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What Can You Hunt in Hawaii? 9 Common Game Species (With Pictures)

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mourning dove bird perching on tree branch

In the United States, Hawaii is not seen as a hotspot for diverse hunting opportunities but rather for its paradise of tropical beaches, world-class surfing, and no-worries culture. However, there’s more to this island state than you think. There are several species that you can hunt: both birds and mammals. Stay tuned because we will cover nine common species in the state with details about locations and times of year you can hunt them.

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Before We Begin

Although there are plenty of animals to hunt in Hawaii, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to make things go smoothly. 

  • Always carry a valid hunting license, whether on your property or on private land
  • Follow all local laws and regulations (this may vary depending on the island you hunt on)
  • Wear orange to prevent accidents in the field
  • Refer to https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/recreation/hunting/ for more information about hunting in Hawaii

The 5 Mammals You Can Hunt In Hawaii:

1. Feral Pig

feral pig
Image Credit: Slatan, Shutterstock
Regions: Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Big Island
Seasons: Year-round

Pigs are in no shortage in Hawaii and are one of the most popular animals to hunt in the state. The hogs aren’t exactly native since they were introduced and released when outside settlers first invaded the country. Their total populations are high for each of the main islands, so there isn’t much holding hunters back. During the night, feral pigs are best hunted with thermal or night vision scopes to increase the success rate. 

2. Axis Deer

axis deer in the woods
Image Credit: shashank090302, Pixabay
Regions: Maui, Molokai, Lanai
Seasons: Year-round

Compared to other deer species, the axis deer has more distinct facial features, such as a dark “brow” across its forehead. Axis deer were brought to the islands as a gift back in 1867, and they aren’t native to the state. They can be hunted on three main islands; Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. However, Molokai and Lanai require a lottery permit to hunt during the season. On the other hand, Maui does not have this restriction, and you can pursue the animals freely. 

3. Sheep

sheep in the mountains
Image Credit: Magdalenalena, Pixabay
Regions: Big Island, Lanai
Seasons: Year-round

There are two kinds of sheep that can be hunted in Hawaii: mouflon sheep and feral sheep. Feral sheep are escapees that aren’t accustomed to humans. The mouflon variation resembles the Bighorn sheep with their enormous, curved horns, whereas the feral sheep have fluffy coats and are considerably smaller. Both can be hunted on the Big Island, but the feral type needs a lottery permit. It’s also the only island where feral sheep are legal to hunt. Mouflon sheep can be hunted on both Big Island and Lanai, but you’ll need a permit to hunt them on Lanai.

4. Black-tail Deer

a black-tailed deer in the wild
Image Credit: Matt Ragen, Shutterstock
Regions: Kauai
Seasons: Year-round

Contrary to the white-tail deer found in the eastern states, the black-tail deer has a black tail. They were originally sent by the government from Oregon back in 1961 and introduced to the island of Kauai. Unfortunately, Hawaiian hunters are limited to hunting the deer on the single island since they are only concentrated in that area. Also, it can only be legally hunted by obtaining a permit via lottery selection. 

5. Feral Goat

mountain goat
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay
Regions: Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai
Seasons: Year-round

Similar to the feral sheep of Hawaii, feral goats are abundant farm animals that have managed to get out of captivation. Available to hunt on most of the primary islands, this species doesn’t require special permits and can be hunted any time of year. Lanai is the only major hunting region with no regulations or permissions for hunting goats. Luckily, there’s a limit of two goats per day, so if you find a herd, you can keep coming back for more!

The 4 Game Birds You Can Hunt In Hawaii

6. Ring-necked Pheasant

ring-necked pheasant bird on river bank
Image Credit: barmanCZ, Pixabay
Regions: Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai
Seasons: Island dependent

As a common bird for hunters to target in Hawaii, the ring-necked pheasant is a familiar face. The species can be caught in all major island regions without the need for lottery permits. The ring-necked pheasant can be easily identified by observing their green head with red patches surrounding the eyes and their spotty brownish-orange wings and body. Additionally, they get their name from the white ring of feathers that divides their head from the rest of their body. Each hunter can kill a maximum of three ring-necked pheasants. 

7. Green Pheasant

Green Pheasant
Green Pheasant (Image Credit: coniferconifer, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Regions: Maui, Lanai
Seasons: Island dependent

Another popular pheasant species is the green pheasant, which has an assortment of deep green, blue, and turquoise colors that cover the entire head and body. Plus, there’s a vibrant red wattle that some other pheasants don’t have. They can be legally hunted on two islands: Maui and Lanai. You’ll be able to hunt the birds, but a maximum of three pheasants is allowed per hunter. This includes other peasants such as the ring-necked that we mentioned earlier.

8. California Quail

california quail bird
Image Credit: Nel_Botha-NZ, Pixabay
Regions: Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai
Seasons: Island dependent

Introduced from the west coast, the California quail is available to hunt in several Hawaiian Islands. There are four areas where you can find them: Big Island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. They can also be found in Kauai, but the season is closed at this time. You can identify the California quail by looking for the dark black topknot, brownish grey body patterns, and brownish head fluff. The bag limit is 15 quail per person. 

9. Mourning Dove

mourning dove bird perching on tree branch
Image By: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Regions: Big Island, Maui
Seasons: Island dependent

Even the famous mourning dove is inevitably found in every crack and crevice of North America, as it has populations that extend to the Pacific islands. There is a limit of 10 doves that can be held at once, and you are restricted to a 10-gauge shotgun or under. It’s easy to find the birds due to their distinct appearance and “mourning” song at dawn or dusk.

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Final Thoughts

Hawaii has a lot more hunting opportunities than you might think. If you’re not a resident of the state, it’s likely that there isn’t much discussion about the topic, but it might be the perfect place for you to hunt new animals you’ve never seen while also vacationing on the tropical beaches.

You might be interested: 2 Common Types of Sparrows in Hawaii (With Pictures)

Featured Image Credit: MacieicaM, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.