Feral pigs are pests. Every year they cause an estimated $1.5 billion of damage to crops. Texans are trying to shoot them from helicopters to control their numbers, but that method is not effective. Pigs are smart, and soon learn to hide from the noisy choppers.
Louisiana Hog Control is trying a new tool— aerial drones reported the Economist. The drone is a remote-controlled aircraft with a thermal-imaging camera and a laser pointer. It easily spots the pigs’ warm bodies from 400 feet and points them out to a hunter on the ground wearing night-vision goggles, who then shoots them.
Louisiana Hog Control is having good success with the “dehogaflier.” Cy Brown with LHC says they have dispatched around 300 feral pigs working weekend nights in the last six months.
Traditional hunters think the method is unsporting, but rules that apply to sport hunting do not apply to pest control. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission recently agreed to consider draft regulations to ban the use of drones for hunting or scouting in Colorado.
Farmers welcome Brown and his drone. He explains: “If you were to hunt deer from an aero plane you would be put in jail; if you do pigs you get a high five.”