Categorized | Hunting, Sports

Hunters encouraged to help control axis deer

An Axis Deer at Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Axis deer at Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens. (Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7)


The Board of Land and Natural Resources has voted to authorize a declaration that will allow licensed hunters on the island of Hawaii to control axis deer (Axis axis) without the requirement of a special permit.

Prior to Friday’s vote, hunting deer on the Big Island would have required a special permit because axis deer are not identified as a game mammal on Hawaii Island.

The vote by the BLNR removes that permitting requirement, and allows hunters to control deer on public lands without restrictions for season or bag limit.

All other hunting rules, such as hunting only daylight hours and the requirement of a valid hunting license, remain in effect. Hunting on private lands requires the permission of the landowner.

Under the declaration, Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr., identified axis deer as being harmful to agriculture, native plants, and wildlife on the island of Hawaii, as well as constituting a threat to public safety (HAR 13-124-7 [g]).

On Maui and Molokai, where axis deer may already be taken without regard to season or bag limit on public lands, axis deer have caused severe damage to local agriculture and forest resources, and have increased erosion and sedimentation that contributes to damage of coral reefs and near shore fisheries.

Maui County Agricultural Specialist Kenneth Yamamura estimates deer damage to Maui Nui farms, ranches and resorts exceeded $2 million over a two-year period, with an additional $1 million spent to remove or exclude deer from those locations.

The deer readily consume a variety of crop species, and feces left behind on farmlands can make remaining crops unsellable by federal regulations.

The presence of axis deer can also lead to automobile collisions, as seen on Maui last week when a 45-year-old Kihei resident struck a deer while driving an ATV.

In the 1970s, a proposal came before the Land Board to introduce deer to Hawaii island to provide additional hunting opportunities.

After much deliberation, the board disapproved the proposed introduction on the grounds that the introduction of deer to the island would result in unacceptable levels of damage to natural resources, including economic damage to local farmers. It remains the policy of board and the current administration that deer should not be introduced to Hawaii island.

This policy was recently affirmed by the state Legislature, which passed a law in 2012 prohibiting the possession and interisland transport of deer statewide.

The law, originating from a bill sponsored by Sen. Gil Kahele, provides for serious penalties for violations, which include mandatory fines of not less than $10,000, payment of costs to eradicate the deer and their progeny, and possible imprisonment.

Fines collected for convictions under that law may be used to manage or control populations of introduced wildlife and mitigate any damages caused.

Under U.S. federal law, a federal judge recently found two individuals, Jeffrey Grundhauser of Maui and Daniel Rocha of Hawaii Island, guilty of illegally exchanging 14 mouflon sheep from Hawaii island for $1,000 and four axis deer from Maui.

One deer died during the transport by helicopter, conducted by Thomas Hauptman of Maui in December of 2009. This exchange violated the federal Lacey Act and was the first known introduction of axis deer to Hawaii island.

In early 2011, DLNR received credible reports of deer sightings on Hawaii island and confirmed the presence of wild deer there with photographic evidence in April of that year.

Since then, department staff and partners at the Big Island Invasive Species Committee have been working to eliminate the deer from the island in order to protect agricultural and natural resources.

To date, three deer have been dispatched and it is not known how many more may remain on the island.

Successful elimination of deer from Hawaii Island is expected to require a considerable investment of public resources and the department has notified hunters and landowners that any assistance they can provide is appreciated.

The declaration is required by rule to be term-limited and will last for a period of five years, from Oct. 26, 2012 through Oct. 25, 2017.

The DLNR requests that the number and location of any deer taken be voluntarily reported to the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Hilo, at (808)974-4221.

To report a suspected sighting of axis deer on the Big Island, call (808) 443-4036.

9 Responses to “Hunters encouraged to help control axis deer”

  1. Kelsey Okuda says:

    How do they constitute a “threat to public safety”?

    • waimeajim says:

      If you were a farmer and they shat in your field, then all your crops would become unsellable.
      Just kill them all.
      They should raise the invasive species fines to $10,000,000. That would get some these jokers with ideas of importing any invasive species second thoughts.

    • Paul Nielsen says:

      They are not native to Hawaii. Introducing non-native species is a very stupid a dangerous idea with long term devistating results. On Lanai the deer have turned a tropical forest into a desert.

      • Jad Doherty says:

        I love when hippies just spew shit with no basis in reality … Blaming the axis for Lani’s dry climate is not based on actually facts. Lani mainly relies on fog drip highland plants gather dew and so on and so forth. Lani is dry cause it only recieces on avg. 35 inches of rain. Those are the facts! If you don’t like axis deer that is fine but don’t make shit up homie!

        • Whitney Kalahiki says:

          I love when people pretend to be smart with no basis on reality. If you are going to use “facts,” make certain that the topic you are referencing is spelt correctly. It’s spelt Lanai (Lana’i to be exact) not “Lani.” I work with Hawaii’s Nature Conservation group and if you are going to speak facts then please look into it with further research rather than just skimming the surface. Mahalo.

          • Jad Doherty says:

            Oh yes the old you spelled something wronge in your commment so your comment is wronge defense!! Your right rain fall isn’t single handedly at fault but it is a major reason. National Weather Service has Lana’i with a annually rainfall of just 23.23″ a year. Actually less than I perviously stated. Only 16 days out of a year does it rain more than .01 of an inch. Hearing you lightly brush over the lack of rainfall as a nominally reason is laughable. I’ve read LANA’I PLANT CLUSTER
            RECOVERY PLANS by USFWS and plenty of other articles and news feautures on the topic ….The damage done to Lana’i’s already dry ass climate ( Actually anything less than about 19″ is considered dry) Was done with the origanlly introduction of hoofed aniamls namely goat and pig in 1793. By the time the Axis were importanted(1920’s) mind you for a viable livestock purpose the damage was already done. Now yes the hoofed animals need to be controlled and theres viable ways of doing it other than what we saw the Big Island do to the Mouflon sheep. What every your conservational group claims…. rain is a very large part of the recovery problem in Lana’i and the damage to native vegetation and the overall changed landscape of Lana’i was done far before the deer were introduced which was why i answered Mr Nielsen’s comments the way i did smart guy!!

  2. Deer feeders are a great addition to your lawn, especially when you have access to a wood line that is frequented by animals.

  3. Leon Barnett says:

    Compared to the cattle industry’s devastation of the island axis deer are a blessing. Money talks.

  4. Robert DeCoito says:

    Topic: Hunting in Hawaii & Eradication.

    The sad truth is yes it is all about money. Money dulls the ability to think rationally about our future, a paycheck/job today is all that matters. People think that by eradicating Axis deer, feral/mouflon sheep, goats and pigs you are helping to make Hawaii’s forests a better place. What happens in the next 40-100 years. Do we expect that our government (Federal, State and County) will continue to provide people with EBT cards for food, assistance for rental housing or welfare to support us who has no work or low paying job. Kamehameha the Great didn’t allow cattle and made it illegal to kill cause he wanted pets, he allowed them here cause he knew that the ocean alone couldn’t support the growing population of the Hawaiian people. He didn’t care if cattle destroyed the native plants it was all about human/Hawaiian survival. So What this all boils down to is the survival of us, mankind. I am sorry but It really doesn’t matter if Hawaii’s native forests was to magically come back to its original state before the Hawaiians set foot on this Islands, what matters is will everyone in the future of this islands be able to feed there family and survive. You cannot have half(or what ever the percentage is) of the population surviving ok and the other half starving. This just won’t work. You will have crime, lots of crime, between those who have and those who don’t have. So what really matters is will everyone be able to feed there family and themselves. I say for now let all animals run wild and reproduce cause this will help save our future. Saving endangered plants and birds will not we cannot eat them. For now farmers will just have to fence off there crops, government money already available for this, you farmers know this.
    Above all we must teach our children to hunt and/or farm, than and only than future generations will respect the land, environment, respect the rights of others, gain life’s skills and actually survive the hard times they have ahead.


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