We had to revisit this and find out, has anyone hunted feral hogs from a hot air balloon?
While searching through some of our post archives here at Wide Open Spaces, this one stuck out as one of those that's shocking when you hear it, but then seems to get lost in the static as the 24/7 news cycle continues onward.
What's viral today gets forgotten tomorrow, but this was well worth checking back in on.
It's been about a year and a half since Texas lawmakers approved the hunting of feral hogs via hot air balloon, and we're wondering: has anyone tried it? The hog problem hasn't gotten better since then, and
A pretty extensive search says if anyone has, they haven't shared news or recordings of it online.
Texas Monthly checked in on the situation not long after the decision was made, but they said at the time, "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has not granted any of the permits needed for hot air balloon hunting."
But other than a helicopter, there aren't really any aircrafts that can hold steady enough to get good shots off. Come to think of it, a hot air balloon wouldn't exactly be a great method, since you can't really travel that fast. One change of direction by the pigs, and they're probably out of range in a hurry.
And does the wind play a factor? You need the right conditions to fly a hot air balloon, but are they conducive to a hog hunt? Will your scent blow downwards, or could you sneak up on them from above?
We're getting ahead of ourselves. It's likely just down to logistical liability, and the fact that balloonists and hunters aren't too likely to intermingle in the big scheme of things. That's conjecture, but if we're being honest, they probably don't hang out at the same bars, ya know?
Look, we know the feral hog population is out of control, and we're behind the "any and all" methodology when it comes to eradicating them, but you've got to stay realistic.
You've got to get landowners permission, find a hot air balloonist who's in agreement, and do it in a safe environment. And even though hog hunting is popular enough to wear a t-shirt about it, it's hard to believe it would be all that viable.
Feral hog hunting should be taken into full consideration, and we're even behind the folks who've found ways to make money off of it. In fact, those calls actually look like they might work...
But to be honest, it barely makes a dent, and something like a hot air balloon gives no perceived advantage over the multitudes of other hunting or trapping methods being used.
So why did the Texas legislature feel it necessary to put this sort of thing in the law book? It was Texas State Representative Mark Keough, a Republican pastor from The Woodlands near Houston, who introduced Texas House Bill 3535 in the first place, and said, according to a statement, that it "will open a whole new industry towards eliminating the growing population of feral hogs in the State of Texas."
We might not know if it's truly a thing until someone tries it out.
So we're sending out a call: do any of you know if this has been done? Should it be done? Send us a message or comment on Facebook and let us know if you have any intel.