Balloons Might Be Used to Fight Hogs in Texas - Atlas Obscura
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Balloons Might Be Used to Fight Hogs in Texas

The state is home to, they say, way too many.

Some feral hogs.
Some feral hogs. NASA/Public Domain

No one really knows what to do about the 1.5 million feral hogs that run rampant across the state of Texas, destroying crops, with few local predators to keep them in check.

Some hunters have taken, in recent years, to so-called “pork choppers”—really just ordinary helicopters—and to target hogs from the air, despite expert warnings that the effectiveness of the technique is limited at best. Not to mention that the hogs appear to have learned to run from the sound of helicopter rotors.

Other solutions, such as trapping, are similarly inadequate, which helped lead two state legislators to propose legislation that would allow the shooting of hogs from balloons, which are quieter and more stable than pork choppers. The bill passed the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday with no opposition. It is now headed to the Texas Senate, where its prospects are uncertain.

The problem, though, as the Houston Chronicle explained, might be that, “operators can’t steer a balloon like a helicopter pilot can direct a chopper,” meaning that “balloons used in a hog hunt wouldn’t be able to pursue the animals running across the countryside to escape being shot.”

It seems the hogs will continue to breed to their heart’s content in the Texas wilderness, unaware that while they might lose a lot of little battles, they’re still winning the war.