Heli-Hogging: Fighting America’s Pig Problem Through the Air

America has a hog problem. And it’s going to get worse before it gets any better. What started as a nuisance for Southern landowners has grown into a full-fledged epidemic as wild hog populations have spread like wildfire throughout the Deep South and California. Conservative estimates put the total US population at 6 million. Females are able to reproduce at just six months old, and can have two litters of six to eight (and often as many as 12) piglets every year.

Here’s what feral hogs can do to a yard in just a few hours

Unchecked, the hog population can TRIPLE every three years.

But it gets so much worse. Wild hogs wreak havoc on their ecosystem. They kill fawns and young livestock. They destroy crops. They outcompete native species for food. They turn fields of grass and vegetation into mud pits. And when they exhaust all available food from an area, they move on to a new one, repeating the process and leaving decimated land in their wake. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that hogs cost an estimated $1.5 billion each year in damages and control costs.

While the hog epidemic has caused problems for farmers and landowners, it has also created a unique opportunity for hunters. In many southern states, hogs may be taken year-round on private property with no bag limit (check state laws first). Spot-and-stalk hunting, stand hunting, baiting and trapping are all viable and all fun.

But the MOST fun? It’s gotta be heli-hoggin’.

If you’ve never heard of it, buckle in. For a fee, you can experience the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of sitting in a helicopter gunner seat while a skilled pilot takes you to known hog hang-outs and lets you blast away at moving targets.

 

 

Heli-Hogging is among the hottest new destination hunting opportunities available in the US, and trips are often booked months in advance. You call one of guide services and arrange a time and place. Hunts can take flight over privately-owned land (with owner permission), and many guide services have their own hunting grounds. Pork Choppers Aviation, for example, has over 100,000 acres…so no matter what, you’ll be covering a lot of ground. Most guides make it a point to fly over dense brush in river bottoms, cultivated land, mesquite, and other types of terrain to give you as much variety as possible. A select few services even allow you to heli-hunt your own land!

You can bring your own magazine-fed AR or shotgun, but pretty much every company is willing to provide you a fully-kitted AR and all the ammo you can shoot. When you arrive, expect to take both a helicopter safety course and an aerial gunnery course.


Typically, you’ll be going up two at a time in a Robinson R22 or R44 helicopter, as they’re agile and fast. Pilots are typically very skilled and experienced, and—*most* of the time—you can expect to have the opportunity to kill 20 hogs in two hours. Companies like Pork Choppers Aviation will even record the hunt and edit the video for you! That way you’ll have something to show your friends when you’re bragging.

As for what happens to the dead hogs, some companies leave the meat to the vultures and other scavengers. Some companies donate it. As a general rule, you’re not going to get the best-tasting boar from a helicopter shoot: once the adrenaline courses through the meat, it becomes tough. And nothing gets a hog’s adrenaline pumping like being chased by a helicopter. Point being, you’re not going to get much meat out of the deal. But that’s about the only downside.

Imagine it. The heart-pounding excitement as the chopper’s blade spools up. The rush of skimming the tree tops and watching hogs flush from the relative safety of cover. And you, dumping mag after mag into the invasive animals below. There’s nothing like it.

It’s an opportunity to have some good-old American fun while also helping the environment. And the silver lining? Heli-hoggin’ has brought quite a few tourism dollars to the state of Texas. Companies like HeliBacon, a guide service operating out of Bryan, Texas, are helping Texans offset the cost of hog management while offering shooters and hunters a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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61 Responses to “Heli-Hogging: Fighting America’s Pig Problem Through the Air”

  1. wayne yocum

    I would love to do this. please have them contact me with pricing.

    Reply
    • Sean@SportsmansGuide

      This trip was done with HELIBACON. But there are other outfits that do this with a simple web search. Texas, Especially.

      It’s not cheap, but it’s a bucketlist type hunt.

      Here is what I was able to find for HeliBacon’s pricing.

      https://www.helibacon.com/helibacon-pricing/

      (We do not have any affiliation officially, or receive any promotional money from HeliBacon. Just giving you a peek behind the curtain.)

      Reply
  2. Jack Zerkel

    Looks like fun !

    Reply
  3. Chris hines

    Love to do this with my son
    Would like to be contacted and pricing thanks

    Reply
  4. Aint So

    Hmmm…….king of smacks of Buffalo Bill hunting from a train. An opportunity for fun mass killing, and the means and the fun are justified because they are environmentally friendly. Have no problem with the eradication of a nuisance. Have a lot of trouble appreciating the mind that embraces mass slaughter of living beings as a sport like say…. football or sustenance hunting of deer or turkeys. Maybe I’m just new fashioned about killing stuff but the personal or socially constructive value of the mentality behind this really escapes me and I am a “gun nut” if there ever was one.

    Reply
    • MattyVac

      Huge difference here. Firstly, Buffalo Bill was killing American bison to starve the Natives. The Heli-hunters are killing hogs and benefitting not only the environment, including the native wildlife, but farmers, ranchers, and the locals who run these hunts. You’ve taken the one possible negative aspect, and assumed the worst of all the participants. Your claim of being a “gun nut” is not only insulting but irrelevant. Your use of the phrase ‘living beings’ and other sanctimonious language is not that of a hunter or protector. We carry the burden that many won’t shoulder, knowing full well we are taking a life, but also that it is necessary. Maybe there are some who are guilty of bloodlust, but even inside the chopper, there is an abiding respect for the pigs, and a desire to have a positive influence on the environment, along with the excitement of being in a helicopter. Animal control is not uncommon from the air, and is used widely out west for coyote amelioration. It sounds like you might lose sleep over things like mosquito control operations, for the widespread killing of ‘living things’ for our own comfort. And what would one say about using antibiotics to cure an infection? Talk about the millions of living beings that die, just so one could live.

      Reply
  5. Aloysius Fornortener

    As I participated in Airborne Operations venturing from either side of a Navy Huey (yes…we had some…not many…but we did use them as effective firepoints…) in the Delta in Vietnam……I will tell you that this method of extermination of such a destructive horrible pest is the way to go. I’m a “geezer” now, (66), but plan on determining the best airborne pig shooting company to spend a few grand, or more, with for a number of days of pig eradication. This is going to be fun and ecologically beneficial.

    Reply
  6. Jason Nelson

    I’m in

    Reply
  7. Paul Beardsley

    I would like to what the pricing for the hog hunting in florida

    Reply
  8. Rene R Martinez Sr

    Please call me on pricing I actually have access to the ranches To hunt
    Rene R Martinez Sr

    Reply
  9. MD

    How much ? I’m all in . Sounds like a great Idea to enjoy and train with your firearm.

    Reply
  10. Neil Mac

    If they’re going to be effective, I think they’ll need to mount an M60 (or M134 Mini) on those birds… shouldn’t be too big a problem in TX… But I can hear PETA screaming from 1500 miles..

    Reply
    • Fred Hauseur IV

      Neil, so can I.. but People Eating Tasty Animals would be drooling from 5 miles away and lighting the BBQ’s for your hunt…

      Reply
  11. Matt Leeland

    Would love to do this so awesome

    Reply
  12. Craig Berger

    Would love to take my son on this

    Reply
  13. Dennis Ray Wall

    I worked at Bell Helicopter in the 90s. I was in the Video/Motion Picture Dept. I flew a Bell 206 Longranger once while we were shooting Air-to-Air Taping. This would be a gas! I’ve shot a lot of Video Productions with Cameras but shooting an AR-15 from the helicopter would be a first for me. You guys keep it Safe! I’ll be rooting for you! Haha!

    Reply
  14. Lore Miller

    It’s our duty to help fellow Americans out with this problem. Send prices

    Reply
  15. Eric Stauffer

    Would love to do this with a small group of guys.
    Please contact me with pricing.
    Thanks
    Eric

    Reply
    • Brandon Ezell

      We have a Spring Special going for $6999!!!
      *4hrs of helicopter time in R44
      *1-4 shooters. (Only 2 shooters at once due to weight limitations
      *Suppressed Ar-15

      Reply
  16. Gerald Meadows

    Sounds like fun. Please send me some hog hunting prices. Thanks.

    Reply
  17. Aaron

    How much does it typically cost.

    Reply
  18. FRANK R. OWENS

    I’m like Wayne and many others. I would love to know more. I’m all in. I’d like pricing also.

    Reply
  19. brad reisdorf

    Heck with the AR, I got the M-14’S WHOOOHOOO like clamp two together and use the BMF Activator and crank out some rounds

    Reply
  20. Greg

    I understand they are a big problem. But do the hogs killed get picked up and used or just left to rot. I always eat what I kill….

    Reply
  21. John ratteree

    Would like to take a hel- Hogg trip with my son please send particulars

    Reply
  22. Rex Armer

    Would love to try need prices and locations

    Reply
  23. Harold gilbert

    I would really like to do this. Looks like a lot of fun. I would like to know the price of one of these hunts. Please let me know. thank you

    Reply
  24. Bruce Beddoe

    What’s the cost? Can I bring home meat?

    Reply
  25. Larry Jackson

    I am an old geezer from South Georgia. We have a terrible hog problem here, but I would love to help eradicate hogs anywhere they are a problem from a helicopter. I was a Door Gunner in Vietnam on an OH-6A Cayuse, (called a loach) LOH. Light Observation Helicopter. This would be right up my alley, make me feel right at home. On a fixed income now but would still love to go help with the problem if I could.

    Reply
  26. Morgan short

    Would love this experience!!!!!😄

    Reply
  27. Jeff Oakes

    Where do I sign the release form? Not concerned on cost, this is a bucket list event😀!!!

    Reply
  28. william gearing

    I am 73 son is 49 we would like to do this
    Please send info and pricing

    Reply
  29. rod sparby

    sure looks like fun!! let me in on pricing & availability . i,d like to blast the PISS out of them!!

    Reply
  30. Bill Matoka

    Need some sort of pricing.Looks like fun,better than Coon hunting

    Reply
  31. Peter ruffini

    Wow what a trip would love to go

    Reply
  32. Jom Bicho

    I would love to heli-hog hunt!

    Reply
  33. Charles L Preston

    would love to do this , missing leg would be great way to hunt … how much is this be .

    Reply
  34. Ken Bufalini

    I’m in. Please contact me regarding pricing…

    Reply
  35. Albert Ferri

    Good luck to everyone! And hope to win!

    Reply
  36. eric campbell

    would love to take my daughter and do this

    Reply
  37. jef

    finger in trigger guard during reload, not good.

    Reply
  38. Don Goldammer

    I would love to do this with my daughter. She is my middle daughter at 34 and loves to hunt. She also thinks she can out shooting me. Fat chance. Please have them send me the different prices.
    Thanks

    Reply
  39. joe abela

    please have them get in touch with me, I would love to try it and how much it cost thanks

    Reply
  40. Ed brazis

    I would like to find out availability and pricing for 2 people.

    Reply
  41. Terry McAdams

    I would really like to take my son on a hunt like this, we don’t get to spend a lot of time together and he would have a ball, the last time we got to hunt together,a hawk carried a skunk on top of my blind and we like to have never found that stink, it was really funny, best times are times like that , hope we get a chance to join you.

    Reply
    • Tom

      I have done this before and I got scammed. Do a lot of research before you spend at least $2000 an hour. I never shot at a hog. This company seems to have a good reputation. There our plenty out there that don’t

      Reply
  42. Edward MacKeverican

    What is the cost for this type of Hog Hunt.

    Reply
  43. Rob Fulcher

    Looks like FUN Would love to do it .

    Reply
  44. Fred Hauseur IV

    I would love to do this. I live in Nevada and have some really cool AR’s in 5.56 and 300 Blackout. I think that the 458 SOCOM would be even better if it was not for loosing the brass out of the helo. maybe rig up a brass catcher for mine. I would like to have the opportunity to visit Texas and go night hunting for hogs/boars as well. I have lots of good boar/hog guns. it was fun watching the pork falling in the fields.

    Reply
  45. sparks

    Man this looks like a blast! I’m definitely going to do this before I leave this world.

    Reply
  46. gustavo alvarado

    contact me with pricing

    Reply
  47. Robin DeLima

    My wife and I would love to have opportunity to hunt some pigs with the Heli-Hogging crew, sound pretty awesome

    Reply
  48. Ben Brink

    I lived 16 years in TX and hunted a private ranch. Hogs and coyotes have 2 things in common: You’ll
    never be able to kill them all; and if 1 ranch plays host to them, then all the NEIGHBORS have them
    too. That suggests changes in the “My land is my sanctuary” attitude which is par for the course in TX. Thank you.

    Reply
  49. Andrew Karpowicz

    I would love just to go hunt some hogs on foot, but a hilocopter would be insane. Anyone know what a traditional hog hunt will cost? Problem hasn’t spread to Ohio yet, so would need to travel to do some hog smashing. Have my AR10 ready and good to go.

    Reply
  50. Jeremy R Powers

    I would love to shoot some hogs like that. What is the price?

    Reply
  51. Jason Oliver

    As long as it’s being done lawfully. I don’t see a issue with it especially in the heavy overpopulated area’s. I’d expect someone offended by it what else is new, but these aren’t the safest animals to hunt on the ground. Definitely would be interested.

    Reply
  52. David Pugh

    This would be an awesome hunt on my 50th birthday that’s coming up on May 4th please have them contact me Thank you

    Reply