If you think Alaska regulations are hard to follow you should try hunting in Hawaii, the regs are vague and the maps for public hunting areas are terrible at best however after many hours on the Internet and time on the phone I decided I had enough info to go on and try my luck at hunting on the big island. All the searching I had done I wasn't able to come up with much. The regulations I found online posted by the hawaii dlnr were several years old and info on actually hunting public land was scarce. I hope in this write up I can share the little experience I gained for anyone else wanting to hunt the big island.
My hunt went great after getting through the hassles of learning new areas. I only hunted one morning but that was enough. The area I decided to hunt was a short drive from kona up the mamalohoa highway. Some areas down there no tags are required however this area you needed tags for the animals I would be hunting which included pigs goats and sheep. The local stores such as sports authority, kmart, and Walmart carry the tags and licenses but we're sold out when I tried to buy them so I ended up having to take a drive through the countryside to wiamaha where the dlnr (fish and game) sold tags and licenses. Total cost for one goat tag one sheep tag and licenses was about 150$ make sure to bring cash.
The units down there are named and have a letter designation and several areas all over the island will have the same letter designator so you will have to look close where you plan to hunt for correct seasons, not all lettered units have the same regs either.
I would be hunting unit E in the puuanalooho game management East section and that is the only area I hunted so my expertise stops at that area.
The season for that area runs from March till I believe June but is only open on the weekends and holidays, the access roads are gated and only opened sometime the night before so unless you want to walk in scouting would be difficult. Hunting a lot of areas in Hawaii there are check stations that you have to access through and it depends on which side of the road you want to hunt which station you go through. The check stations are nothing more that a small billboard with a mailbox, inside the mailbox is a form that asks for license number name phone number and licenses plate number. After filling that out you are able to go hunt. I decided to hunt the west side of the road that would take me down the mountain a bit and be overlooking the ocean. The check station for this side of the road was very close to mile marker 18, if you wanted to hunt the east side of the road the access road and station was at mile 16.5. On the billboard for both sides says what hunt area you are in and they are about 75yds off the main road as soon as you see it you will know your in the correct area which was a relief being that everything was so vague. OK back to the hunt.
Hunting times are limited to half an hour before and after sunset so I arrived at the check station at 530am expecting the gate to be closed and lots of people, I was surprised to find the gate open and when I signed in I was the first on the list, I checked in and drove through in the dark not really sure where I was headed but I was now hunting in Hawaii. It's a good idea here to have a jeep and I think I remember seeing in the regs that you have to have a 4x4 to access these areas. One good thing about the area I was hunting was that the trail I was on was the southernmost boundary it was also bordered on the east and west side and it was a few miles wide so I knew I wouldn't end up hunting in a closed area
It was still dark and I couldn't see anything yet except for a faint lightening of the sky that I was really wishing would hurry up. I drove in a mile or so when the coffee kicked in and I had to make a pit stop so I shut the Jeep off and listened to the dark but didn't hear anything except for another truck headed in behind me so I got back in and kept driving, the other truck caught up to me and seemed to be in a hurry so I pulled over to let them by and they stopped and chatted for a bit and we're helpful with some of the area. A few miles down the trail like the helpful hunters had said it opens up into more grassland where glassing would be better. I found a spot to pull over and grabbed my pack and bow and headed off to my first experience of Hunting lava fields and let me tell you the walking sucked. I walked into an area that looked promising and had a small Canyon only about 50ft deep and a quarter mile long but was covered in goat crap so I knew I was where they were now I just had to find one. I found a high spot and had a seat to start glassing, (good luck finding a comfortable place to sit) it was still quiet and with just a slight breeze and that's when I started hearing goats, the more I listened the more I herd all around me but I couldn't see them. I then herd one right in front of me but I couldn't see it I started to think I was crazy until I seen a black face looking at me about 50yds away only halfway up the grass. OK things just got tougher these animals are about a foot shorter than the grass. It was a smaller goat and I put a stock on it just for practice the ground is noisy to walk on and every rock moves. I was able to close to 35yds and there ended up being two. I made the stalk got within range and was presented a shot so I felt I won. Neither of these goats had anything for horns so I let them pass and moved on to the next small Hill. I glassed up more goats but wasn't finding any billys. I had to be back home at 11 and it was now 7am I had seen about 20 goats and finally glassed a small nanny with horns about 5" long about 160yds away and went into stealth mode. I've never been a trophy hunter as the trophy is the hunt and I would be more than happy to bring this nanny home. I was able to close the distance by moving downwind and getting into the grass which helped because they couldn't see over it and I could crouch to about the same height as the grass. No crawling here, did I mention the walking sucked. On the way I jumped another half dozen nannys with kids I let them pass because of the little ones and continued to my target goat. . I finally closed to what ended up being 4 goats to 30yds but didn't have a shot through the grass. I needed her to get on the rocks behind her to get a shot. I waited a few minutes and finally shuffled my feet and she did just what I needed her to do at 32yds. Full draw, anchor, pick a spot, settle the pin, arrows away and she died where she stood with an arrow through the heart. I went back to where I had dropped my pack and returned to take a few pictures.. I had done it a public land diy hunt on the big island and I was successful. It by no means was a big animal but it was the hunt that was truly the trophy. I have no doubt that with the animals I was seeing I would have eventually found a Billy but I was short on time and didn't realize how fast it would happen. I was back at the truck with a boned out goat by 830. I could have gotten a second tag for the area but decided I was happy with what I had and I would be back to do it again. Next time I'll find a Billy.
I checked out and noticed there was only 5 people that came into the area and I only seen the 2 that were in the truck I talked to so it was not crowded at all and that was a pleasant surprise. I drove to the other area to check how many were on the east side of the road and there too was only 5 hunters in there....
Because of the lack of info on a diy hunt I would be happy to answer any questions as best I can but also because of the lack of info on Hawaii diy hunts please do it on this thread rather than pm so others can see it. I'll also reply to pm's if you prefer it that way.
The last day of my trip I was fortunate enough to take a pig as well but this was on private land that neighbors my friends place. That was a fun hunt as well but I wanted to make this thread more about information that may help anyone that wants to hunt the big Island.
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