The hunt is on for hogs in the Panhandle.
“We fly around and shoot hogs out of the helicopter,” Shane Williams, Chief Pilot for Cedar Ridge Aviation said.
Williams and his partner Dustin Johnson work from a ranch south of Paducah. They’ve flown all over the state hunting feral hogs, including right here on the High Plains, where experts say these hogs are finding a new home.
“They’ve expanded their numbers exponentially. And they’re making their way to the Panhandle. The reproductive potential of feral hogs is crazy. If you had a bred female pig standing here in front of us today, in 33 months, she could, in her offspring, without any mortality, could yield over 1,300 hogs,” Rick Gilliland with the local USDA Wildlife Services said.
Gilliland says these non-native hogs have made homes in every county in Texas except for one, and they’re devastating farmland across the Panhandle.
That’s where teams like Cedar Ridge Aviation come in. Experts say aerial hunting is one of the most effective ways to get rid of these hogs.
Government helicopters cover some ground, but commercial aerial hunting, which was legalized in 2011, has grown as a way to supplement efforts, often at the request of farmers themselves.