Most avid sportsmen plan trips to the south or the midwest for their hunting trips. But there's a new destination to add to the mix, and it doesn't require cold weather gear.
Hawaii, it turns out, is a hunter's paradise. Obviously, fishermen in Hawaii have no difficulty filling their days, but the islands are full of large game as well. Wild pigs, goats, axis deer, and feral and mouflon sheep roam the mountains without any natural predators, which makes hunting in Hawaii an environmental necessity. The idea of living off the land is an important value in Hawaiian culture and you'll often hear hunters say that the "aina [or land] provides."
Hawaii's terrain and natural beauty offer an added bonus for hunters looking for more than just a stroll in the woods. Jake Marote, an adventurer and photographer, frequently endures army crawls, hikes over lava fields and climbs up steep cliffs to track animals, all with his compound bow and a 30-pound pack of survival gear in hand. "Never know when you'll be spending the night," he says. If he does catch something, Marote (who raised a baby goat he found as a pet) will usually debone the animal on the spot, pack the meat, and leave the carcass -- it's a long hike back, after all.
On a recent hunting trip for goats on Oahu's west side, Marote and his hunting partner left at 4am. This was the night sky they saw as they began their hike up:
They had to climb and crawl across narrow spines with steep cliffs on either side. One slip or fall could be deadly.
But the view from the top was worth it.
Since it's "the rut" -- or mating season -- right now, the male goats were constantly chasing and battling the females around.
Marote and his friend didn't catch anything on this particular outing, but not for lack of targets. They could have shot some goats, Marote explained, "but they wouldn't have been ethical shots as we wouldn't have been able to climb down and retrieve them from the side of the cliffs." One of the disadvantages to adventure hunting.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW
For those sportsmen who still don't believe Hawaii is for them, here is Marote with a ram he shot after a nine-mile hike over lava fields: