Across the Brazos Valley wild hogs roam freely, trampling, fences, deer feeders, crops and eating anything in their path. Now imagine the problems they cause across Texas. A simple estimation of the numbers puts them at millions. Millions weighing hundreds of pounds and multiplying quickly. But they had better watch their hairy backs because a state lawmaker is proposing to allow ordinary Texans with rifles and shotguns to shoot the voracious, tusked animals from helicopters.
For years, ranchers in the Lone Star State have hired professional hunters in choppers to thin the hogs' fast-multiplying ranks.
Now state Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, wants to bring more firepower to the task by issuing permits to sportsmen.
If approved, it could be the first program of its kind in the nation.
Some other states, including Gov. Sarah Palin's Alaska, allow aerial hunting, but that's only to control predators, such as bears and wolves.
Miller gave assurances the hunting would be closely regulated.
Details were scarce on such things as how many hunters would be allowed to take part, and how many hogs they would be permitted to kill.
Many hunters and landowners will probably leave the carcasses in the field, just as they do now.
Wild hogs that are gunned down cannot be sold for meat under U.S. agriculture regulations.
Agriculture experts say an estimated 2 million wild hogs are causing $52 million a year in damages to Texas crops, and the pasture-wrecking porkers are causing trouble well beyond farms.
Authorities in Texas are reporting an increase in collisions between hogs and cars, while golf courses and suburbs are increasingly finding turf uprooted by hogs.
News 3 will keep you updated on the proposed legislation.