KOKE’E—One month after the Department of Land and Natural Resources reopened
some previously off-limits sections of wilderness, there have been no fires
despite drought conditions that caused the closure.
The reopened sections
of Koke’e—Waimea Canyon State Park, Pu`u Pele Forest Reserve and all ridge
roads to Contour Road (roads extending beyond Contour are open weekends
only)—had been closed due to fire hazards caused by the lengthy
Tom Telfer, a Division of Forestry and Wildlife (on Kaua`i)
biologist, aid using hunters as volunteer fire spotters—the deal worked out
before the ban was lifted last month—will probably be extended.
preparing to go ahead and do our black-tailed deer season” weekends only,
beginning Sept. 16-17 and running until Oct. 28-29), Telfer said.
it’s feral goat and feral pig season, according to Telfer.
Telfer said the
hunters on Kaua`i are a knowledgable bunch and that using them as fire spotters
has worked well.
The volunteer fire spotters have no enforcement authority
but must call for authorities.
Hunters will be needed to volunteer to
continue the unpaid work if the hunting areas opened for feral pigs and goats
is to extend into deer season.
“We need 16 hours” daily of volunteers’
time, Telfer said.
Approximately 1,200 hunters applied for licenses to
stalk the approximately 1,700 feral goats roaming the Na`pali Coast and Waimea
According to Telfer, the there are at least 1,000 black-tail deer
in Waimea. He said the species was introduced into the islands from Oregon by
the state of Hawai`i in 1961.
“It would never happen now. They are
browsers—eat native vegetation. They are a blessing and a curse together.
There are literally hundreds of endangered (native plant) species and a couple
dozen weeds. The deer eat some of the weeds, but they also eat some of the
native plants,” Telfer said.
Bringing the deer to Hawai`i was a mistake, he
“It would have been better if they had never been introduced. But
they could never be eradicated now,” he said.
Staff writer Dennis
Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) and firstname.lastname@example.org