5 Tips on Planning Your Next Helicopter Hog Hunting Trip
*Photo courtesy of Cedar Ridge Aviation. Check them out!
Proper planning is one of the most important parts to making sure your hunting trip is a success. Many hunters spend hours meticulously planning their trip many months in advance to ensure that they account for every part of the hunt. Helicopter hog hunting might seem to be a style of hunting that requires little to no previous planning, but there are plenty of factors to consider before booking your helicopter hog hunting trip. Helicopter hog hunting is a completely new form of hunting that is becoming especially popular in states like Texas for its effectiveness in helping farmers eradicate wild hogs from their lands and save crops. Texas hog hunts are big business and helicopter hog hunting presents its own unique challenges in addition to the usual difficulties encountered when booking a hunting trip with a guide or outfitter. Here are five tips to consider when booking your next helicopter hog hunting trip. Find Where Hog Control is Most Needed
Ask any Texas farmer whether helicopter hog hunting is an effective method of controlling wild pigs and they will all agree that is far and away the most effective means of quelling this destructive invasive species. Many helicopter hog hunting guides go to great lengths to locate areas that are overrun with wild hogs, but they must obtain permission from the landowners in order to fly over and hunt the property. Helicopter hunting trips will be more affordable in areas where there are plenty of hogs and the farmers need help getting rid of them. Texas hog hunts are plentiful, but finding private land to hunt on, especially with a helicopter, can be tough. When talking to a potential helicopter hog hunting guide, be sure to ask about where they have permission to hunt and get plenty of details on the land to determine whether or not it has recently been hunted heavily. Get Technical
Helicopter hog hunting involves more technical aspects than any other form of hunting and finding a guide with top of the line choppers could be the difference in a good trip and an unforgettable adventure. Some guides may employ the use of smaller aircraft in order to save on fuel costs, but this will present a number of problems for helicopter hog hunting. The best helicopter hog hunting guides will use twin-turbine helicopters which are designed to have gunners on either side of the aircraft. Small aircraft simply aren’t able to follow a sounder of hogs very well as pilots must make wide, sweeping turns to change directions—which hogs will often do to evade predators. Twin-turbine aircraft are able to turn on a dime and keep hunters on hogs to give you a better shot. Twin-turbine aircraft are more expensive to operate as the require more fuel, but for those looking for the absolute best helicopter hog hunting experience, a guide that flies twin-turbine aircraft will always provide better hunts. Firepower
Helicopter hog hunting is unique in that hunters often have plenty of targets to shoot at and more than enough ammunition. Most helicopter hog hunting outfitters will opt for using AR-15 rifles or other, similar calibers in order to reduce recoil. Hunting in a moving aircraft is vastly different than traditional means of hunting and shooting. Less recoil typically equals more accurate shooting and more hogs harvested. It is important to determine what kind of weapon your guide intends to allow you to use and how effective you’ll be with that weapon. If you’re an inexperienced hunter, it may be better to use a weapon with a higher rate of fire and less recoil. Some guides provide a 12-gauge shotgun with specialized buckshot to maximize the knockdown power of a single shot. Hogs are extremely tough animals and taking them down with just one shot from a moving helicopter requires a high level of accuracy. Group Size and Needs
Helicopter hog hunting is easily one of the most exciting, adrenaline-pumping methods of hunting, but doing it as a group with your other hunting buddies is even better. Some helicopter hog hunting guides are ill equipped to cater to a large group as they may only have one aircraft that is only able to accommodate a couple of hunters at a time. Some helicopter outfitters are specially fitted to accommodate large groups and provide them with an unforgettable aerial adventure. There are a few Texas helicopter guides who provide a fully decked-out RV for hunters to kick back and relax in while others in their group are in the air or they are taking a break from flying. Be sure to ask your helicopter hog hunting guide whether they can comfortably accommodate large groups, or if they specialize in providing focused trips for smaller groups or individuals. Expert Pilots
Perhaps the most important item you can consider for your helicopter hog hunting trip is the experience level of the pilot. There is a big difference in having a pilot that is accustomed to flying over a moving target and one that is newly licensed. The best helicopter hog hunting outfitters will employ former military pilots who have extensive training and even combat experience in flying over moving targets. This is the most important skill a guide can have as it will allow clients to have the absolute best shot opportunities. Following a sounder of hogs and staying within range is hard enough, but keeping hunters flying close enough to get a good shot requires a very high level of expertise. If you want to find the best helicopter hog hunting guide services, look for one that uses former military pilots to fly their aircraft.