Shooting Wild Pigs From Helicopters Won't Work
Even if Rick Perry thinks so in Texas: Mark Essig
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2011 1:16 PM CDT
In this 2009 photo, the shadow of a helicopter hovers over feral pigs near Mertzon, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(Newser) – A new law signed by Rick Perry will allow hunters in Texas to rent a seat on a helicopter and hunt wild pigs from the sky. It may work for Perry politically, but the scheme is a short-sighted one that won't solve the growing problem of feral pigs destroying crops and wildlife, writes Mark Essig in the New York Times. For one thing, it's cruel because the pigs often end up being only wounded. What's more, it ignores the main cause of the problem—hunters are trapping and releasing pigs into new areas to create hunting grounds.

Instead of arming helicopters, then, it makes more sense to crack down on people who are illegally transporting the pigs. North Carolina, for instance, is about to institute a $5,000-per-hog fine for anyone caught doing so. Wildlife officers can curb the problem with carefully managed hunting and trapping operations, but it will take time, writes Essig. "To solve America’s feral hog problem, we need to get down at ground level and pursue the slow, patient work of education and rational persuasion." Leave the helicopters out of it.