Choppers, AR 15s And Explosives: Combating Feral Hogs Texas Style

REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Annabel Scott Contributor
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It may come as a surprise to some, but wild hogs are one one of the most invasive species living in our country today, wreaking havoc throughout 39 states. In fact, according to, there are up to six million feral hogs in the US alone, and over half of our country’s population can be found in the great state of Texas.

The hogs do some $400 million in land damage per year, especially on Texas farmlands and national parks. Female hogs can breed 12 piglet litters twice a year, making it hard for farmers to keep the population under control. Feral hogs also commonly carry diseases and parasites, which is why, unlike domestic pork, hog meat isn’t typically safe to consume.

The hog invasion has gotten out of hand, so hunters, farmers and landowners have decided to do something about it, Texas style.

Texas law prohibits the poisoning of the hogs and traps or fences won’t withstand the strength and intelligence of adult hogs. “Pig Hunt”, a short documentary produced by Free Media, shows the innovative ways some Texans are combating the growing hog population.

Matt Barnett, a federally licensed explosives expert, tells Pig Hunt that his weapon of choice against the hogs is­ – you guessed it – explosives.

“They are out there plowing up our crops, what do you suggest, put up a no pig sign? They’re not going to read it. What do you want to do?” Barnett tells Free Media.

Barnett makes his own explosives for the pigs by combining a non-explosive liquid with a non-explosive powder. Together, they create a lethal explosion for the hogs. Pig Hunt explains that for those who aren’t licensed explosive experts, Tannerite – an explosive you can pick up from your local outdoor store for only $7.99 – is the best choice.

While some Texans are focusing on ground tactics to eradicate the hogs, Pig Hunt found others that have taken to the sky. What do you get when you combine gun lovers, an overwhelming hog population and easy access to a helicopter? Helibacon.

Yep, you read that right. Helibacon is a company located near Houston that specializes in “helicopter hog hunts.” Pig Hunt followed father-son duo, Ronnie and Billy West, on their Helibacon in-air hunting excursion.

“This is the most fun you can have in Texas. I mean going out with my dad in a helicopter shooting a fully auto AR 15. Helping control the population of these feral hogs. You just can’t beat it,” Billy West explains in the documentary.

Ronnie, Billy’s dad, tells Pig Hunt that he has been hunting since he was a child but hunting out of a helicopter is a whole new experience. “When you first see ‘em, the adrenaline just kicks in and you just have to compose yourself and get on ‘em as quick as you can and start pulling the trigger.”

“Helibacon is the solution to the feral hog problem because were able to kill far more pigs than people hunting on the ground with night vision and/or dogs,” John Dumont, a pilot at Helibacon, explains to Free Media.

As expected, there are Texans who oppose the hunting and killing of hogs, but that won’t be stopping Matt Barnett or the West duo anytime soon.

“If someone thought hog hunting was cruel, I’d have to say well, what the pigs are doing is cruel,” jokes Barnett.

“We’re doing our thing, they’re doing their thing. If they want to rally and beat their chest about saving the whales and saving the snails and kissing the dogs, that’s up to them,” says Billy West. “I’m gonna shoot ‘em.”

He means the pigs, of course.

Billy West loves his Second Amendment rights, and like most proud Texans, he doesn’t care if the world knows it. “I think people stereotype Texans,” says West. “The truth of the matter is, we’re just like the rest of the country. We’re just a lot bigger and a lot better.”