• July 22, 2014

Commissioners talk drones, hogs

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Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 4:30 pm

GATESVILLE — I’m not sure we can call this a pilot project.

Coryell County is one of 11 areas in Texas designated by the Federal Aviation Administration for development and testing of unmanned aircraft. And Texas is one of just six states cleared for drone development by the FAA.

“This is a golden opportunity for us to reach out to drone-manufacturing companies,” County Judge John Firth told the economic development board this week.

Drones have been used primarily by the military, but businesses, farmers, universities and government agencies are poised to buzz into the market.

Online retailer Amazon created a stir recently with talk of using small drones to make deliveries to customers. Can drone-delivered pizza be far behind?

The Associated Press reports the FAA projects 7,500 commercial drones in U.S. airspace within five years.

Maybe someone will figure out a way to use drones to hunt feral hogs.

Meanwhile, an outfit called Veterans Xtreme Adventures will be hunting hogs the old-fashioned way — with dogs — here in Coryell County next week.

The group’s first Hog Doggin’ Extravaganza is set for March 28-29 at the Gatesville Civic Center. The event is a fundraiser to support the group’s guided hunts for wounded warriors.

Four-person hunting teams with bay dogs and catch dogs will hunt wild hogs over the two-day period, said Tasha Baker, event coordinator. After the bay dogs corner the hog, a catch dog grabs the critter by the ear and the hunters close in to secure it and load it on a trailer, she said. There are no firearms involved.

The live hogs will be sold to a licensed buyer after a weigh-in at the end of the hunt. Some of the animals will be donated for food to needy families, Baker said.

Participants must register by March 27. Fee for a hunting team is $300. Spectators can come and watch for $5. Call Baker at 254-223-7766.

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