Imagine higher agricultural yields, fewer invasive species, and a new economic product that’s as versatile as it is plentiful: venison. That was the vision of the founders of the Maui Axis Deer Harvesting Cooperative (MADHC), a new initiative organized by the County of Maui. Its goal is to help farmers, ranchers and landowners control invasive axis deer on their property while addressing food security with zero waste. MADHC members are a group of certified, trained, hunters who can provide harvesting services to those receiving damage from axis deer. The meat will be shared between hunters and landowners, and in some cases, local slaughterhouses will process meat for resale.
While the cooperative is already active on Maui, some Molokai residents are looking at the possibilities for the Friendly Isle — turning venison into a trademark specialty while helping out farmers with deer problems. Phyllis Robinson, one of MADHC’s founders and pilot coordinator, said it’s still early in the process, but her goal is to be able to incorporate Molokai and Lanai into the program.
“We’d like to plant the seed of awareness,” she said. “It could be helpful to have a coordinated effort county-wide but unique efforts on each island.”
Robinson said she has been in communication with Molokai axis deer rancher and hunter Desmond Manaba to explore the possibility of establishing an auxiliary board on Molokai to organize similar services on the island and be part of the cooperative umbrella.
Manaba, who has been deer ranching on Molokai for 18 years, said he sees tremendous potential economic benefit axis deer.
Residents testify against the PLDC at public hearing
“It is dangerous to put public lands in private hands,” said Molokai resident Kauhane Adams. Yet it seems that this is exactly what legislature created the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) to do when they passed senate bill Act 55 in 2011 that established the corporation.
The PLDC’s intent to “generate additional revenues for the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by developing under-utilized or unused public land,” according to a written statement circulated by the PLDC.
Homesteader Adolph Helm claimed that the PLDC would allow “fast-track boondoggle projects that benefit the private developer and the pockets of the well-connected [while] stripping Native Hawaiian beneficiaries of trust lands.”
Sentiments against the advancement of the PLDC have echoed throughout the state at similar meetings hosted by the PLDC last month on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai. These public hearing meetings were meant to gather community feedback on its proposed new administrative rules, but have largely resulted in Hawaiians calling for the repeal of Act 55 and the disbanding of the PLDC.
Who determines what is best for the land?
PLDC’s Executive Director Lloyd Haraguchi opened the Molokai meeting, held last week at Mitchell Pauole Center, with an example of an “unused public land” — an abandoned school building that, in addition to being a safety hazard, is not being used to the best of its ability. The space could instead be developed to generate additional revenue to benefit the Department of Education, said Haraguchi.
HONOLULU – Deer can swim, but not very far. When they showed up for the first time on the Big Island of Hawaii, mystified residents wondered how they got there.
The island is some 30 miles southeast of Maui, where deer are plentiful.
Hawaii wildlife authorities think someone dropped a few from a helicopter on the northern tip of the island. And tracks along the southern coast indicate deer were pushed into the ocean from a boat and forced to paddle ashore.
Whether they arrived by air or sea, wildlife managers want to eradicate them to avoid a repeat of the destruction seen on other islands where they ate through vineyards, avocado farms and forests where endangered species live.
Officials estimate that there are 100 deer on the northern and southern ends of the Big Island. A government-funded group is leading efforts to get rid of them before they breed.
“They didn’t get here by themselves, so the people who brought them over did so and have done it many times,” said Jan Schipper, the group’s project manager.
People have reported seeing deer on the Big Island for a while, but it wasn’t until a motion-sensor camera captured a photo of one last year that their presence was confirmed.
Axis deer, called chital in their native India, are similar in size to whitetail deer found in the continental U.S. Tigers and leopards keep axis deer numbers reasonable in India, but the deer population is growing 20 to 30 percent per year in Hawaii because there aren’t any natural predators.
The deer first came to Hawaii in the 1860s as a gift from Hong Kong to the monarch who ruled at the time, King Kamehameha V. They were first taken to Molokai.
In the 1950s, some deer were taken to Maui as part of post-World War II efforts to introduce mammals to different places
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.
The Army says it is closing Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island to hunting because of heightened security at military installations around the world.
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii said Monday that hunting will not be allowed at Pohakuloa until the Department of Defense lowers security levels.
The Army normally opens a part of the base to civilian hunters for about 50 days each year to help control wild pigs, sheep and goats.
The feral animals could damage rare and endangered plant habitats if they are not controlled. Allowing civilian hunters to use Pohakuloa also helps the Army’s relations with community members.
HONOLULU – The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is now accepting application forms for the 2011 Lanai Mouflon Sheep Hunting Season.
There will be three types of hunts, archery, muzzleloading and general rifle, which will be held during different periods beginning July 30 through Oct. 23.
Applications and instruction sheets are available at all Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices statewide.
Applicants may also see: www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.
Applications for all hunts may be submitted in person or mailed to the Maui Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office, 54 South High St., Room 101, Wailuku, 96793.
Lanai residents only are to mail or deliver their applications to the Lanai Division of Forestry and Wildlife office at 917 Fraser Ave., P.O. Box 630661, Lanai City, 96763.
The deadline is 4 p.m., May 27.
For more information on Maui, call 984-8100; on Molokai, call 553-1745; and on Lanai, call 565-7916.
Two North Kohala men killed a boar while illegally hunting at night and carrying marijuana earlier this month, Big Island police said.
Responding to a report of gunshots from possible illegal hunters near Cannery Road about 9 p.m. Feb. 13, officers found a 30-year-old man and a 28-year-old man in a pickup leaving the area.
While checking the truck, the officers found hunting dogs and a wild boar carcass in the truckbed, police said. Officers also allegedly recovered marijuana and a rifle.
Both men were arrested for night hunting and third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug. They were released pending further investigation.
Capt. Richard Miyamoto, of the North Kohala District, said illegal hunting, which includes hunting at night, is a problem all over the Big Island.
“We just want to make sure people are aware,” there are hunting laws, Miyamoto said. “We are enforcing those laws.”
He said illegal hunting offenses are often committed with other offenses such as trespassing and firearm violations.
Police did not say what happened to the boar carcass.
Conservation Council for Hawaii News Release
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing revisions to Hawaii Administrative Rules relating to hunting and game, and asking the public for their feedback. This is an opportunity to urge the state to change the hunting and game management paradigm to reduce the damage caused by introduced continental feral ungulates and game mammals, and provide more opportunities for hunters to help control animals and bring home the meat.
Castle & Cooke Resorts, Lanai’s biggest employer, has proposed to erect more than 150 wind turbines on the remote northwestern end of the island and lay an undersea cable that would send the power to Oahu.
The project’s supporters say it could be a revenue-generator for the island, but opponents fear it would cut off access to important hunting grounds and have a major impact on an area rich in cultural and archaeological sites.