Categorized | Opinions

Sumida: Hunting, fishing is in cultural D.N.A.

(Reader Opinions Disclaimer: This column allows members of the community to share their opinions and views, which do not necessarily reflect those of Hawaii 24/7, its staff, sponsors or anyone other than the writer. Hawaii 24/7 reserves the right to refuse any column deemed to be misinformation, of an unethical nature, a personal attack, or a blatant commercial pitch.)

By Taylor Sumida

As hunter’s we are looked down upon by many different groups how ever many of us today feel as if its time for us to be heard. We have long said and I have long heard, an old saying which is becoming very true: “No sheep, no bird.”

This is a subject I can personally talk about. If we look up the definition on eradication, it means “to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots.” And this has been the Game Management Program issued by the Hawaii DLNR supported but Sierra Club, Earth Justice and many others.

The problem we have with this is that, eradication is not sustainable and suitable for this island. We have hunted here all our lives and this food feeds our families. Hunting and fishing is in Hawaii’s cultural D.N.A.

Back to “No Sheep, No Bird” a multitude of old time hunters have told me this and today I see it. I personally have not been hunting all of my life but I can tell you that in the short time I have been, I have seen the decline of Maunakea’s health.

Hawaii was mandated by the federal courts to eradicate all sheep on Maunakea to save the Palila. Short sighted and not well thought out. Since they have started, the Palila Bird has population has only declined.

Here is what I have seen in the last years that I have hunted. In support of the hunters, I have seen brush so high no bird can reproduce. I have seen more invasive species of plants go untouched and the vegetation get so thick that you cannot walk through on the trails you once did.

Scientist insist it is the sheep. I beg to differ. With the tall grass, there’s a lot of rats, cats and mongoose. And we all know what they love to eat.

To add to that the grass chokes out all young plants allowing nothing to grow and the pigs nothing to eat or even plow to rejuvenate. With the drought’s the bird population has steadily declined. I have always felt that all these animals need to work and live together.

The sheep, can prune the tree’s and keep the grasses down. The pigs can till the land as they travel across the forest leaving new and fresh dirt for fallen seeds to germinate and progress into life. The Bird can feed on the seeds from fallen tree’s the sheep prune and shake as they ate.

They also use the sheep’s wool to make their nest. The low grass allows them to feed and walk freely on the forest floor. Its well known that if you want to find the bird you have to find the sheep.

Attached is a study done by Pohakuloa Training Area and that can confirm all what I believe and have found in my days of hunting. We as hunters do use the mountain for food, We can eat the sheep, goat and the pig knowing that its pure – no steroids added, no hormones added.

“Green” they like to call it. We can use the vegetation for tea and some use the plants for medicine. And the most important thing of all of this, these scientist come here for a week to learn the culture that they care nothing about they stay here for a month or what ever it is claiming they know this and that.

We as hunters have generations of experience and knowledge, not weeks.

The hunter will always catch and release when it needs to be done. The gatherer will walk observe and give input to the hunters on what they think needs to be done and they do it as a community out of love and passion.

Not for a paycheck or more grant money.

Taylor Sumida

Biological Invasion Study

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.