In many ways, helicopter hunting for wild hogs is the apex of the tactical hog hunting world. It has all the elements of hog control, high speed chase, and aerial assault combined. But Barnett Crossbows and Matt Busbice of Synergy Outdoors recently took that tactical application one step further when Busbice made an air assault on wild pigs using a Barnett Ghost 350 Crossbow. And they have the video to prove it!
Busbice is a well-known television personality from the Wildgame Nation show. He’s also the president of Synergy Outdoors, which owns Barnett Crossbows. This past February, near Ennis, Texas, Busbice teamed up with Craig Meier of Heli Hunter LLC, to see if a crossbow was an effective hog controller. After four hours of flight time, and over a half dozen hogs taken with the Barnett Ghost 350 Crossbow, the answer was, Most definitely yes!
Meier and Heli Hunter are regularly hired by local landowners to help eradicate the growing and destructive population of feral hogs in Texas. “Feral hogs are doing unbelievable damage to the land and the crops,” says Meier. “If we don’t help eradicate these nuisances, farmers and land owners will lose a significant portion of their income and livelihood.”
Busbice was approached by Meier about doing a helicopter hunt. Busbice agreed—but with a big twist. “I said, Let’s try to do it with a crossbow,” Busbice says. “People thought it was ridiculous to even try to take hogs with a crossbow. There were so many elements working against me— moving targets, prop wash which can affect arrow flight, the distance, the downward angle adjustment, and cocking a crossbow by hand. The speed to reset the weapon is also lengthened significantly compared to a firearm.”
Nonetheless, Busbice and his film crew, comprised of Christopher Williston and Major Person, took to the skies. Plus, Busbice had a Vantage™ cam, made by Wildgame Innovations, mounted on his Ghost 350 Crossbow.
“I was apprehensive at first,” he admits. “Hanging out of a helicopter with a Ghost 350 and all the things I needed to adjust for was crazy. But like all hunters, the fever kicks in and then it’s all business. We knew we had a job to do. My job was to hit the pigs clean.”
Busbice gives much of the credit for this tactical hunt’s success to Meier’s great flying, as well as the Barnett Ghost 350, one of the lightest bows ever made by the company. At just over 7.5 pounds, a tactical hunter can shoulder and hold this model crossbow for better accuracy, with less effort, than with other bows. Very important when you are bouncing around just dozens of feet off the ground, in a helicopter flying parallel to a sprinting hog.
The Ghost 350’s Carbon Riser Technology removes enough weight from the front end to move the center of gravity back to the end of the stock. This bow shoots an arrow at 350 feet per second, and 116 foot pounds of energy, to provide more than enough power for any hunting occasion. Made in the USA, the crossbow comes complete with a quiver, four arrows, and a Rope Cocking device. Also standard is a CROSS scope. The scope magnifies at 3X32 rate with illuminated tiered reticles for maximum range and accuracy.
In addition to the Action Cam, Busbice’s equipment included NAP Broadheads, safety equipment by Hunter Safety System, and illuminated arrow nocks by Lumenock.
Busbice originally figured the helicopter’s prop wash would be a problem, and that he’d have to provide some windage for his shots to compensate for the wash pushing down the arrow’s flight. Not so. “Surprisingly, we found at close distances, 20 to 30 yards, that there was no real effect from the prop wash,” he says. “We would aim our Ghost 350 directly behind the shoulder of each pig and we were astonished at how accurately the shots were. We tried aiming higher to offset the flight of the arrow, but the arrow would just hit where we aiming.”
The hunt itself had some unique challenges, including cocking the crossbow in the fast-moving chopper. “We found that the best method to cock the crossbow was to literally hang out the chopper door, knowing the very worst case was to drop the crossbow out the helicopter,” Busbice explains. “We were strapped into the aircraft with seatbelts and a hunter safety suit.”
Quite the tactical hog hunting experience! And one that will be shown on WildGame Nation in the near future. The concept of hunting hogs using crossbows from helicopters might come into it’s own as wild pigs encroach more and more on urban areas. Watch www.SHWAT.com for future stories on urban hog control!
On the Web:
Barnett Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/barnettcrossbows
Wildgame Nation Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WildgameNation
Heli-Hunter: (Craig Meier), http://www.helihunter.com/
Lumenok Website: http://www.lumenok.net/
Action Cam Website: http://www.wildgameinnovations.com/products/action-cameras.html
NAP Broadheads Website: http://www.newarchery.com/
Hunters Safety System Website: http://www.huntersafetysystem.com/