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Bill targeting feral hogs flies through Oklahoma legislative panel

The measure would allow landowners to hire bush pilots to shoot feral hogs from small airplanes. A lawmaker says feral hogs are a growing problem, especially in southern parts of Oklahoma.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: April 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm •  Published: April 4, 2013

A bill that would allow landowners to hire bush pilots to fly marksmen who would shoot feral hogs won unanimous approval Wednesday from a legislative committee, despite one lawmaker raising questions about safety.

“This low-level flying is very dangerous,” said Rep. James Lockhart, a member of the House of Representatives Agriculture and Wildlife Committee.

Lockhart, D-Heavener, said he was concerned about pilots flying into power lines and questioned how they could tell property lines from the air, which could result in some livestock being shot by mistake.

Rep. Don Armes, House sponsor of Senate Bill 919, said bush pilots have had success using small, single-engine airplanes called Super Cubs to fly hunters close to the ground in Alaska to shoot coyotes.

“We've got a terrible problem in this state — it's called feral hogs,” said Armes, R-Faxon.

“There are places where this is not practical ... but we've got to leave something up to the people to do it, kind of take care of their own selves. We've got to leave a little bit of freedom out there and I think that's what this bill is trying to do.”

As far as the danger, Armes said many crop dusters fly safely at low levels to spray fields.

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