WICHITA FALLS (AP) – Beginning Thursday, qualified hunters will be able to take to the skies to take aim at the state’s burgeoning feral hog population.

The Wichita Falls Times Record News reported that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved rules for hunting the hogs and coyotes by helicopter, in accordance with House Bill 716 passed by the Legislature.

The new rules permit qualified landowners or their agents to pay helicopter operators for aerial operations. Qualification involves filing a form with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and does not involve a fee.

A Texas Department of Agriculture study shows a single hog is responsible for $50 to $500 in damage to agriculture and wildlife habitat annually. Feral hog populations in Texas are estimated at more than 2 million.

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