Monday, April 4, 2011

Shooting Hogs and Coyotes from the Sky

If you are a farmer or rancher looking to make some extra money in an economy that has been difficult recently for people who make their living off the land, the Texas House just passed a measure that may help you in your search for income. By a vote of 137-9, the legislators offered their support for Texans to shoot feral hogs and coyotes from a helicopter.

This hunting practice is already legal in instances in which the landowners pay a contractor to take a seat in the helicopter and aim at the animals. With this new legislation, Texans could sell seats and the opportunity to shoot to other individuals for a profit.

The animals that are the target, literally, of House Bill 716 are seen as a nuisance and pests to many in the area. In particular, the one to four million feral pigs that reside within the borders of our fine state cost us $400 million in damages every year.

Opponents of the measure, and apparently there are not many, at least not in the House, criticize the practice as barbaric or state a concern for the safety of innocent people who may be standing anywhere near the gunner's line of fire.

The bill must now go to the Senate, a body in which it is not expected to receive such an overwhelming endorsement.

What are your thoughts on the for-profit hunting measure approved by the House today? Are these animals, which are present in every Texas county and seemingly in greater numbers all the time, really a problem that needs to be addressed? Have you had a negative experience dealing with coyotes or feral hogs where you live? Please let me know your thoughts!

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