8 Reasons Helicopter Hog Hunting Should be on Your Bucket List

8 Reasons Helicopter Hog Hunting Should be on Your Bucket List

Wild pigs are a major problem in America, and they pose a significant threat to our native game species. Hogs were brought to this country by farmers and hunters over a century ago, but since that time the pigs have managed to escape captivity and have taken up residence in 45 of the 50 states.

Wild pigs damage agricultural crops, pastures, residential areas, and levees, and they pose a significant threat to native wild game populations. A variety of different methods have been employed to control hog populations, but very few have proven effective at significantly reducing the number of pigs in an area.

One method that has proven effective in many areas, however, is shooting hogs from helicopters. Unlike other methods that take only a select few hogs from a much larger population, helicopter eradication has proven to be an effective means for controlling hog populations. Each year more and more people are catching on to helicopter hogging, and once you've tried it you'll understand why.

Here are eight reasons you need to scribble "helicopter hog hunting" on to your bucket list today.


1. Protect Native Species

Hogs aren't native to this continent, so they provide competition for limited resources and place native species at risk. Deer, wild sheep, elk, and wild turkey are but a few of the species that compete with pigs for resources, and in areas where pig populations are high and where resources are highly limited, these native species can face die-offs. Reducing hog numbers preserves wild game.

2. Protect Farmers and Food Prices

Wild pigs thrive in agricultural areas, and a single large sounder (group of pigs) can wipe out an entire crop field in a single night. Farmers who raise peanuts and corn are particularly at risk, and wild hog crop damage is estimated at 1.5 billion a year. This loss, in turn, drives food prices higher as crops are limited.

3. Learn About Wildlife

Any days spent riding in a helicopter in search of hogs is like a master's course in ecology. From the air you'll see a variety of wildlife that you wouldn't otherwise see, and you'll find out where game animals spend their time. That's not to say that you are using hog hunting as a means to scout for other game, but rather the things you see will make you a better hunter. Spending time in the air will help you learn to identify likely bedding and feeding habitat and better understand where wildlife species spend their days.

4. It's Effective

Trapping and hunting pigs on the ground may put a small dent in the population, but with each sow becoming sexually mature at 6 months of age and capable of producing up to 20 piglets a year, ground techniques aren't very effective at reducing hog numbers.

Aerial eradication efforts, however, have legitimate potential to reduce the number of hogs in an area, and even though hog hunting is expensive, it actually makes a significant difference in the number of pigs in an area — and the amount of damage they cause.

5. Become a Better Shooter

To say that shooting hogs from the air is difficult would be an understatement. It's hard to hit a running target on solid ground, and when you're in a moving helicopter it's even more difficult. You'll immediately understand the value of a good, crisp trigger, and you'll learn not to squeeze your rifle too hard (tense muscles make the sights jump with the vibrations of the chopper). If you are one of the millions of Americans that now own an AR-platform rifle, then you already have the perfect gun for aerial hog eradication. Buy a good reflex or red dot sight and a few 25 round magazines and you're ready to go.

6. Boost Local Economies

Remote regions of the country that have already seen economic loss due to hogs are benefitting from aerial hog shoots. These rural areas not only benefit from reduced hog numbers, they also reap the financial benefits of having more sportsmen in town spending money on things like licenses, food and drinks, and hotel rooms.

7. Meat to Eat

Wild pigs, particularly small pigs, provide a low-fat, inexpensive alternative to farm-grown pork. After a pig is down, partners on the ground can be radioed to pick it up, or sometimes the position of the pig can be marked for retrieval later. In many cases the landowner has right to the pigs you take, so always be sure and check with them before taking any meat.

8. It's Fun

There's nothing quite like taking pigs from a moving helicopter. It's exciting and extremely challenging, and after you've done it once, you're likely going to be hooked for life. It's more fun if you are shooting well, but that comes with time, and after a few pigs you'll get the hang of shooting from the moving helicopter. Not only are aerial hog shoots a lot of fun, you're helping protect local farmers and save native wildlife.

Recommended for You

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention SHOT Show

HUNTING's Booth Babes of SHOT Show 2014

David Draper - January 21, 2014

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention

Every hunter needs a rimfire workhorse for varmints and predators. Guns

Best Rimfire Rifles for 2019

Keith Wood - April 23, 2019

Every hunter needs a rimfire workhorse for varmints and predators.

Smaller and lighter, sub-gauge shotguns are making a resurgence in the turkey woods. Guns

Sub-Gauge Shotguns for Turkey Hunting

Larry Case

Smaller and lighter, sub-gauge shotguns are making a resurgence in the turkey woods.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 8: Midnight Sun Grizzlies

Kevin Steele and CZ-USA's Jason Morton return to Alaska's arctic tundra for Kevin's second and Jason's third attempt on the legendary species. Things are looking up on day one but time will tell if the boys will get a shot a the king of the tundra.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades. Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range hunting: trajectory, wind drift, impact velocity, and accuracy. Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range...

These rounds have proven themselves most worthy in the field. Ammo

America's Top 10 Big Game Cartridges

Joseph von Benedikt

These rounds have proven themselves most worthy in the field.

See More Stories

More Other Game

Kevin Steele and Tony Miele arrive in Texas to hunt with James Jeffrey of Lost Horizon Outfitters Other Game

Pre-Christmas Handgun Fallow Deer Hunt

PHTV Adventures - June 27, 2017

Kevin Steele and Tony Miele arrive in Texas to hunt with James Jeffrey of Lost Horizon...

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring. Other Game

Today's Updated Turkey Hunting Gear

Joe Arterburn

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring.

Kevin Steele combs through the Puerto Rican jungle trying to eradicate an overgrowth of green Other Game

Managing Green Iguanas

PHTV Adventures - June 26, 2015

Kevin Steele combs through the Puerto Rican jungle trying to eradicate an overgrowth of green

See More Other Game

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.