A ?Five Star? Axis, Mouflon Hunt


Published: February - 2005

I just returned from an enjoyable hunting trip on the Island of Lanai, Hawaii. Spending time in Hawaii in the middle of winter is a treat, but add big game hunting to the mix and the trip becomes memorable. My hunt was hosted by The Lodge at Koele, owned by Castle & Cook Resorts. The lodge is a five star resort boasting every amenity one could desire from a traditional vacation, including horseback riding, mountain biking, archery, a sporting clays and shooting range, deep sea fishing, snorkeling and beach activities in association with its sister property, Manele Bay Hotel, as well as a golf course that is ranked as one of the 10 best in the world. But the hunting operation is what sets this place apart from other Hawaiian resorts.

Situated on an old Dole pineapple plantation, The Lodge properties are ideal habitat for upland birds, specifically pheasant, but the big game opportunities are what caught my attention. Lanai has an abundant population of both mouflon sheep and axis deer that inhabit the thick terrain of the volcanic mountains, where the hunting can be a real challenge.

Introduced over 100 years ago, mouflon and axis were used as a source of protein for the workers of the pineapple fields. When Dole moved out of the area, the free-ranging animals grew in number to a point where sport hunting became a necessity to protect the rare flora of the island. Today, The Lodge offers an attractive package that is likely to satisfy not only the hunter, but the spouse as well.

As for when to enjoy this hunt, the season is open year round and mouflon sheep are always available. However, most axis bucks cast their horns by December. So, the best time to look for a big deer is June through November. Just don't come here expecting a walk in the park. Hunting Lanai is a very different experience than most "exotic" hunts in the US. The deer and sheep inhabit the sheer cliffs and deep valleys left by volcanic upheaval. Depending on the wind........(continued)

 
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