Sitka Mountain Gear
kauai Black tail deer hunting
Contributors to this thread:
hunterjed 12-Jul-11
Cheetah 01-Aug-11
Nicolai 13-Aug-11
Maverick940 24-Dec-11
Brian Howell 01-Jan-12
Nicolai 06-Feb-12
MeanMachine 08-Jun-13
Nicolai 10-Feb-14
Nicolai 18-Aug-14
From: hunterjed
wanted to find out info on hunting blacktail on kauai, would it be better for gun or bow and what are the seasons.

From: Cheetah
Here is a link to contact information.

Call the Kauai number. Blacktail public land and is a permitted hunt. You can call and get specifics.

This is from the regs

"Seven consecutive weekends: Mid-September through October.See annual deer tag instruction sheets for specific hunting days."

Hope this helps.

From: Nicolai
...well, the bow is easier to get a permit. Basically, you just get one over the counter. I seen five deer in a day in Unif F, the lower portion of Waimea canyon. Learned that they bed in the shadow side during the mid day. Even missed a shot, but haven't gone back.

If you really want to get one, find someone who knows what they are doing and can be your "hunter assistant" on the weekend that you draw a rifle tag. There's only a handful of guys who actually know what they are doing when it comes to black-tailed deer on Kauai.

From: Maverick940
What size of blacktail buck could a person hope for - but maybe not expect to get - when hunting the mountainous country near Waimea or along the Na Pali coast?

From: Brian Howell

Brian Howell's embedded Photo
Brian Howell's embedded Photo
This is my backyard, literally, and I will tell you that the black-tail are quite sparse in the hunting areas and that they are very very hard, if not impossible, to find. I don't mean to contradict Nicolai, who I know, (he's an optimist who goes the extra mile), but he will tell you as well that seeing 5 deer in a day is the exception not the rule. In the few years that followed Hurricane Iniki in 1992 (which boosted the deer population) there were deer all over the Unit F archery area. But it ain't like that anymore. A major factor for this is because in the latter 1990's and thereafter the goats moved around from the main canyon into Unit F and pushed out the deer with their stink - forcing the deer to move further down and into the lower elevations of the canyons within Unit F. Much of those areas are too steep or too thick with scrub bushes to sensibly hunt. It's a vast area and it's unforgiving. The population boost from the hurricane 20 years ago is long gone. That's why it's buck only now and the numbers taken over recent rifle season are less than 20% of what they used to be post Iniki. I'd bet that you might not even see / encounter a deer if you came over here to hunt. You'd probably have better luck seeing one in the morning along the dirt road at Polihale. Many deer have found sanctuary on the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands. Nobody poaches them there and they have great cover in the Kiawe thickets.

From: Nicolai
Hi Brian, I haven't checked on here in a bit. The iniki theory makes sense. I never considered that it could impact deer, I'm assuming maybe from increased disturbance colonizing plants favored by deer??? Most people think hunter pressure has more to do with it. And I'm concerned about habitat degredation by too many animals.

The unit-f sightings were in the lower portion along the ditchbank recently. A friend of mine who hunts waimea canyon for a few decades now describes the goat situation as: by 1990, the goats on the west side of the canyon had grown to the point of exhausting their food sources and accellerating erosion. They would move into the adjacent haole koa-robinson grass forests makai and within 6 months would consume everything, and kill all koa by bark stripping. And then they would move on to the next 1/2 mile and continue the process. This went on for almost a decade before the State finally openned the archery area to muzzleloaders in an attempt to reduce the herd. He likes some goats too but considers it a loss of prime deer and pig habitat.

I posted the story on the hawaii sportsmen forum, but I did get a blacktail deer this year with my bow. In a day and a half of trying, I had three bucks and a doe walk by my stand. I picked a good tree with three or more trails intersecting nearbye and a good sunny feeding area nearby, and good native cover (better forage than the invasives). The first morning I seen a young buck with presumably it's mamma following behind. They walked within 12 feet. Then I left to go work. The next weekend, I had a buck run past me while relieving myself downwind of my stand and later arrowed a big bodied fork horn at sunset.

Like Brian said, this is the exception, not the rule. I had a great spot, scent control spray, and a treestand.

From: MeanMachine
For the nonresident visiting archery hunter your chances of getting any legal buck during the deer hunting season is a one in a million shot. The season is not during the rut, the area is very thick, poaching is rampant and only a handful have ever been taken with archery equipment. The Feral Goats from unit H have pretty much displaced the deer in the area east of the Pacific Missle Range which was the best area for deer quantity (Unit A) but was also open to Rifles and Muzzleloaders. Lots of people have hunted for many years unsuccessfully with a rifle. I did notice an increase to the success rates and deer quantity after hurricane Iniki in 1992 but the quantity did drop off once the access roads were passable again. The island has no guides that specialize in the Blacktail hunting and pretty much no private lands where the landowners "protect" or manage the species. The hunter success for the total seasons are less than 2% So you know what you are up against. Kauai is a great place to visit, an awesome destination for family or honeymooners and you can enjoy the outdoors to the fullest. But bringing home any Blacktail deer with limited time in the field or without intense scouting is like finding a needle in the haystack.

From: Nicolai
Update: after a few seasons of trying this is what I have concluded about black-tailed deer hunting on Kauai.

1. Scent control clothes are a must! The vast majority of areas where you hunt deer are in hilly terrain across the main wind direction. Consequently, there's a lot of swirling wind to give away a hunter's position.

2. Virtually no information exists on hunting black tailed deer on Kauai. However, a lot of information can be gleamed from the experience of west coast hunters. Google hunting the "columbian black-tailed deer"

3. Use tree stands.

4. According to west coast hunters, black tail bucks stay in thick cover. The does and young fawns sometimes come to open areas but the bucks tend to hang in the thick stuff.

5. Hunt the rub lines on the top third of a hill. according to west coast hunters, that is where the bucks tend to stay. And while you probably will will be able to pattern a particular buck, you'll be much more likely to see him and other bucks if you hunt these spots.

Anyway, I though people might find this helpful in increasing their odds. I'll post trail camera photos of Kauai deer if I ever place my camera up there. -Nic

From: Nicolai

Nicolai's Link
For all you on Facebook, I put out a trail camera in a deer area. It is not an archery unit, and would be interesting to put one out in those areas but it does capture quite a bit of deer on camera. More deer than pigs, actually. I think I have the privacy made to "public" but if you can't see it, let me know.

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