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Unlawful aerial hog hunters could get grounded

| Dec 9, 2020 | Ag Law |

Hogs destroy incredible amounts of farmland every year. While hunting them from the air has become a popular way to protect land, getting clearance for flight doesn’t come without strict standards.

The damage to Texas agriculture from feral pigs comes to over $50 million per year. House Bill 716, also known as the “pork chopper” bill, allows you or an appointee to take to the skies to slow the harm this invasive species can bring. But there could be a hefty price waiting for those that don’t follow the rules.

Specific targets

Businesses flying helicopters and hot air balloons have popped up all over the state as an alternative way to put a dent in the state’s almost 3 million hogs. But leaving the ground doesn’t mean leaving regulations behind, and there are some very specific standards for those looking to thin the numbers:

  • Permission: You will need to grant formal approval to the gunner paying for the trip. You’ll need a Texas Parks & Wildlife Landowner’s Authorization to Manage Wildlife or Exotic Animals by Aircraft. The documents will have to be signed, stamped and numbered by the office.
  • Qualifications: You or your chosen agent may be unable to get the green light with marks on your record. Convictions, delayed judgments or pleas of no contest to certain violations of the Parks & Wildlife Code or the Lacey Act can bar you from participating.
  • Regulations: Only hogs and coyotes on specified private property fit the bill. Shooting animals on someone else’s property without permission or any sport hunting could lead to serious fallout. You may be looking at penalties for both state and federal laws.

Protecting your land isn’t always easy, but every bit helps. When the aid comes from the air, it’s important to know the rules.

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