A Thumbs-Up Review on an Axis Deer Hunt with Hawaii Safaris
By Tom Moore, Hunting Report Subscriber
On page 7 of the March issue of The Hunting Report, correspondent Mike Bodenchuk has laid out an overview of the exotics opportunities in Hawaii. Here, subscriber Tom Moore gives us a first-hand look at one of these hunts with Hawaii Safaris (808-640-0755). Moore hunted for axis deer in September of 2012 with Fisher as his personal guide. Here's his report:
"I was traveling to Maui for a vacation, initially wanted to hunt that island for convenience, and attempted to book with a couple of outfits on Maui, including one that had been written up with a positive story in a glossy bi-monthly hunting club magazine. They were completely unresponsive to my emails. I found Fisher's operation in The Hunting Report database and went to his website. I always use The Hunting Report database as a matter of course to find and/or verify hunts! I think The Hunting Report is as good as a personal reference - especially when there are several reports on one ph/outfitter, as there were on Fisher. Fisher was very efficient. He personally responded the same day and followed-up with very timely phone calls. No question was left unanswered.
"Fisher suggested a two-day hunt on Lanai instead of on Maui, as they have access to a very large area with free-range axis deer. Initially, I wasn't too interested, but I'm very glad I followed his recommendation. Fisher picked me up at the condo at about 5:30 am, and we drove to the ferry in Lahaina. After a pleasant boat trip and short drive we were in the hunting area around 9:30 or 10 am. We decided to look the area over on foot before lunch. An unexpected rain storm blew in (the island had been very dry for months), and the deer started moving - literally everywhere. I was surprised by the number of deer that were moving; it reminded me of herds of black wildebeest or impala in Africa.
"In the next couple of hours we saw easily over 200 animals, including some very nice bucks that were coming into and past the area where Fisher had us set up. Two bucks that had started moving early were exceptional, and I decided that I would be very happy with either of them. Although Fisher let me know that there were bigger animals in the area and that we might have a chance later in the afternoon or on the second day, I'm not a gambler.
"The buck I took will easily score in the high silver medal category for SCI. We took several pounds of meat back to the condo to BBQ that week and froze some to take back to the mainland. Delicious! The area we hunted was easily accessible by vehicle, and the walking was very easy, pretty flat with lots of chest-high brush.
"A friend was hunting mouflon on the island at the same time with one of Patrick's guides and was very happy with the outcome. I was also told there are evidently developing opportunities for other exotics that are not on Patrick's web site. If you're heading to Hawaii and would like to work in a hunt with a business trip or family vacation, you need to be talking with Patrick. My only complaint was the hunt was over quicker than I expected, but it produced an exceptional trophy."