On Maui, we hunt basically three game mammals. The wild boar, feral goats and the axis deer. Of the three, the goat is the most abundant and the easiest to shoot. I have read many books and magazines on hunting but basically, to be able to shoot game you need "field experience". My hunting buddy and his dad are quite experienced hunters. His dad has been hunting Skyline Trail for the past 25 years and the knowledge and experience he's picked up there is unparalleled. From the month of July of 1999, I have been trying to make it up to Skyline at least once a week to hunt. By doing so, I will become familiar with the habits of the feral goats. I also adjust my time of hunting. Sometimes I go up early in the morning at 3am and other times I go around noon time. This is the only way I am able to gain "field experience".
DESCRIPTION: A familiar animal to all, the feral goats of Hawaii vary greatly in size, shape and coloration. Goats in areas exposed to possible new introduction of genetic strains (i.e., where domestic animals may escape into the wild), show the greatest variation and are usually of small size. Isolated populations, such as those in the Molokai rainforest, are usually uniform in color patterns and individuals occasionally weigh over 100 pounds.
RANGE: Feral goats are found on all the islands (low numbers on Lanai), from sea level to the summit of Haleakala on Maui. The preferred habitat is along the steep cliff edges, deep canyons, or barren lava flows. They are usually found in the dense forests only when forced to exist there by hunting pressure. Due to their preference for living along the steep canyon and valley rims, in some areas they have caused extensive erosion and gradual denudation of the vegetative cover. Eradication programs in the past decade, and currently carefully controlled public hunting on State lands, have kept further damage to a minimum.
BREEDING: Nannies are capable of breeding for the first time at the age of 5 months. The gestation period is from 140 to 160 days; consequently females can bear young twice within a year, and do in most cases. One kid is the average, but twins are often born.
FOOD PREFERENCES: Goats in the wild are opportunistic grazers and browsers, but little is known of their preferred foods. It is likely that they will sample almost any green plant. They need little or no water if green vegetation is available.
HUNTING AND EATING QUALITIES: The majority of goats hunted in the islands are taken for eating purposes. Although possessing a "pungent" odor in the wild, when properly dressed and prepared, goat meat is delicious. When soaked in teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar and then barbequed, "seconds" are a must! The trophy horns of a big billy are highly esteemed by local hunters and add a unique note to any collection. The conformation of the horns vary greatly from herd to herd, with some populations flaring widely and others having tightly curled horns similar to sheep.
DESCRIPTION: The early Polynesian voyagers brought pigs with them to the islands and their descendants roam the island of Hawaii today. High on the slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and on Kauai one still finds a smaller pig, averaging 125 pounds, which is usually black and heavily haired; this is believed to be the Polynesian type. Later introductions were made of domestic breeds from all over the world. Consequently, on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and on parts of Hawaii, there is a mixture of size and colors, ranging from black through red to white. These pigs often weigh over 200 pounds, and occasionally range up to 400 pounds.
RANGE; All major islands except Lanai, where they were exterminated many years ago. Today they live primarily in the wet forest, but if undisturbed, do well in the lower dry forest and scrub as well as pasture lands.
BREEDING: Sows reach the age of puberty at 3 to 5 months and bear litters of 2 to 8 piglets, although litters of up to 14 are not unheard of. The gestation period is 110-116 days.
FOOD PREFERENCES: Pigs will eat almost any animal or plant matter, living or dead, but thrive primarily on roots, tender plant stalks, fruits, and where abundant, earthworms.
HUNTING AND EATING QUALITIES: The majority of pig hunting is done with the use of dogs; indeed, this is about the only way one can bag a pig in the dense rainforests where the greatest populations occur. This thrilling sport with many hunters using only a long knife to dispatch the pig while the dogs hang on to its snout and ears. Tackling a 200 pound boar with tusks up to 3 or 4 inches long is not for the clumsy or hesitant hunter. The next best manner of bagging your porker is "still' hunting. The trick is to find a freshly rooted area, where there is a clear field of fire, and a quartering wind; then sit quietly just before dawn or at dusk, and wait for them. Pigs usually bed down during the daylight hours. Pigs taken in drier habitat are invariably good eating, but pigs from the fern forests often aquire the flavor of the vegetation.
DESCRIPTION: Males antlered part of the year, females never. Bucks stand about 3½ feet at the shoulder, averaging 160 pounds live weight, but with weights up to 229 recorded. Females average 90 pounds. Both sexes are spotted for life; the coats on the majority of deer are a golden brown on the back and flanks with nickel-sized white spots arranged in rows from the neck backwards; the throat, belly and inside of legs are a cream-white, and a black dorsal stripe runs down the spine. Old bucks often turn a grizzled charcoal-gray about the face, neck and forequarters-usually a sure sign of a trophy!
RANGE: The major huntable populations are on the islands of Molokai and Lanai, where there is a total of some 15,000 deer. A herd has been introduced to Maui with the hope of future hunting there. Axis deer prefer an open, parkland forest, such as is found in the kiawe (mesquite) zone. They have also become established in the dense rain forest. The native range is in parkland forests in India and Ceylon.
BREEDING: Axis deer in Hawaii, like their brethen in India, breed at varying times throughout the year. Consequently one can always find bucks in various stages of antler development. Only one fawn is produced each year, with a fawning peak in December, January and February. The mild climate permits excellent fawn survival.
FOOD PREFERENCES: In the lower dry areas, kiawe, klu, lantana, and guinea grass are favored; Hilo grass, drymaria, ulei, and pukiawe are prime foods in the higher, wet areas.
HUNTING AND EATING QUALITIES: Hunted on Public Hunting Areas year round on mammal hunting days, the unique antler formation of this deer (always 3 points) make it a treasured trophy. Axis deer have a flavor of their own, tasting nothing like mainland deer; it is considered one of the best of wild meats.
DESCRIPTION: Also called the European Bighorn Sheep, this animal is one of the ancestors of domestic sheep. The ram weighs about 125 pounds with ewes somewhat lighter. Both sexes may be recognized by their generally brownish body color, with a distinct white saddle patch during some seasons. The underparts and inner side of the limbs are white; the rump is white with a short black tail. The horns of the ram are yellowish brown, characterized by one wide sweep. Ewes are usually hornless. The mouflon is a truly wild animal with an erect, alert posture and lacks the shaggy wool of the feral sheep.
RANGE: Originally native only to the Islands of Sardinia and Corsica in the Mediterranean, this wild sheep has been introduced throughout Europe and Africa. In its native habitat it is adapted to high mountain heather areas, where it seeks refuge in coniferous forests when pursued. In Hawaii it is established on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on Hawaii Island in the high mountain forests and on Lanai along the dry kiawe and grassland coast of the northwest portion of the island.
BREEDING: Rams fight during the mating season in December and January, and successful males become leaders of small parties of ewes.
FOOD PREFERENCEES: Mouflon are primarily grazers and browsers and feed on a variety od native and introduced grasses, forbs, fern allies, shrubs, and tree components. In captivity they eat green hay and barley readily. Water in a "free" state is not necessary to the mouflon, and it survives on moisture obtained in green vegetation.
HUNTING AND EATING QUALITIES: A wary animal, it is difficult to stalk due to its alertness and tendency to seek out dense brush or forest when disturbed. A full-grown ram is a spectacular trophy with its multicolored coat, wide spreading horns and black neck mane. The meat is delicious and can be prepared like mutton.