‘Give us access’: Hunters want to help with Maui County deer overpopulation

As axis deer keep multiplying in Maui County, hunters are offering their help to solve the long-time problem.
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 7:10 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 30, 2022 at 7:29 PM HST
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KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - As axis deer keep multiplying in Maui County, hunters want to help solve the problem.

Many of them are hoping a new bill could make it happen.

House Bill 1872 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to recognize that game mammals provide a food source.

“They’re going in there and killing large amounts of pigs, deer and sheep, and the food goes to waste. Oftentimes they’re doing it from a helicopter,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, Hawaii Firearms Coalition Director.

“The last thing we want to do is just shoot 300 or 400 deer and let the carcasses rot. To me personally, that’s wasteful,” said Molokai farmer Nathaniel Oswald.

Oswald said hunting is a way of life on Molokai.

“Even to a certain extent, it defines our people here,” Oswald said. “Deer meat is a staple in our food source. I can’t overstate that enough. We have friends and family who eat deer meat sometimes every day and part of that is the high cost of imported food.”

So if there are so many hunters throughout Maui County, why is there still so much deer?

Hunters say access is a huge issue.

“There’s no place legally to hunt right now,” said Maui Hunter and Sportmen’s Club President Troy Helmer.

Helmer created stickers that say: “Give us axis.”

“We have a lot of members, and we’re willing to go and help, but they got to give us access,” Helmer said.

Hunters say HB1872 is important because it includes them in conversations about managing Hawaii’s deer population.

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