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New Law Allows Pig Hunting from the Air

STEPHENS CO., Okla_ Hunters in Oklahoma will now be allowed to use helicopters to find feral pigs and to shoot and kill them from the air. That's the result of a new law that went into effect Friday.

Whether they're tearing up crop fields or just your backyard, these pigs can create huge problems for property owners. The law is an effort to try to reduce the damage, by giving hunters a new way to track them down. They are more commonly called wild pigs, but they really aren't as wild as you may think. These pigs were actually once domestic pigs that escaped and breed with wild boar creating the feral pig.

Feral pigs are nothing new to the area, and neither is the damage they cause.

"They're always there," Stephens County Farmer David Johnson, Jr. said.  "They're out there on the edges of the wheat fields or rooting up the Bermuda grass, or just running across the pasture."

Johnson said not only do they damage his wheat fields; they never seem to go away.

"Every now and then, the game warden comes in with the helicopters and shoots them all up," Johnson said. "Within a year or two, they are back to being at epidemic levels again."

Keeping their population under control is a huge problem. A female can have up to ten offspring per litter, twice per year. Those offspring can reproduce after six months. Other than constantly multiplying, they have very few known predators and are highly adaptable.

"They're looking for grubs, and I guess other insects," Johnson said. "Basically they'll come in an area where they find a population of those, skim the grass right off the top of the grass, and turn it over."

Brad Babek said the territory golf course has seen more of these pigs than in years past, and this time they are coming right up on the golf course.

"This time, it's definitely been a lot more damage and a lot more of a nuisance than in the past," Babek said.

Even in the more urban parts of Stephens County, people have reported that these pigs are tearing up their backyards. This is a problem that's widespread, and it's probably not going away anytime soon.

"I don't think there is anyway you can control the population," Babek said.

If you have a couple grand and want to hunt these pigs from up above, aviation hunting services are popular in Texas. With this new law, they may soon make their way to Oklahoma. Feral pigs can be hunted from sunrise to sunset without a license, except during deer and elk season.



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