Dogs attack hikers in mauka Wailua forest

A 21-year-old Kaua’i man was treated for puncture wounds after a pack of hunting dogs attacked him along a mountain trail leading to a mile-long irrigation tunnel near Ka’apoko Stream past Wailua.

Nick Hill was brought to the emergency room of Wilcox Memorial Hospital by his two friends and hiking partners, Chris Lary, 18, and another man who wished to remain anonymous.

Doctors warned of a 50 percent possibility that infection could set in within the next few days and Hill could be hospitalized – ruining his plans to return for the fall semester at Oregon State University today.

In avoiding another dog attack just minutes before Hill was attacked, one of his friends was nipped by a dog. A man they believed to be a hunter called the dogs away to a nearby stream, calling to the men not to run because the dogs would give chase.

As they continued their hike, a pack of about 10 dogs started to attack Hill and were biting his legs, Lary said. Hill’s two friends tried kicking the dogs away and the hunter fired a shot into the air, and eventually the dogs backed off.

It took the three men about 2 1/2 hours to hike out. Once off the trail they said they saw a white GMC pickup truck parked near the trail, with empty dog cages in the truck bed and a man sitting in the front seat.

The hikers drove to the Wilcox emergency room after stopping at Wailua Beach to wash off Hill’s wounds.

The trail is listed in tour guides and hiking books as a secret tunnel to the North Shore. The tunnel was used by sugar plantations to bring water from Hanalei River to the East Side.

The trail is not maintained by the Department of Land and Natural Resources as a hiking trail, but lies within a “mixed-use” area, which means people can go fishing, hiking and hunting o. The area falls within Hunting Unit C, with legal hunting days of Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and state holidays.

Police are investigating the incident, and officials from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement were notified.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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