Texas House Gives Final OK to "Pork Chopper" Bill

James Stone's ranch outside of Lockhart, TX on May 10, 2011. Hogs have hobbled Stone's property, ruining pasture land, killing trees and damaging fences. He estimates taking out over 500 hogs during the last three years.
James Stone's ranch outside of Lockhart, TX on May 10, 2011. Hogs have hobbled Stone's property, ruining pasture land, killing trees and damaging fences. He estimates taking out over 500 hogs during the last three years.

The Texas House gave a final OK today to the "pork chopper" bill and sent it off to the governor's office. The bill would allow licensed hunters to hire helicopters and contract with landowners to shoot feral hogs and coyotes on their property from the sky. The Senate approved the measure last week but changed the wording of the bill slightly to give the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department more authority to regulate who can pay for helicopter hunts. 

State Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, said feral hogs are becoming problematic even in urban areas like the one he represents, and asked whether feral hogs had any natural predators. 

Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, the author of bill, said no. "Man is the biggest predator, and I'm trying to increase that predation through this bill," Miller said. 

The bill passed with a vote of 141-1, and is now headed to Gov. Rick Perry's desk. The only vote against the measure came from Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville.

Check out the Tribune's interactive data visualization to see the current demand for helicopter hunting by landowners, how many hogs Texans have already killed from the sky and landowners' reported reasons for needing to kill hogs.

 

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