Texas legislature approves hog hunting from hot air balloons

Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature is all that’s stopping Texans from shooting hogs from hot air balloons.

The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed House Bill 3535, which would require Texans to get a permit before hunting feral hogs and coyotes.

According to researchers at Texas A&M, there are about 2 million feral hogs in the Lone Star State. That’s nearly half the hog population of the entire United States. The invasive animals cause an estimated $52 million in damage to agricultural efforts in Texas annually.

In 2011, lawmakers passed a bill allowing coyote and hog hunting in helicopters, but that method proved rather costly.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mark Keough, told the Texas Observer he’s “interested in anything that will help us get rid of these things.”

“We’ve got a problem here, and we are willing to fix it ourself,” he said. “We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things. It’s part of the culture, it’s different than any other state.”

If Gov. Abbot signs the bill, it would be effective on September 1.