Texas has a feral hog problem. It's so much of a problem, in fact, that the Senate just passed a bill making it legal for permit-holding Texans to hunt wild pigs by hot air balloon.
House Bill 3535 — which also covers coyotes — is meant to give hog hunters an alternative to using helicopters to go after the estimated two million wild pigs that run wild in the state. While the “pork chopper” method was mildly effective at first, the hogs have learned to recognize the whir of rotating helicopter blades.
While unorthodox, hot air balloon hunting could prove quite useful. In addition to creating a new tourism industry, reducing the hog population via death from above would help Texas cut down the amount of damage (more than $50 million according to Texas A&M) the hogs do each year.
“We’ve got a problem here, and we are willing to fix it ourselves,” Keough told The Texas Observer. “We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things. It’s part of the culture, it’s different than any other state.”
The bill, which will likely made law by Governor Greg Abbot, is easy to ridicule. But as someone who lives in New York, if someone found a way to eliminate rats and roaches using hot air balloons, we’d do the same thing.