Farmers use helicopters to protect land from hogs

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Some Texoma farmers are looking for a solution to a problem that costs them a lot of money every year and their loss gets passed down to you and at higher prices.

It is all because feral hogs are destroying acres and acres of farmland. They run alongside these edges eating up all the crops costing farmers thousands of dollars. They leave behind their footprints and destruction.

"Hogs are a major problem and they're getting worse all the time," Paul Crumpler, a farmer, said.

In the last 20 years, wild hogs wrecked havoc across Texoma.They cause $400 million in damage each year in Texas alone.

"You can lose 100 percent of your crop before you can get it harvested," Wichita County Ag. Agent David Graf said.

Paul Crumpler's farm lost more than 150 acres of wheat last year. That cost him around $15,000 to $20,000.

"It's just money out of your pocket that you spent doing it and got nothing for it," Crumpler said.

Graf said more and more farmers are starting to take action to prevent these wild hog from destroying their crops by using helicopters for wild hog hunting.

It is permissible thanks to a Texas wildlife depredation act (HB 716). Farmers are allowed to rent out their land for wild hog hunting. Hog hunting is open season.

"The best thing we can do is using the hunting and controlling practices to knock down the population size as much as we can," Wichita County Game Warden Tyler Reed said.

Licensed hunters can go any time of the day with the farmer's permission. Texas Ag. agents are helping connect the helicopters hunters and those who need them.

"Its part of what we're trying to do is a measure that to determine if we're seeing an impact over a year's time," Graf said.

Crumpler said he does not see it ending the wild hog problem.

"They can hurt them for a while but they'll be right back," Crumpler said.

Just lowering the population is what Graf said some farmers can hope for. It is illegal to use poison to kill wild hogs in Texas. The Texas A&M Forest Service estimates there are at least 2 million feral hogs in the lone star state.

That is almost 50-percent of all the feral hogs in the United States.

Copyright 2017 RNN Texoma All Rights Reserved