Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Hot Air Balloon Hog and Coyote Hunting Legalized in Texas

When it comes to hunting hogs and coyotes, lawmakers in Texas are trying to give hunters a new option. Wild hogs, and particularly feral hogs, are not only dangerous to other animals and people, the wild beasts also cause an estimated $80 to $90 million in property damages each year in Texas alone.

To combat the feral hog problem, Texas just passed a law to allow hog hunters to shoot feral hogs from a hot air balloon. Under this new law, coyotes may also be hunted by balloon as well. However, before the law can go into effect, it still must be approved by the state governor, though it is unlikely to be denied as there is a compelling need.

When Hunters Fly, Pigs Die

The state already allows hog seeking hunters to shoot from low flying helicopters. However, hot air balloons are expected to be more effective due to the fact that they are much quieter than helicopters, not to mention much steadier. What the hunters miss out on in excitement when shooting from a fast moving helicopter, should be made up for in accuracy.

For non-hunters, it may sound crass, but feral hogs are a real problem that threaten the lives and safety of livestock, other domestic animals, and even people. Prior to this bill being approved, a plan to utilize poison to control the constant repopulation of feral hogs was set aside over concerns that the poison would lead to unintended animal casualties.

Details of the Law

Among one of the reasons for allowing this new method of hunting feral hogs is to encourage more hunters to get out there. Although helicopter hog hunting is legal, it is much more costly than hot air balloon hunting.

For those interested in hunting feral hogs from a hot air balloon in Texas, there are still some legal requirements. Not surprisingly, the requirements mirror those for helicopter hog hunting. A person must either own the land being hunted on, or be a qualified agent of the land owner. This later requirement merely seems to require being permitted by the landowner to help remove feral hogs and coyotes, and only requires that an individual not have a serious criminal history, particularly one related to trafficking in illegal wildlife.

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