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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: Helos Hunting Hogs?

PERSONAL

There are about 1.5 million feral pigs roaming around Texas, but if state representative Sid Miller has his way, there’s soon going to be a lot fewer of them. To cut their numbers, Miller has introduced House Bill 836 into the Texas House of Representatives. It would permit hunters to shoot feral pigs from helicopters, and authorize landowners to charge for allowing such hunts on their property.

Despite the silly nicknames that Miller’s bill has attracted – including "The Pork Chopper" and "Pigs can’t fly but hunters can’t" – the reason behind his proposed law is very serious. According to Miller, these "wild hogs" [actually descendants of domesticated pigs gone wild] cause more than $50 million worth of damage to Texas property and crops annually. "They also carry cholera, foot-and-mouth disease and rabies," he told Rotor & Wing. "I don’t know of one county that doesn’t have wild hogs. They’re encroaching on urban areas, golf courses; people are even running them over with their cars!"

Miller’s "Aporkalypse Now" bill is waiting to be sent to a House committee for detailed consideration. (The bill is online at www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/billtext/html/HB00836I.htm.) He says that his law is getting a lot of support there. "Even my urban legislators have been very supportive of it," Miller noted. "They realize what economic damage these hogs can cause."

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