07/19/2022 – POPULAR HUNTING MEANS MORE GAME BIRDS AVAILABLE ON O’AHU THIS SEASON

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DAVID Y.IGE
GOVERNOR

SUZANNE D CASE
PRESIDENT

For immediate release: July 19, 2022

POPULAR HUNTING MEANS MORE GAME BIRDS AVAILABLE ON O’AHU THIS SEASON

To see the video, click on the photo or watch on this link: https://vimeo.com/731525270

(HONOLULU) – Tuesday was the first of many moving days for O’ahu’s game bird breeding program, moving hundreds of chukars and pheasants from brooder stage to flight pens in outdoors.

Both of these game bird species are unlikely to survive in the Kuaokalā Game Management Area (GMA), located above Ka’ena Point on the northwest shore of O’ahu. That’s why DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is importing hundreds of birds, 700 this year alone, to provide “a public benefit that strikes a balance between conservation and the presence of a recreational resource in the landscape,” says DOFAW Game Program Coordinator Jason Omick.

“Our mandate requires us to provide resources for sustainable outdoor recreation, and hunting is part of that. Game bird hunting offers people the opportunity to obtain meat and enjoy the outdoors. Many Oʻahu residents tell us they want game birds available to them, and last season the state legislature recognized that benefit in law,” Omick added.

The resources, chukars and pheasants, arrive in a brooder just after they hatch. They spend their first days under heat lamps, then when they are five to six weeks old, they are trucked to flight pens, built by DOFAW staff and volunteer hunters.

Nick Vargas, a DOFAW wildlife biologist, manages the game program on O’ahu. He is also the guy who interacts with hunters when they bring their game to a hunter registration station to be registered.

“Over the past five years, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of hunters looking for game birds. People hear about our “put and take” program and travel from off-island and mainland after learning that O’ahu has good game bird hunting opportunities, Vargas said.

Before heading to the flight enclosures, DOFAW staff and volunteer hunters load the birds, one by one, into crates or boxes for the ride over the pali. The hunters themselves have a vested interest in ensuring the enclosures are secure and the birds have a habitat that mirrors that of Kuaokalā.

Pheasants are equipped with ‘mirettes’, tiny shields, which fit over their beaks and block all but their peripheral vision. This protects against the tendency of species to attack each other in enclosures.

In addition to the flight enclosures run by DOFAW, hunting organizations maintain another set at Mokulēʻia. In 15 to 16 weeks, the birds will again be loaded into crates and boxes and trucked to Kuaokalā GMA, where they will be released one by one.

It is important to note that annual hunting seasons reduce the impact of birds on the landscape to almost nothing. The put and take system is not only environmentally friendly, but also financially viable. Revenue from hunting licenses and game bird stamps helps fund the program.

Omick points out that the state receives about $4.5 million a year in federal grants for game and nongame wildlife restoration projects. Federal funds allocated to the game program along with hunting license revenue collected, support and enhance game bird hunting throughout the state.

“Often the food sustainability component of the hunt gets lost, but these birds end up on the tables of local families. They are good to eat and I had smoked and roasted birds and bird jerky. The put and catch system is essential on O’ahu, because unlike many other places, these birds cannot survive for years and years in the existing game bird hunting area, due to weather conditions. incompatible habitat, including lack of adequate water and food resources. in the GMA. We now have the guarantee that birds will be available to hunt every year,” Vargas concluded.

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RESOURCES

(All images/videos courtesy of DLNR)

HD video – Transfer of game birds (July 18, 2022):

Photographs – Transfer of game birds (July 18, 2022):

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9eou5o8yru7wsjx/AACGcG5n6O_zDzxmtFTOUyeta?dl=0

Media Contact:

Dan Denison

Senior Communications Manager

Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources

[email protected]

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