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Proposal would allow shooting wild hogs from a helicopter in SC


Proposal would allow shooting wild hogs from a helicopter in SC

Nov 17, 2023 | 2:05 pm ET
By Abraham Kenmore
Proposal would allow shooting wild hogs from a helicopter in SC
Feral hogs root around in a field. The hogs cause an estimated $115 million of damage in South Carolina each year. (Provided/Marion Barnes, Clemson Extension)

COLUMBIA — For anyone wanting to hunt wild hogs from a helicopter in South Carolina, there’s new legislation to allow it.

The proposal sponsored by Rep. Bill Hixon to allow aerial hunting of feral hogs was one of dozens pre-filed Thursday ahead of the 2024 legislative session.

“The state of Georgia does it. And Texas does it. And some of the people who have these big plantations would like to be able to do it,” said Hixon, chairman of the House’s natural resources committee.

The law would allow the Department of Natural Resources to issue permits for aerial hunting to manage wild hog populations for safety and to protect property but not for sport. Failing to follow those rules would be a misdemeanor.

No aerial hunting would be allowed on property less than 1,000 acres.

“It’s not like you can take a helicopter up and hunt an acre or five acres,” Hixon, R-North Augusta, told the SC Daily Gazette.

Even with the land restriction, Hixon said many farmers would qualify. The helicopter would allow them a new option to protect their crops.

“(Hogs will) go through a corn crop and destroy just acres and acres at night,” Hixon said. “They’re rooting up the peanuts, tearing up the soybeans, knocking the corn down.”

Hixon said he does not know if anyone will actually take advantage of the law if it is passed, but he wants the option to be there.

“I’d like to try it myself, but I don’t have a helicopter,” he said. “Looks like it would be pretty fun.”

This year, the state of South Carolina earmarked $1 million for feral hog control.

Earlier this week, Congaree National Park southeast of Columbia shut down for staff to shoot the swine.

Eighteen hogs were shot while the park was closed to visitors. No helicopters were used. Given the tree cover, that wouldn’t have been practical anyway, said Jon Manchester, chief of visitor services. 

“We’re the only national park area in the state that’s dealing with this problem,” Manchester said.

The park is also continuing its trap-and-kill program to control wild hogs.

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