WAILUA — State officials are gearing up to extend trial pig hunting on Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant) after a six-month trial hunt yielded 13 harvests, and more archers are signing up.
“We plan to extend the trial hunt to a full year and issue additional permits. We have an additional 30-plus hunters interested in the extended trial period,” said Sheri Mann, Kauai Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “We plan to start the extended trial hunt in mid-January 2019 and continue with bow and arrow hunting only.”
February brought about 40 hunters and community members to Kapaa Middle School to hear the beginning of the feral pig eradication plan — to open the mountain to archery hunters for six months and see if they could reduce the population in the area.
The pigs are known for impacting watersheds and forests by uprooting plants and travel into the Wailua Homesteads area nightly, causing property damage on their way to forage for fallen fruit.
The six-month trial was open to bow hunting only and was regulated by existing state hunting rules, such as the hours from one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset.
The biggest concern was that Nounou Mountain is home to three trails that are heavily used by visitors and by locals.
Known for sweeping views of Kapaa and beyond at the top of Nounou Mountain, three trailheads start from the base of Sleeping Giant and wind their way through forests of guava and pine that are home to white-rumped shama birds and the occasional Kauai chicken. All three trails have steep parts and are often muddy.
The hunt ran from the end of May through November. A total of 39 hunters were issued permits and zero injuries were reported during that time due to archery hunting on the mountain.
“Current permittees have had no complaints or concerns,” Mann said.
Trends like the number of permitted hunters on the mountain and their harvests were calculated through hunter check boxes that are stationed at each of the trailheads.
In total from those boxes, there were 57 hunter trips in the six-month trail. Thirteen animals were harvested — seven boars and six sows.
DOFAW says another community meeting is being scheduled for sometime in early January to check in with area residents and get feedback.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at email@example.com