I went to Hawaii when I was a kid for for a family vacation and it was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. It's pretty astonishing that you don't have to leave the U.S. to see volcano's, lava fields and some of the most awesome waves and shoreline. At that point in my life, I never imagined that it would be a place that I would end up hunting. In fact, I never had any idea on how much terrain and animals Hawaii had until I began researching it this past season.
When my wife and I decided to book a pretty short-term getaway for ourselves, it didn't take us long to settle on Hawaii. Between the cost of flights and the easy travel itinerary from Texas, we chose to stay on the island of Maui. Now, I do recall saying that to her that "this vacation wouldn't turn into a full-blown hunting trip", though I was pretty sure that I could jam a "full-blown hunting trip" into 1 day if need be. After getting all of the travel and lodging logistics squared away, the real work began trying to find an outfitter to hunt with. Now originally we were headed to Maui right after Labor Day, which is when I planned to hunt Axis. After the hurricane hit Houston, we postponed our trip to November. Later in the year, the Axis hunting slows down, but the goat hunting is still great so we switched gears a little bit and decided to hunt Spanish Goats. Let me tell you, this is one of the most incredible hunts that I've experienced. After returning home I could think of probably a hundred reasons why you should add the state of Hawaii to your places to hunt, but I'll highlight the 4 most important reasons below.
The simple beauty of Hawaii's landscape lies within its variety. Not only does the terrain differ drastically from island to island, but once you start hiking around a particular area, you'll notice how quickly the ground underneath your feet changes. On this past trip, I hunted Maui on some private land near Kula. When I left the hotel, I was practically sitting at sea level and when I got to Kula to meet my guide, I was at 3,000 feet above sea level. Pretty incredible change in altitude over the coarse of a 45 minute ride. When we stepped out of the truck, we were probably about 2,500 feet above the ocean, standing in the middle of a the lush green grasses and trees that cover the hillside. Below and to my left was a gigantic lava field and the ocean. To my right and uphill was a ton of rocky ledges, draws and fields that we were getting set to weave through.
Something that might come as a surprise to many(including myself) is the abundance of game that you can hunt at any given time during the year. Hawaii is home to some incredible game, including Rio Grande turkey's, Axis deer, Spanish goats, Francolin's and hogs. On my hunt, we saw a fair amount of Axis right from the start, but were right in the middle of about 250 goats, which made for an absolutely incredible hunt to say the least. There is no shortage of game in Hawaii, that's for sure.
Vacation & Hunting Trip
Sure, I think a hunting trip is a vacation, but my wife doesn't and I don't blame her. It's also really not any fun to have to leave home to go on two separate trips. Hawaii is one of only a few places in the States that actually has the right game that doesn't take a full week to spot, hike, stalk and shoot. The honest truth is that you can squeeze a full blown hunting trip into a couple days or as short as a morning if you'd like. Depending on what your after, most big game move during the early morning and mid evening hours, so if you're after something like an Axis or Spanish Goat, it's pretty doable to find a mature animal within a days time, which is exactly what we did.
$95 bucks to hunt Hawaii, yes I'm completely serious! Considering that most non-resident hunting license costs are well over $300 bucks, Hawaii's non-resident license is simply awesome. Best of all, there isn't a draw for any game. It honestly doesn't get much better than that, especially if you've been drooling over a sheep tag lately.
If you're planning on hunting Hawaii, then I highly suggest that you give Pat Fisher of Hawaii Safaris a call. Pat is a great guide and is absolutely incredible to work with. He takes the time to go above and beyond by answering every single question in great detail and helps explain every aspect of the hunt before you even depart for your ride to the airport. Best of all, he understands that you most likely aren't in Hawaii for just hunting, so his hunts are focused, specific and can be tailored to work with your schedule. I actually don't know any other way to say it other than, Pat and his team of guides, Jeremy and Todd are among the most friendly and super professional guides that I've ever hunted with. When I get back to Hawaii, I will absolutely be hunting with them again!