Why Not Hunting?
by Tom Lodge, Hawaii Hunting Association
Hawaii has an environment designed to encourage investigation of the great outdoors and the abundant resources, both natural and introduced. Unique forests complement striking seascapes; colorful flora and fauna populate from mountain top to the sea.
In Hawaii, hunting has had a long tradition that for political reasons is being eradicated. This is at best senseless, and at worst an affront to cultural, traditional, and recreational endeavor. It is a blunder of significance for the long-term health and safety of our forests which pits one constituent against another. Cooperative Resource Management, which joins stakeholders in the maintenance and running of our forests, necessitates an agreement of ideas and solutions between parties to be successful.
Hunting in our forests complements other resources in our forests. If we protect our forests by giving all users rights to that forest, we form a beneficial coalition with an interest in conserving the forests and ecosystems.
We have a Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) program that presently encompasses 123,431 acres with a goal to save specific representative areas as close to that as found here pre-contact and “pristine”. What we also have in place is “Hahai no ka ua i ka ululā`au, the rain follows the forest”. Read it. This is a massive sales promotion to transform all Hawaii forests with a virtual NARS like mandate.
Our forests today are in great shape, just not in “pre-contact” condition.
Hunting provides real dollars for merchants, hotels, airlines, restaurants -- instead of some mystical “benefit value” such as the $7.4 to 14 Billion annual value claimed in the Koolau Mountains per the Hawaii Watershed Protection Plan. Hunting it is good recreation and sustenance for our citizens--the rightful owners of the resource.
Our forests are a treasured sanctuary for the people who have used the bounty of those forests for hundreds of years—the people who spread Aloha amongst us as fences and padlocks surely don’t.