All About Hunting In Hawaii

If you are enthusiastic to hunt in a tropical zone, you may easily choose Hawaii as your hunting destination. The state has the six major islands offering hunting opportunities for many mammals and bird species including feral pigs, mouflon sheep, black buck, feral goats, wild turkeys, black-tailed deer etc.

Hunters need not have to think about the weather, it is extremely pleasant. An additional benefit is that hunters can easily take the entire family and enjoy the state’s many beautiful beaches and resorts. Another thing is that, while hunting on public lands hunter orange is required but on private land it is not needed.

Hawaii gives various opportunities to hunters. Just a careful planning and a thorough knowledge of hunting regulations of the state ensure that choosing Hawaii as a hunting destination will be a memorable one.

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1. Species to Hunt in Hawaii

1.1 Feral Hogs

Feral hogs are the popular choice for most hunters. Pig hunting is a centuries old tradition in Hawaii and has a direct link to cultural history of the state. It is also an important economic source for thousands of Hawaii families. So, management of these wild hogs will take considerable thought and careful planning.

1.2 Axis Deer

Axis deer is one of the most popular game animals to hunt. Hunters need extreme challenge to hunt this species. They have strong vision and sense they can see and hear from distance.

Their beautiful white spotted cape and dark colored horns make the deer popular game to hunt. You can find them easily in the plains or in the steep mountains.

1.3 Spanish Goats

Another game animal is Spanish goat. Typically, they are found in grassy plains of the central portion of Hawaii island and can be hunted by rifle or archery. They are active in early in the morning.

1.4 Vancouver Bull

It is one of the dangerous game animals to hunt. They are wild and aggressive and have been living in the dense rainforest of Mauna Loa since 1778. Australian Scrub bull and Vancouver bull both are very similar.

1.5 Mouflon Sheep

They are highly demanding game animals, next to axis deer. They are often found roaming over high elevation, rough lava flows on the slope of the Mouna Loa volcano.

1.6 Hawaiian Monk Seal

It is one of the most endangered mammals worldwide. Most Hawaiian monk seals live in the remote north- western Hawaiian Islands.  Hawaiian Seals can weigh from 400-600 pounds, up to 8 feet in length. It is one of only two remaining species of monk seals in the world.

1.7 Mongoose

Mongoose and squirrel are look alike. Hawaii has no squirrels; thus, it is a similar replacement. You can often find mongoose around bushes and on mountain sides.

Mongoose were originally introduced to Hawaii in 1883 by the sugar industry to control rats in sugar cane fields. It is illegal to hunt mongoose without permission from the authority

1.8 Mourning Dove

Mourning dove is small game species. Mourning dove is less common than the other doves found in Hawaii. This bird species was brought to Hawaii from North America around mid-1960s. This game bird can be hunted in fall seasons only.

The often overlooked hunting paradise of Hawaii

2. Hunting Seasons

Hunters every year get attracted toward the state because of its beaches and tropical weather. Hawaii has eight islands. But hunting is allowed on six islands. Each island has unique landscape and population of big game. Thus, hunting seasons also vary.

  • Game bird hunting generally opens in fall season but it varies by land. On privately owned land, hunting season starts from November and goes on till January.
  • Feral pigs, feral goats, black-tailed deer are found in the island of Kauai and can be hunted year-round.
  • On Oahu, Molokai and Maui islands, feral pigs, feral goats can be hunted year-round.
  • On the island of Lanai, mouflon sheep, axis deer are found but hunting season varies. Unlike other islands, hunting on Lanai islands for mouflon sheep hunting starts in open season from July to August. Axis deer hunting starts in fall season from February till march. Only dates vary by hunting unit, method and residency.
  • On the island of Hawaii, feral pigs, feral goats and wild sheep can be hunted year-round.
  • On private land, season is no bar, you can hunt year-round with special permits.

3. Where Can You Hunt?

Hawaii offers an abundance of potential hunting grounds both on public as well as private lands. But there are certain rules and restrictions to follow.

3.1 Public Land

Hawaii has given opportunity to hunt in 6 major islands viz; Kauai,Oahu,Maui, Molokai, Lanai and big island of Hawaii. Each island has one or more state-designated public hunting areas called hunting units.

There are many state-owned forest reserve on each unit of each island. Some of these are-Puu Ka Pele Forest Reserve on Kauai island, Kuaokala Game Management Area and Forest Reserve, Mokuleia Forest Reserve on Oahu island, Molokai Forest Reserve on Molokai island,Lanai island has state-owned land of the Lanai Co-operative Game Management Area, Maui has The Hana Forest Reserve and the island of Hawaii is a big one consisting many public hunting lands like Kokala Forest Reserve, Olaa Forest Reserve.

To hunt on public grounds in Hawaii, hunters need hunting license. Some areas offer lottery system in which a limited no. of hunters are allowed in each season with a special tag under the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.


3.2 Private Land

While hunting on private Land, hunters need written permission from the  owner. Moreover, a valid hunting license is required for entering onto the private land.

Private land owners may establish additional rules or special consideration for hunters. On most private lands, hunters have to hire a guide that has the hunting rights to the land.

Private land can be expensive since it charges access fees to private land. Trophy quality is typically higher on leased private land as hunter numbers and harvests are more tightly regulated here.

4. License Requirements

It is much easier to get license instantly issued after you complete the purchase process. For that, you need to have taken a hunter safety course recognized by National Hunter educational Association and have a proof of doing so.

A valid Hawaii hunting license is very much needed for all hunting in the state. Those who have an out-of-state hunter education card or Hawaii hunting license issued prior to July 1, 1990 get Letters of Exemption.

4.1 Resident Hunting License

All resident of Hawaii must have a resident hunting license. Those who are living for at least one year in Hawaii, active-duty military members stationed in Hawaii are considered residents of Hawaii

4.2 Non-Resident Hunting License

Non-resident hunting license is also issued for hunters outside the state. Additionally, they need permits, stamps and tags.

4.3 Youth License

Both residents and non-residents age 15 or below may also apply for hunting license. But for hunting purpose, they must accompany licensed adult except additional permits, stamps and tags.

4.4 Adult Hunting License

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources offers free hunting license for Hawaii residents aged 65 or older. Additionally permits, stamps and tags are required.

4.5 Disabled Hunting License

Disabled hunting license is also available with special accommodation.

Hawaii does not offer a license specially for veterans. You can purchase license online. A resident hunting license costs $10 and non-resident cost $95.

5. Hunter Safety Education

  It is mandatory to complete hunter education certification for those who born after December 31,1971 or before January 1,1972 in order to purchase a hunting license in Hawaii.

Hawaii hunters get special benefit after completion of Hunter education certifications, as all U.S. states, provinces and countries accept Hawaii hunter education certification. This is known as reciprocity.

Hawaii hunting education is approved by Hawaii department of land and natural resources. Students learn the skill and information required to have a safe and successful hunt. Students may enroll themselves below mentioned classes.

5.1 Regular Classes

Hawaii hunter education classes offer classroom program. These programs generally consist of 2 days; 6 hours for the first day and 8 hours for the second day. Teacher/instructor teaches about basics of hunting ,weapon used etc.

5.2 Hybrid Classes

Hybrid basic hunter education classes combine online and in-person classroom instruction. For taking online course, a student must be at least 10 years old.

Once online course is completed students have to enroll themselves in a 4-5 hour in-person conclusion class to learn about specific hunting related things and to take the written exams. After successfully passing the exams, hunters obtain certification.

6. Rules And Regulations

Certain rules and regulations must be abided by hunters. No person can violate rules made by the department.

6.1 Hunting Hours

For hunting game mammals hunting is permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Legal hunting hours on private lands are the same as on public lands.

6.2 Bag Limits

Daily bag limit and season bag limit differ land wise. Six islands are divided into units and each unit has specific bag limits. On the island of Kauai, one game mammal is hunted from each species daily and there is no season limit. On other islands there is little bit exception regarding bag limits.

6.3 Hunting Garments

Blaze-orange garment is required while hunting game birds and animals with the exception of spring Turkey hunting or designated archery areas. While carrying game or wearing a back pack, the blaze orange on the upper part must be visible from both front and back.

The rules on this orange garment are very specific. This blaze orange garment may be a shirt, vest, coat or jacket. The material must be commercially manufactured and may be either solid or mesh with maximum size of one-eighth inch.

The use of camouflage orange is prohibited. No person can hunt, serve as a guide or assist a hunter in any hunting area where firearms are permitted without wearing an exterior garment. There are no hunter orange requirements established for private land.

6.4 Bow Requirements

For bow hunting, there is no necessity of hunter safety education. But one can take this course if he plans on bowhunting in states that require certification because Hawaii has reciprocity with other U.S. states.

When hunting with a bow drawing tension requirement must be followed. Long bow with minimum 40 pounds at 28-inch draw is required. Recurve bows must have 35 pounds of drawing tension.

Compound bows also must have 30 or more pounds of drawing tension. Crossbow in Hawaii are only legal for disabled person with a valid proof of disability.

The crossbow must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds. Restriction sets up for bow arrangements won’t be violated. A bow shall be considered loaded if an arrow is nocked on the bow string.

7. Prohibited Practices

  • No person shall possess firearm within any public hunting area without having a valid Hawaii state hunting license.
  • No person shall possess any firearm or weapon in any public hunting area during closed season and non-hunting days during open season.
  • It is prohibited to hunt game mammals with a hand gun under the age of 18 years.
  • It is prohibited to operate any motorized vehicle while hunting area, except on roads which have been constructed, maintained and opened for vehicular use.
  • Any artificial light is prohibited to hunt in Hawaii.
A Bow Hunting Paradise! Hunt Hawaii: Axis Deer, Pigs & Goats


Hawaii is considered as an enchanting tourist destination for its heavenly locations and Tropical gateway. Hunting is one of the most exciting activities that you can enjoy.

The Hawaiian Islands provide you with a completely unique hunting experience every time. You must have knowledge of the local laws including season for hunting, hunting license etc. for the current year.

Hawaii offers exciting package for hunting game mammals. Thus, you may choose Hawaii as your hunting destination. For further information you may visit official website of Hawaii department of land and natural resources:


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