From Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
-- Effective Sept. 1, qualified individuals can pay to take depredating feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter under rules adopted Aug. 25 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
Feral hog populations in Texas are estimated at upwards of 2 million.
According to a Texas Department of Agriculture study, each hog is responsible for $50 to $500 in damage to agriculture and wildlife habitat annually.
The commission approved permit requirements for the new law aimed at helping manage feral hogs or coyotes by allowing qualified landowners or their agents to participate in management of feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter.
Previously, a person was prohibited from paying, bartering or exchanging anything of value to participate as a gunner or observer from an aircraft.
About 130 helicopter operations are currently permitted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to conduct aerial management of depredating feral hogs or coyotes. The new rules permit qualified landowners or their qualified agents to pay these helicopter operators to participate in aerial operations.
To qualify, landowners or landowner agents must have on file with TPWD a completed Landownerís Authorization to Manage Wildlife or Exotic Animals by Aircraft form. There is no application fee to become qualified, and the authorization does not take effect an authorization number is issued.
Individuals convicted of a federal Lacey Act violation, or a Parks and Wildlife Code Class A misdemeanor or felony, are prohibited from obtaining an aerial management permit, and from being a gunner, observer or pilot under an aerial management permit.