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Shooting Hogs from Balloons Could Soon Be a Reality in Texas

The state legislature just passed a bill to legalize the practice, because apparently hunting them from helicopters was too noisy.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
May 25, 2017, 3:30pm
Photos of hot air balloons and a feral hog via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons, respectively

Texans are just one signature away from being able to load up a rifle, hop in a hot air balloon, and rain down a torrential hellfire of bullets on the state's feral hog population.

On Wednesday, the Texas legislature passed a bill that would legalize feral hog and coyote hunting from a hot air balloon, the Associated Press reports. If Governor Greg Abbott signs the bill into law, residents can go after as many of the beasts as they can bag anytime they want. All they'll need is a license from the state.

Texas has struggled with its wild hog problem for years. Roughly 2 million live in the state and cause more than $50 million in damage to crops each year, according to the Texas Observer. Back in 2011, a state rep tried to cut down the hog population with the "pork chopper" bill, which made it legal to gun down the critters from a helicopter. And people actually did it.

But helicopters are loud, and wobbly, and expensive; even if hunters could afford such a trip, they wound up scaring the hogs away before they could get a clear shot at them. According to state representative Mark Keough—who sponsored the hot air balloon bill—the vehicle offers a quieter, more stable platform from which gunmen can shoot.

"It's far safer than if you were hunting out of a helicopter," he told the Observer. "We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things. It's part of the culture, it's different than any other state."

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