Many consider feral pigs a menace to farmers and their communities across the United States, but a number of high-tech hunters are taking a Commando-style approach to controlling the beasts.
Equipped with gear more befitting a black ops mission than a hunting expedition, a growing group of sportsmen use modern tactical firearms and gear to track and kill wily feral pigs.
The Wall Street Journal reported today on the first of these anti-hog outfitters in Texas called Tactical Hog Control. The equipment listed on their website reads like a page from a Tom Clancy novel: thermal imaging, nightvision goggles, and AR-15 rifles with laser sights, all utilized to track and kill a species of pig. Of the hunting guide's history and basic methods of operation, the journal writes that:
"Tactical Hog Control, started in 2009 by Texas ranchers Clark Osborne and Mr. Dreher, is among a handful of next-generation outfitters across the South offering a new style of hog hunting designed to appeal to hunters' inner commando. Each client on a nocturnal hunt with the two men suits up with roughly $40,000 of military-grade gear, including semiautomatic rifles like the DPMS AR-10. The men prowl bumpy pastures and farmland in off-road vehicles bristling with gun racks and infrared headlights."
But the hunter's prey is also formidable. Feral pigs -- also called 'razorbacks' or wild boars -- average about 150 pounds. One monster shot in Alabama, however, weighed over 1,000 lbs. Estimated to number a few million animals across the U.S., the pigs voraciously eat crops, are considered a major threat to livestock, and are known to carry a wide variety of diseases.
Of course, the campaign to limit the feral pig population is not without its detractors. Some environmentalists and activists believe the anti-pig sentiment have been used in part to justify the loose hunting laws on the animals Fox News reported back in February that Don Anthony, of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida wanted state lawmakers to:
“Leave them alone or find a way to neuter them to keep their population down...we should be used to them by now. Killing them is barbaric and unnecessary."
At present, the laws in many states are very favorable for hunting these animals, and public sentiment in Texas appears to favor continued attempts to cull the feral hog population.
Watch this video, courtesy of Tactical Hog, to get a sense of what a real feral hog hunt is like (Content Warning: Lots of hog shooting):