TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma could soon join Louisiana and Texas in allowing hunters to shoot feral hogs from helicopters.
Aerial gunners are already used to help control feral swine in Oklahoma, but the work can only be done by trained, licensed contractors with support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry, the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2neDl3i ) reported.
Lawmakers are considering a bill to expand the practice to private operations.
Dubbed "the flying pig bill," the proposal would allow private landowners, companies and pilots to apply for a state license and be responsible for the activity. Hunters on board the aircraft wouldn't need a license, nor would they have to provide their names to the state.
The change would follow a similar shift a few years ago in neighboring Texas, where shooters can now hire an aircraft for anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per hour for a hunt.
Republican Rep. Jeff Coody said over-regulation by Oklahoma's agriculture department has "put so many administrative rules on their books, it has made it difficult for private individuals to go out and shoot from an aircraft."
Coody, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the proposal is intended to "to take aerial depredation a little more back to what was originally intended several years ago."
Oklahoma's agriculture department says its agents killed more than 11,200 feral hogs last year, mostly by air. Coody said aerial shooting has proven effect in getting rid of the hogs, which he called "a nuisance and a negative to the state."
He also noted that Federal Aviation Administration rules require licensing before anyone can shoot a firearm from an aircraft.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com