I am looking to do a hunt in Hawaii in early August on my honeymoon. It looks like I'll be hunting goats/pigs since Axis is off the table. Was hoping somebody on Bowsite has done a similar hunt and could share their experience.
Feature 1: Alive on Kauai
The Real-Life Story of How Matt Schuster Saved My Life
By: Steve Hohensee
Hawaii may sound like an out of reach exotic destination to many bowhunters but the reality is that the islands are a common destination for many Alaskans looking for a break from the darkness of winter and the islands are easier to access for us than many parts of the United States. I figured this fact out soon after moving North and have averaged about one trip every other year to the Aloha State during the 21st century.
Having a budget-minded upbringing, I have come up with a few great Hawaiian hunting trips that can be done on a dime. When my buddy Matt “Shoeman” Schuster learned that I was hunting Hawaii on the cheap he was quick to finagle an invitation or two as he could hunt a new destination and keep his reputation for the frugal intact.
Matt first joined me on the Big Island immediately prior to the 2006 Salt Lake City PBS Gathering. We hunted with some local guys that refer to each other as “Bruddahs”, that I had met on my first Hawaiian trip and we filled the freezer with many feral goats and sheep, a hog, and a pheasant. Perhaps Matt can be coerced by one of our member-friends to write about that trip in one of his six days off during his work week.
Anyhow, I first met Matt at the 1996 PBS Gathering in Charlotte, NC and I have to admit that he did invite me down to Georgia to pig hunt several times and was with me when I killed my first hog that wouldn’t completely fit in just one crock-pot. I believe Matt thought I owed him.
One particularly memorable trip Matt had invited me down to hunt hogs on the infamous, traditional only hunting club, "The Paradise" in South Georgia. Matt had gone out of his way extra far one night and broke his comfort zone, cooking more than his signature can of soup, a nice venison back-strap. As we dined I looked up to see Matt in the middle of choking to death on a chunk of meat, literally. I quickly administered the Heimlich maneuver, saving his life and the rest of the hunt. Forever after I always enjoyed reminding Matt that I had saved his life and that he probably owed me.
I planned my first visit to Kauai in July 2007 because my home, Juneau, had experienced a particularly rough winter and I needed a break, or maybe it was just because I wanted to go hunting and I had been wanting to hunt the NaPali Coast for years. If anyone is wanting to hunt Kauai, I suggest you get a copy of the August/September, 2008 issue of “Traditional Bowhunter Magazine” in which I published a piece in the “Traditional Destinations” column. All of the details of how to pull off a trip to Kauai are in that issue. My original story that I submitted was too long for that particular column so some of the parts hit the copy room floor. I decided I would share one particular tale in more detail with my extended PBS family so that Matt can receive full credit for his quick thinking and Chuck Norris–like, life-saving actions. So here it is and I swear it happened exactly as told; sometimes the truth is so bizarre to not need any embellishment!
Matt and I drove up Waimea Canyon prior to hunting the NaPali Coast later in the week. We arrived at the upper end of the canyon on a Saturday morning and played spectator for a few minutes, secretly checking out our vertically challenging hunting area up the canyon, from the confines of a popular lookout with its cement walkway and walls to protect the tourists from harm. Matt in his classic-style arrowed a small billy that first day. The next morning we were back on the hunt in the canyon but we were a bit sluggish, like lizards on ice, from the previous evening’s beyond-anticipated, chilly mountain air. Mid-morning found us searching out a nap spot in a grove of trees on a steep hillside.
We lazed away time under the warm tropical sun, both of us leaning back against the hillside with our feet propped up on trees to keep us from sliding down into the gulch. A sound on the slopes above caught Matt's attention and he excitedly exclaimed "goats" and then screamed "LOOK OUT" as I heard something unknown rapidly approaching.
I rolled and turned to look as a softball-sized rock, dislodged by the goats, rocketed past the exact spot where my head had been moments before. I felt like Piggy didn't get the chance to feel in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies", from the narrow miss.
That rock came into perfect focus right in front of my eyes when I turned to look and I am sure it would have cracked my skull wide open had Matt not have warned me. Matt had repaid me for saving his life by saving mine with his quick reaction. I quickly nocked an arrow and proceeded to miss the goat that tried to kill me with that rock. We were even (double entendre intended).
Matt and I had a grand adventure along the cliffs of the NaPali later in the week stalking goats, one more time, searching for the opportunity to smugly remind the other that their life is probably owed!
Feature 2: Huntymoon
One Man’s Dream Honeymoon
How perfect is it for a bowhunter to have a wife that would say “it would suck if you went all the way to Kauai and couldn’t go hunting”? How great would it be if she said it on their honeymoon trip! Well it was great and that is exactly what my newlywed wife Donnie said to me before our upcoming trip to Kauai last December and that is just one of the many reasons why I married her!
A typhoon had just hit Kauai prior to our arrival but we were lucky because the storm had departed our chosen island, the first in the Hawaiian-chain, and was headed for the remaining islands. Donnie and I drove around on the island and enjoyed the scenery and just hanging out for the first several days. We toured the Kauai Coffee plantation and I swear their Peaberry is the single best coffee I have ever tasted.
Later in the week Donnie dropped me off at the end of the road for a couple days. I loaded up my daypack with a bit of grub; my hammock; and my signature on islands hunts, arrows countable by the dozens. The goats are overpopulated creating a target-rich environment, and do major floral damage. I had come to “Save the Plants”.
The weather was a lot cooler and rainier than the care-free days of July when Matt and I had hunted the NaPali but warm enough to hunt in shorts and a T-shirt. I had just started getting into the core area where there is fantastic goat hunting and crossed paths with a small sounder of hogs when it was time to stretch my hammock for the night. I woke to bleating goats the following morning but they escaped unscathed so I hiked down the trail beyond where Matt had made a phenomenal heart shot back in July on a nice billy, at a range beyond an above-average archer’s ability. More bleating goats and I soon was within striking distance; running an arrow from end to end thru a brown billy. I slid over baseball-sized lava rock on an almost-treacherous slope to the downed goat and glanced down at the bright metallic tungsten carbide band on my finger, at my newly found good luck charm!
Each time during the day when one of the many helicopters flew overhead, I would look up and wonder if Donnie was on board. I told her she had to fly over the coast and see it from above while I was stalking through Kauai’s infamous red dirt down below. The hunting is always good on the Coast and this trip was no different. Right at last light I slipped in on the prettiest hog I had ever seen, red with perfectly circular black spots, each about four inches in diameter. I had just donned a rain jacket during the last deluge and my bowstring caught the sleeve. The day had offered me many previous opportunities and let’s just say that I saved many plants that day and had the honeymoon many men dream of, a HUNTYMOON!
Note: Donnie wishes to publicly thank Matt Schuster for saving her husbands life
There are no goats (maybe an extremely limited few) or pigs on Lanai'.
People helping people is exactly why I love this site.
On the bright side, I'm coming to understand there are more opportunities than I first thought. Starting to really look forward to the trip!
My personal favorite is Kauai by a good margin, second place would be The Big Island. I would love to do Lanai for hunting as well. I don’t have any interest to ever return to Ohau.
I throughly enjoyed the NaPali coast trail hunting for both goats and pigs, but as Steve states, I’ve heard it isn’t what it once was. Good luck, hard to go wrong!
Mostly depends on the island what you are hunting, they are all very different. Oahu.... I know little about and never hunted there. It's WAY too urban for me. Too many people. Big Isle and Kauai have the most public land to hunt. Pigs and goats on them both, couple species of sheep also on the Big Isle and limited blacktail deer in spots on Kauai.
Maui county (Maui, Molokai, Lanai) has the axis deer. Maui/Molokai have goats and pigs too (Molokai a few other odd things like blackbuck, but pretty rare. Almost got one there once though.) Lanai has mouflon sheep to go with the axis, no pigs and they claim no goats but I killed one a few years ago, only goats I've ever seen there and had to argue with DLNR about that too. But I had pics.
Problem with Maui and Molokai is very little public land to hunt. Pretty much have to have access to private one way or another. Lanai has a good deal of "public-private" archery only that you can buy a permit for, good for a year, deer or mouflon, either sex, no limit. (last one I got was $60-65 if i recall) Have to hunt in certain areas but it can be a good hunt. I used to go over a good deal more than I do now and always bought the annual private tag. They also have "private-private" areas set aside to hunt but that's a guided hunt only. It's an awesome hunt though. Lanai accommodations and logistics can get tricky, but there are folks in Lanai City that rent out "rooms/beds" and private vehicles. Only legal camping (with the exception of fishing camps) is on the beach down at Manele. By permit only. You want to stay at a hotel..... I was told this last trip that the newly remodeled rooms at the Manele Bay start at $1800 per night... and I don't think you can hang a deer off the balcony either.....
Whatever island you pick, send me a PM.
Here's some video from the hunt. Super interesting island. Wettest place on earth in the center with a desert right beside it. Only has goats and pigs on it I believe. Saw one pig one day while driving - tons of beaches and places to surf if that's your fancy. I just wouldn't get accomodations at one end of the highway. We were right at the NE side of the island. So then if we wanted to see Waimea for example you need to drive literally around the island. We spent a week on Oahu and a week on Kauai and really loved the mix of both islands. They are different but awesome in their own ways. Hawaii is the best vacation I've ever done. As far as "couple holidays I've only been to Hawaii once and Cuba once.
Thanks everybody for chiming in. The information has been tremendous. Really looking forward to August.