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Texas considering aerial hunting on wild pigs due to crop damages

By Roger Corral     Feb 19, 2009 in Environment
With wild pigs destroying thousands of crops across Texas, state officials work on a proposed bill to allow aerial hunting to control the growing population.
Add wild pigs to the country's hunting list, right next to bears and wolves.
No, the pigs haven't begun to eat humans (yet), but the damage they are causing in many Texas ranches and farms has taken its toll in the agricultural business.
State Rep. Sid Miller is proposing a new bill that will allow the hunting of the animal with the use of a helicopter, by issuing permits to weekend sportsmen, who aren't allowed to hunt for the animal.
Due to the restrictions imposed on hunters, an estimated 1,100 permits were issued in Texas last year to kill hogs from the air.
The 300 pound animal is known for its aggressive manners, but despite popular belief, it rarely attacks humans for food consumptions and instead, prefers to eat anything else put in it's way such as acorns, nuts, pecans, various insects and small animals such as young deer and birds.
Their aggressive behavior is the cause behind damage done across crop fields in Texas, as they eat anything that comes within their path, causing over $400 million in annual damage
"I've had numerous calls and complaints that someone needs to do something," Miller said. "We're losing ground on this problem."
The proposal is controversial because if approved, it could be the first program of its kind in the nation, after the act of aerial hunting was made illegal by Congress under the Airborne Hunting Act in 1971.
"I think it can prove to be very dangerous because anybody can fly around and shoot all the animals they deem a threat," said Daniel Marquez, whose family owns a ranch in Austin,TX.
In 2007, California State Rep. George Miller launched the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act, an effort to stop such actions for any purposes.
Wild pigs aren't allowed for consumption by U.S. agriculture regulations, so their carcasses would be left lying around.
Other states, such as Alaska, have been able to reverse law to allow aerial hunting, but only to control predators who may hurt civilians.
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