HOGS FROM HELICOPTERS?

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Luke Clayton, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    "HOGS FROM HELICOPTERS?"
    by Luke Clayton

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    Luke Clayton


    It’s been said that there are two types of ranches in Texas; those with hogs and those about to get them! Wild hogs create an estimated $400 million in annual damage to agricultural crops, hay meadows and rangeland in Texas alone. Hogs, domestic and wild, are highly prolific. Sows breed at 6-8 months and litters range from 5-10 piglets. Considering that half of a litter are sows, it’s easy to see the number of hogs that one breeding sow can propagate in a matter of a few months. There is no doubt that keeping their numbers in check is of primary concern to everyone but, HUNTING THEM FROM HELICOPTERS by paying clients? I don’t think so!

    Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) is being asked to formulate rules for hunting hogs from helicopter. It’s been legal to control hog numbers via helicopter since back in 1996. Through the end of last year, a little over one thousand permits were granted for controlling wild porkers with the use of choppers. I have no problem with properly permitted landowners controlling hog numbers on their ranches from the air. Sporting, it’s not but when trained shooters and very experienced chopper pilots are involved, shooting hogs from the air can be an efficient, albeit expensive means of reducing their numbers and, the damage caused by the gregarious porkers. Present laws prohibit charging a recreational (guide) fee for hunting hogs from the air. If the new law is adopted, “guided” hunts from helicopter will be legal. If this proposal becomes law, I can see all kinds of resulting problems. Let’s assume a qualified helicopter pilot, books a hunt with a couple guys to go on an “air” hog hunt. Chances are pretty good this will be the first time either flew in a chopper and definitely the first time they did any shooting from the air, granted, a few might have been machine gunners on a chopper back in the Viet Nam era, but the vast majority will be ‘sportsmen’ out looking for a bit of excitement. Imagine the mishaps that could occur when folks begin banging away at running hogs from the air. Adrenaline levels would be high; the potential for accidents vastly outweigh the benefits. What would happen when an excited client is tracking a running pig through his rifle’s scope in heavy cover, banging away and kicking up dust around the fleeing porker. Shooting at running game requires intense concentration, even when shots are taken at ground level. After a few missed shots at the running hog, a cow or horse appears in the line of sight. Will the shooter have time to react or, being caught up in the excitement of the moment, continue shooting?

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    Photo by Luke Clayton


    I’m all for hunting wild hogs and I fully understand the necessity to control their numbers but, to my way of thinking, trapping or hunting them with dogs is far more reasonable and much safer than allowing anyone with the guide fee to shoot them from the air. I truly believe that once this proposed legislation is thoroughly studied by TPWD, it will never become law. If it does, I would suggest making sure the deer lease you will be hunting next year does not allow shooting hogs, or anything else, from the air. I certainly do not wish to have to worry about someone from above spreading rounds over the mesquite flat where my bow stand is situated, especially when I’m in it!

    Just for fun, imagine some of the conversations that could occur between the ‘hunters’ and chopper pilots IF this ridiculous idea did become law:

    “Here, hold this cold one, I “think” I see a hog down there”.

    Or, “You’ll have to keep this thing more steady. Here take this shotgun, I think I’m gonna be sick!”

    Or, “Do you allow grenades?”

    Or, “Do we still get charged the full rate if you aren’t able to get the pigs to slow down enough for us to hit them?”

    Or,” Do you do the field dressing, or do we, once we get back on the ground? By the way, how do we find the hogs we’ve shot? Everything looks the same from up here in the air!“

    Or, “Did you say it’s ok to flip this thing on fully auto? I’ve been wanting to give it a try on something running!”

    Or, “Does meat processing come with the price of these ‘chopper hunts’?”

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    SPRING TURKEY HUNTING UPDATE - I recently interviewed TPWD biologists across much of the state in an attempt to get a handle on the upcoming spring season. It appears, over the majority of the state, the extremely dry conditions last year took a toll on the hatch and survival rate on young turkeys. Survival was low for the poults that did hatch, because there was little green vegetation to provide cover and food. A dry fall and winter added to the already bad conditions. But, if you hunt in areas that traditionally have large numbers of birds, don’t be disheartened, there should be plenty of ‘carry over’ mature gobblers from previous years. We probably won’t see the large number of bachelor flocks of young Jakes this year. A bright spot seems to be up in north east Texas, especially in Red River and Lamar Counties where the population of eastern turkeys is doing very well. Mike Ford, owner of the Rio Rojo Rancho in northern Red River County says there was an awesome hatch in the area last spring with lots of young birds. He reported he’s also seeing plenty of mature gobblers in the areas.

    Listen to OUTDOORS WITH LUKE CLAYTON radio show each week at www.catfishradio.com

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    Cabela’s King Kat Catfish Tournament at Lake Tawakoni, Feb 28. Team entry fee is $200. Tournament headquartered at West Tawakoni City Park. Hours at 6:30am.-3 pm. The trophy blue catfish bite has been excellent at Tawakoni this winter and it’s entirely possible for several 60 pound plus fish to be weighed in, catfish pros I’ve visited with are expecting fish of this size and possibly larger. If you can’t fish the event, make sure and stop by around 3 for the weigh in and, bring your camera! For more information, call 270-395-6774 or email dvanvactor@kingkarusa.com the web site is www.kingkatusa.com.

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    Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Expo is slated for March 5-8 at the Ft. Worth Convention Center. Cost is $12 per person or $25 for family. This is the first time the Expo has been held in Texas and will give Texas hunters a great opportunity to visit with outfitters, attend elk hunting seminars and witness the world championship elk calling contest. This event is excellent for hunters planning their first trip to the Mountain States to hunt elk. For more information, visit www.rmef.org.

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    County DU Banquet is slated for March 6 at the National Guard Armory in Greenville. Festivities begin at 6 pm. For more information, contact James Handley at 903-455-1631.

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    Listen to Outdoors With Luke Clayton at www.catfishradio.com and check out the new fishing videos at lukeshotspots.com

    The BOC has a virtual library of Luke's stories right here on the forums; just about anything you could want to read about the outdoors. Click here to see a boat load of information!
     
  2. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    May as well let them kill hogs from the air, then, when they know what they are doing, they can kill deer that way also. Nothing seems to matter but the killing.
     

  3. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    Feral hogs really do pose a big time problem in Texas and across much of the south. My beef is that under controlled situations, ie,trained pilot and crew, this method can possibly be used to control out of hand numbers but, as guided hunt with inexperienced hunters? Well, my thoughts are in the above article.
     
  4. catfishjon

    catfishjon New Member

    Messages:
    156
    State:
    texas
    The bill will never become law. We do have a serious problem in Texas because trapping and hunting does not reduce the numbers. They are going to have to develop something they can eat and will affect only them. That something must kill them and harm no one else. If you make them sterile, they will live a long life and continue to cause terrible damage to our land. I understand you can feed them cotton seed hulls mixed with feed and it stops them up and ultimately kills them. I don't know if that is true or not, but something has to be done.

    Shooting from a small helicopter at slow speed close to the ground using a 12 gage shotgun loaded with buckshot is a very effective way to reduce the hog population. I have flown one doing this, but I never was the shooter. It is very easy to locate and shoot hogs in south Texas using this method. Obviously the shooter and the pilot must have a good safety brief before this takes place. I would not take just anyone up to do this unless I gave them a ground class and a training flight before we went up with a loaded gun. Catfishjon
     
  5. catfishjon

    catfishjon New Member

    Messages:
    156
    State:
    texas
    The bill will never become law. We do have a serious problem in Texas because trapping and hunting does not reduce the numbers. They are going to have to develop something they can eat and will affect only them. That something must kill them and harm no one else. If you make them sterile, they will live a long life and continue to cause terrible damage to our land. I understand you can feed them cotton seed hulls mixed with feed and it stops them up and ultimately kills them. I don't know if that is true or not, but something has to be done.

    Shooting from a small helicopter at slow speed close to the ground using a 12 gage shotgun loaded with buckshot is a very effective way to reduce the hog population. I have flown one doing this, but I never was the shooter. It is very easy to locate and shoot hogs in south Texas using this method. Obviously the shooter and the pilot must have a good safety brief before this takes place. I would not take just anyone up to do this unless I gave them a ground class and a training flight before we went up with a loaded gun. Catfishjon
     
  6. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    I think you summed it up, No way it will become law. My problem is with the outside chance they legalize this so that 'clients' can book the hunts. Skilled guys like yourself, that take time to instruct shooters, would pose no problem. I've guessing that a ton of hogs have been shot from the air by unpermitted folks already.
     
  7. Racedaddy_14

    Racedaddy_14 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    State:
    Texas
    I for one would not like to see this passed. True, hogs population is on the rise. I have trapped them for 17 years now and I have taken plenty out of the woods. It seems that no matter how many you take out, they are replaced by more. Problem with trapping is that most people with the larger land plots will not allow anyone to trap their land, so the one that you are trapping will keep getting hogs coming in from other properties. Some land owners say they are not hurting anything being out their. If they could only get the damage others are, then they might see a different side of it. I have caught sows with piglets from 4 little ones up to 21 little ones. Most trappers only use small traps and not corral traps. I prefer to trap for the sounder. I am totally against any shooting from a helicopter. Even Texas Agulife gives farmers the number for a helicopter service that kills hogs by air. They charge $ 550.00 an hour and shot hogs and leave them lay and do not retrieve what they have killed. I think this method should be banned from happening since the hogs will decay and rot or be food for other animals. Great article by the way.
     
  8. Mike81

    Mike81 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,231
    State:
    Alabama
    I agree with aerial hunting by the DNR to control populations. Helk hwere do I sign up for a job, they need mini guns.

    BUT I do NOT agree that any yahoo with a hunting license and the money be allowed to hire a chopper to fly around blasting away.... there is no sport in that whatsoever...

    Have they ever thought about or tried a bounty? Like $5 or $10 a hog, they'd have people doing it full time for a living , killing the helk out of em and have alot of meat for foodbanks and such....
     
  9. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    Luke here. This article is sparking a lot of interest and I thought it would when I wrote it. I truly love to hunt wild hogs and shoot five or eight a year for food, mostly smaller ones. But, in trying to be fair and reasonable, I understand the need to control them. I have a good friend, Dr. Mcfarlane that owns Big Woods www.bigwoods.net , a 7,500 acre piece of bottomland along the Trinity River south of Dallas a couple hours, near Palestine, Tx.. Doc hosts hogs from all over the country each year, and he stays booked by hunters from the mid west, back east, etc. They take over 500 hogs during the winter months and quiet a few in summer. HUnting does have the potential to keep feral hog numbers in check but it must be done year after year, hog numbers can get totally out of hand in a matter of a couple years.
     
  10. Racedaddy_14

    Racedaddy_14 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    State:
    Texas
    Luke, Texas A&M's estimate for the hog population in Texas is between 2 to 4 million. Sorry to say, but they are way off because I am in the woods every day running my traps and there is probably around a million hogs just in Liberty county alone. I caught slightly over 5000 hogs last year and this year is looking even better with 121 as of Feb 14. I have been invited to go up to the Temple area to trap 6 large farms with the smallest being 1100 acres. I really enjoy reading your articles, seems you put a lot of thought and investigation into them. Keep up the good work.
     
  11. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    That's amazine, the number of hogs you trapped. More folks like you around and they could forget the chopper hunts! HA.... I hunt a lot down in Trinity County.. Will be up in Jack County about this time tomorrow with bow looking for 125 pounder for sausage! Good hunting! Luke Clayton
     
  12. gardengrz

    gardengrz New Member

    Messages:
    899
    State:
    wakeman,ohio
    i can just see a chopper flyin around with hog skulls mounted on th landing gear and a loudspeaker playin " i cant get no satisfaction ". :big_smile::cool2:
     
  13. Whistling Dixie

    Whistling Dixie New Member

    Messages:
    52
    State:
    Texas
    Luke, I'm going to jump in here and play devil's advocate. I appreciate your opinion and enjoy your stories. Your articles have helped me learn a great deal and I appreciate your useful information, however I am inclined to disagree with you on this topic. I have a couple of friends that own south Texas ranches and if it were legal they would mount miniguns on helicopters and set out claymore mines everywhere they could. Yes I agree there are inherent dangers and again I agree that it's definetely not sporting but I don't believe it's my place to tell people how they are to hunt or how they are to control the overwhelming hog population. Provided the legislature makes it legal, and someone has the money and expertise, I see nothing wrong with using this practice to control the population provided everyone is on the same page. In addition, no one said the hogs would be wasted, I often fly in helicopters in my business and our military trained pilots can set a Bell 202 down on a postage stamp. Retrieving the animals would not be a problem. I liken this discussion to the wearing of seatbelts or helmets, they are a great ideas and will save your life if worn properly, however I believe the decision to use these safety aids should be the choice of the wearer. Unfortunatly too many people in our society have deemed something unsafe and therefore it should be illegal, this is the same thing. Every person should be responsible enough to make their own decisions about what is safe, or ethical, or sporting as long as you stay within the confines of the law. I wear my seatbelt religiously but I abhor the fact that the legislature thinks I'm too stupid or naive to make that decision for myself. Let the assault begin.
     
  14. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    I certainly appreciate your input and truly respect your opinion. I'm one hundred percent for hunting by any means legal that is deemed legal. And, if guided hunts via helicopter were allowed, I would never state a single negative comment about the topic. I just don't thing there's a snowball's chance in Hades that the leglislation becomes law. As it stands, folks in south texas, or anywhere in the state with the money can, right now, have hogs shot from the air on their property. It's just not legal to conduct 'guided hunts' from helicopters. Good hunting to you and best wishes. By the way, I was up in Jack County with my buddy Bob Hood on the Richards Ranch. Bob took a 165 pound sow but the hogs skirted clear of my oat patch. I was wishing for a helicopter, HA!!
     
  15. RPnKC

    RPnKC New Member

    Messages:
    399
    State:
    Kansas
    All of God's creatures deserve respect. Isn't it funny, the only cure for laziness is money?