GATESVILLE — About 275 people gathered Sunday at the Gatesville Fire Station to munch free burgers and learn some of the finer points of wild-hog eradication.
Men, women and children of all ages viewed a slide presentation about feral hogs provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The participants added their names to the list of those “educated” in the Coryell County Hog Out program, a total of 450 so far.
Coryell County Commissioner Don Jones, who ramrods the Hog Out program for the county, said he was pleased with the turnout at the event, which is the last one scheduled.
The county is competing with other Texas counties for state grant money in the Hog Out program aimed at reducing the state’s feral swine population.
Each person who watches the slide show counts as a point for the county in the competition.
Jones said the slide show is being shown to 4-H and Future Farmers of America groups in high schools in the county, and the names of those students will be added to the final Hog Out education count.
Members of the firehouse crowd also got a chance to visit with Richard Potts of Paradise Helicopters of Temple, who nets wild pigs from his helicopter and removes the live animals free of charge.
Potts landed his “pork chopper” behind the fire station, and he and his crew joined the crowd for burgers and hog talk.
So far, Potts and his crew have captured 32 live pigs, which he sells for meat. The hogs have been captured from private land along the Leon River near Mother Neff State Park, he said.
The pork chopper operation would have to grab 14 pigs a day, four or five days a week, to make it worth his time, Potts said.
Kory Adcock of Sparks rides the chopper as the net-gunner. His job is to fire a 15-foot-square net with a blank .308-caliber round at a running hog from the door of a helicopter flying 20 feet off the ground.
Once the hog is netted, the chopper lands. Adcock and two other men hogtie the squealer, which is lifted into the air by the helicopter and taken to a waiting stock trailer nearby.
“That is when pigs fly,” Adcock said with a grin.
For information about the Hog Out, contact Jones at (254) 223-1210 or Potts at (254) 718-0068.