- Get to fly in a helicopter for the first time....CHECK!
- Get to shoot guns out of said helicopter......CHECK!
- Shoot wild hogs with guns out of the helicopter.....CHECK!
As you can tell, these were all new experiences for me and my partner in crime for this aerial debauchery. BUT before I go any further, take exactly three minutes and twenty seconds of your time to watch the video above if you haven't done so already.
Back to what I was saying....
Somehow I was lucky enough to tag along with Freedom Munitions pro shooter Kalani Laker and head down to Texas to join in on this once in a lifetime experience. Helicopter hog hunting!
We booked a four hour heli hog hunting trip with HeliGunner in Temple Texas, a 20 minutes drive from the Ft. Hood military base (more on that fact later). The day started out early with a rundown of the MD-500 chopper we'd be cruising in. The helicopter is basically the same thing as the US military uses called a "little bird." Not to totally nerd out on you but the reason they use this aircraft is that it's extremely maneuverable and stable which is a big deal when you're buzzing the tops of trees in search of speedy pint sized piggies.
After we got the safety briefing, we topped off a dozen mags with 69gr 223 HPBT pills just to give that extra edge as far as far bullet expansion-we're hunting after all.
I left the rifle situation up to Kalani, I mean he is a pro shooter with a rifle sponsor so it's a given that he had his pick of pristine lead blasters. Of the two rifles he brought along, one was the gun he competes with in 3-gun with a swarovski z6i 1-6x atop and the other was a tricked out purple AR with an Elcan gracing the upper receiver with its presence.
Having never been in a helicopter before, taking off for the first time was a mixture of excitement and "I might live if I fall from here." A 10 minute, 130 mph ride later, the fear had wore off and Kalani and I got our first chance to shoot out of the chopper at steel IPSC targets. I have to admit, shooting accurately from a helicopter is WAY harder than it looks and gave my wannabe 3 gunner self a wake up call in marksmanship.
Soon as we got done with our crash course in shooting from an aerial vehicle, we B-Lined it to a known spot where the piggies like to hold up. It'd be pretty easy for me right now to lie to you and embellish some sort of mass hog destruction when we hit this hunting hot spot, truth is that didn't happen. Things played out differently and we ended up playing a pretty exciting game of cat and mouse. We'd buzz the treetops and search in every direction for the hogs that got spooked and took off into the open. Kalani ended up taking out six pigs with this strategy all before lunch time and a much needed pit stop for fuel.
A few cheeseburgers later and an unexpected lunch visit from pro shooter Kyle Simank, and it was back to the little bird for more hog wrangling. The second time around we hit a different known hog hangout which because of the over 100 degree temps at this point, proved to be extremely difficult to get the pigs out of hiding. When it was all said and done the last two hours of our flight time embodied the word "hunting". Kalani managed to thread the needle on some challenging dense brush shots from the air and left two hogs down for the count.
The total tally of eight feral hogs may not put our heli hunt in the Guinness Book of World Records but the thrill and excitement of chasing them down from the air like we did is a rollercoaster experience like no other.
-A BIG thank you to Freedom Munitions for extending the invite to me for this HeliGunner hunt!