Lanai residents were miffed recently when a helicopter carrying a film crew “buzzed” a game management area on the opening weekend of the island’s hunting season.
Hunters from around the state and as far away as the Mainland flock to the island to pursue axis deer and muflon sheep, making the scheduled hunting weekends an important moneymaker for the island’s tiny economy.
“There’s over 200 hunters that come in,” said Lanai resident Christine Costales. “They pay big money to pay their way here. . . . They want to get their game, and when there’s a helicopter flying all over it spooks the animals away.”
The incident occurred on the weekend of March 17-18, which was the opening weekend of the Lanai deer rifle season, said Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward. After the department received complaints that a helicopter was “circling” the game management area, had descended near the ground and was “flying low and scaring the game away,” a DLNR officer on the island made contact with the pilot, Ward said.
She said the pilot informed him the crew was scouting locations for a TV show, and invited the officer to accompany them the next day to observe.