have to say that your article – though well reasoned – seems just your attempt to justify your practice. I’m someone who is totally supportive of military and gun ownership rights, so don’t get me wrong here. You mentioned ethics of hunting – mainly the kills should be humane – but that has to be number one, buddy – not something you rationalize away. That means you get off your butt and go hunt them from the ground, in the field. Your excuse that they run fast and are tricky means what exactly? That you change your moral code for your convenience? No, it means your job is harder – so suck it up and put out the effort – if Texas needs more ethical hunters, taking more time and more effort, to do it humanely; then so be it.

    I’m not going to say you’re a “sick, twisted f**k” (a salute to Misery 1990, lol), but you should rethink your ethics. You write to the effect “this isn’t hunting, its pest eradication”. Bruddah, that is just Nazi speak – or Jihad speak – first you dehumanize your target – whether its Jews, Gypsies or Infidels – then you do what you like because your conscience is free. We don’t have a word like “dehumanize” when we’re talking about animals – but the concept is the same – You are rationalizing to say “hogs are pests”; when the reality is hogs are mammals with a developed brain and emotion; they can feel pain and therefore as a moral being you have the ethical responsibility to mitigate suffering. You know that when you shoot from the air many of the hogs die slowly and with suffering.

    Your argument that using a machine gun mitigates suffering is just wrong, and I think you know it. Killing ‘fast’ doesn’t equate to killing ethically. A kill can take place over a long time, ethically, if your motivation and actions are morally correct. Let’s say you’re hunting a deer – if you only wound and don’t get the kill on a first shot – you continue tracking the animal until you’re able to finish the job. It might be sad or upsetting that the animal had to suffer – but you didn’t intentionally adopt a method that you know causes gratuitous suffering. In your case you know that many of the animals lay writhing on the ground after you pass comfortably by in your helo, on to the next animal. If you can do that, then I lose all respect for you and don’t know how you live with yourself on that. A pang of regret afterwards doesn’t absolve you. And it doesn’t make you more human if you don’t use that regret as motivation to seek a better way. If you choose to hunt from the sky – then there should be a code – that you must determine the animal is truly dead before you move on to the next one.

    The fact that hogs cause property and crop damage amounting to a large cost just means that society is going to have to pony up an offsetting cost to cull the herd. Maybe it requires an advertising campaign to encourage and train more ethical hunters – or arrange for “Hog Safaris” – on foot with rifle requiring several days at a time – instead of by helicopter with machine gun for a couple of hours.

    Bottom line – humane and ethical practice means making sure the animal is killed with as little suffering as possible and being 100% sure the animal is dead before moving on to the next one. I appreciate your reading the comments and emails and trying to do the right thing – why not organize and campaign for a true hog hunting safari like I mentioned – doing it the right way. Aloha.

  58. I find this a little morally questionable and your explanation doesn’t seem to quell the issues I have with this practice. it seems to me that your main defense of this practice is that killing hogs is lucrative for farmers. Which to me is not a acceptable defense of this. You know what else is lucrative for farmers? Horribly mistreating animals or polluting rivers/lakes to avoid expensive chemical disposal fees.

    Furthermore I don’t like your moral cop out that is, “you didn’t think of them as animals you thought of them as targets” what the fuck kind of excuse is that? “sorry officer I didn’t think of my kids and wife as people I thought of them as punching bags” is a statement expressing the same sentiment. If you do something unethical it is unethical weather or not you thought it was or not.

    Now I’m not saying I’m dead against this practice, I certainly see the draw to this I mean if somebody offered me a trip to shoot hogs with a assault rifle I’d have a very hard time declining that offer. But i do think your explanation still leaves you in a morally gray area.

  59. At $3,895 for 2 people for 2 hours – I am sure this is a very cost effective way to bring down the hog population – how long will it be before the guys at helibacon completely eradicate these vermin?

  60. its been so long since i thought “pig hunters in texas or georgia should use machine guns!”
    pigs are a plague in texas and you should eliminate them in the best way. but i have heard that boar hunting is popular. if you get one boar you get just one pig. but get one sow, and you could eliminate ten pigs!

  61. Don’t have an issue with hunting, dont have an issue with hunting Wild Bore, they are a menace, destroy crop and what you want.
    Do have an issue with shooting animals out of a helicopter with an automatic rifle, if done on single shot maybe, but on full auto? Typical way to act for americans in general….. dump as much ammo on your target as possible and your bound to hit something…. This is disgusting… here in Europe we hunt like man are supposed to hunt, on the ground with a bolt action rilfe and if we need to regulate a bigger territory we simply use more real men…..This got nothing to do with hunting…. this is a faggot wanting to kill something legally with an automatic on full auto…..

  62. A couple of facts for the BBQ enthusiast feed and the neighbors or the poor folks advocates.
    When the getting is good or the weather is wet or its too hot or whatever other excuse can be drummed up…..most of the hogs are left in the field after the helicopter boys are done….hypothetically it’s about eradication.
    Conclusion: This is not a feed the poor program or even about a tasty pork chop….it’s buzzard and coyote chow

    A couple of facts for the effectiveness proponents
    If you take the numbers reported killed (required by federal law) by the proponents/practioners of the program and the stated breeding habits and apply it to the existing population in Texas fro example. You will arrive at the astounding conclusion that the feral hog population in Texas will increase from a few million to a few trillion in the next 10 years even if they double the kill rate every year.
    Conclusion: Something else controls hog populations much better than helicopter hunts or we would have them walking down every street in every town in Texas and you couldn’t grow a stalk of corn anywhere.
    Suggestion: Find out what that is and make it happen better.

    Fact for the entrepreneurs
    Under the current program in Texas a helicopter owner can net $10,000 – $15,000 per/day if he can book the hunts. If he can get 2-3 days per week at that rate he can pay off a Robinson 4 place bird in less than a year.
    This is paid for by folks that are looking for the experience of shooting something from a helicopter….for the most part none of the parties involved are the farmers/ranchers that are being harmed by feral hog populations.

    Question for proponents:
    Do the parties involved have a vested interest in killing all the hogs or do they have a financial or pleasure benefit?

    Another point on effectiveness…
    The non-stakeholder parties involved can’t get permission to fly where ever they want. They may have permission to fly over say 15,000 acres and immediately adjacent property holders don’t want them to have overflight privileges. Since I think most of us would conclude that these financially incentivized and pleasure seeking parties won’t or can’t kill all of the hogs on the property in one or 2 days, the hogs just move to adjoining property. Their may be no agricultural interest on those properties so they don’t have any incentive to allow the helicopter guys to fly their property. In fact that property owner may charge people to hunt hogs.

    Conclusion: Non stake-holders are not incentivized to effectively control the feral swine population. The agr-ibusiness landowner can achieve a temporary reprieve in depredating swine populations, but when the weather turns hot and the crops are growing good, fewer and fewer shooters want to get up and get sweaty while taking their pleasure popping off a few rounds at the hogs trickling back in over the property line.

    A few un-intended consequences

    When the property owner (Texas ) signs his paperwork, he gives the helicopter operator the right to assign, and sell, rights to the general public to fire a weapon from a helicopter at the depredating species for a period of one year.
    The operator will sell as much of that as he can…
    He will then fly the properties he has rights to as much as he can book business for, regardless of whether there is a hog problem there or not. He has a business to run.
    The operator flies further and longer on the property as hogs thin out and eventually disappear. The operator flies lower and slower. Every other animal on that property, deer, turkey, duck, goose, bobcat, coyote, cow, sheep, goat, javelina etc…..runs, walks or flys to get out of the way of the whirly bird. Anything that can leaves, anything that can’t just gets pestered with regularity.

    Fact:
    In 1971 the Federal government passed into law a ban on aerial hunting and harassment of wildlife. The act also allows states to make their own rules with regards to making law to control depredating species by aerial means.
    Texas lawmakers decided that the feral swine problem was of such a magnitude that it now allows for aerial control of depredating species specifically feral swine and coyotes. That law also makes it a defense against prosecution for wildlife harassment if in pursuit of depredating species.
    The first Texas law and subsequent rules from Texas Parks and Wildlife, proved to be nearly useless, it required that the party being harmed (agribusiness) to pay for the helicopter operator and gunner or go up in the bird and do the shooting themselves.
    The law was crafted that way so that it was rather obvious to anyone, that this is NOT aerial hunting.

    Question: Why was this so ineffective? If there are millions of dollars being lost by agri-business it would seem obvious that it would pay to kill hogs. No different than spraying herbicides right?

    The Texas legislature then amended the law and directed Texas Parks and Wildlife to allow the sale of the gunner position on the helicopter to “land owner agents”. This is accomplished by the landowner giving the operator the right to assign his rights to interested parties.

    Opinion: This last act strips away the veil of the “control of depredating species” and makes it what it really is. The sale of aerial hunts for feral hogs and coyotes. Those of you who are hiding behind this are just making excuses.
    It is what it is.
    I don’t find the act itself to be disturbing. I do take great offense to the harassment and displacement of native wildlife species and the subsequent concentration and overcrowding of same.
    Being a student of human nature I also can see many ways that the activity can be legally exploited to drive native game animals to or away from one property to another where the non-stakeholders can benefit in other ways.

    Conclusion: I am against this practice in it’s current manifestation in the State of Texas due to its unintended consequences and potential exploitive nature. If agribusiness has a bone to pick with feral hogs let em pick it.

  63. I am a hunter and I realize your point that this is not hunting, but I still find it unethical. I don’t have a problem with you providing the service because as long as its legal someone will. Everyone in Texas complains about the hogs, but no one will let you hunt for free. I see this as a way for guys with a lot of money to kill as many hogs as they can with very little effort. If farmers and ranchers are so concerned about the hog damage then how about a free place to hunt. I have posted ads offering to hunt problem hogs day or night anytime and with great care. Guess what, I have never had one person contact me. Hogs may be a problem for some, but it’s not a problem they want to get rid of without making some money on it. Fly Safe!

  64. This is a terrible argument supporting an inherently unethical method.

    Your argument has four flaws:

    1) The ranches these activities take place on actively feed and bait the pigs for sport hunting – destroying your pest control argument. You cannot purposely feed a population to support it as a source of revenue and then claim you’re just doing what must be done.

    2) If you’re really doing a service to the farmers who claim they just want to be rid of the hogs, why do they make you pay instead of inviting all hunters to get rid of all of the hogs? This shows the landowners aren’t actually concerned for their property or the environment, they just want to line their pockets with the excuse of a righteous crusade.

    3) This method results in non-fatal wounding and less humane kills – breaking the hunter’s code.

    4) None or very little of the meat is put to productive use – also breaking the hunter’s code.

    This is what happens when the mall ninja culture seeps into hunting. You and your “tactical” behavior are a blight on our great sport. You’re just expending ammo for the thrill of killing something that can’t bite back. Get on the ground in a blind like a man if you want a thrill. I can tell you’re not a true and committed hunter – you’re just a range ninja who decided to kill something for a change of pace.

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