Despite the title, this is not a post about politicians.
The best article in the new issue of the Economist is a short piece about an outfit called Louisiana Hog Control that hunts pigs at night using a remote controlled plane outfitted with an infrared camera. Hunters on the ground, informed by the bright white blobs of porcine body heat illuminated on their video feeds, can then sneak up on the clever and twitchy critters and dispatch them to hog heaven.
On a successful hunt the body count of wild hogs can reach into the dozens. By the looks of the pics and video posted by Louisiana Hog Control on its Facebook page, the pig-shooting weapon of choice is the AR-15 and its variants. And to think the gun-control lobby still insists that no one needs such weapons for hunting!
The article in the Economist, by Chicago correspondent Natasha Loder, rightly asserts that feral pigs are more than just a nuisance across the south, causing $1.5 billion in damage to crops and land. Exterminating them is encouraged by a year-round open season. And although scouting and killing other game, like deer or elk, from the air is often verboten, there’s no rules protecting the pigs.
A female hog can breed at just 8 months old, and can turn out an average of 18 piglets in three litters in two years. Those piglets hit the ground hungry. A voracious omnivore, hogs will eat any plant or animal they can, and they are aggressive towards other animals and even humans in certain circumstances. They primarily threaten native species and domestic livestock through habitat destruction, and churn through farmland like relentless plows. The scariest part of the article is where the author notes that there are hundreds of thousands of hogs slaughtered each year in Texas alone, and the population is still expanding.
It’s like World War B in some areas (the “B” is for “bacon”).
Louisiana Hog Control and other professional hog eradication operations rely extensively on AR-15s chambered in .223 and 300 AAC Blackout for their pig killing efforts, typically using standard capacity 20-round and 30-round magazines. The effective use of thermal-vision-equipped small drones by Louisiana Hog Control (which is run by a duo of university-trained electrical engineers) is noteworthy for it’s uniqueness… for now.
Hopefully the technology will spread to other hog extermination teams, and the spreading scourge can be contained before it spreads much further.