September 1, 2010 – Big Island of Hawaii
Video courtesy Hawaii Police Department, voice of Tim Bryan
Big Island police and are trying to educate the public about hunting laws, after receiving a rash of complaints about illegal hunting on public and private lands.
Kona Patrol Officer Jeremy Lewis said hunters have been tempted by wild animals attracted to lower elevations in search of food and water because of drought conditions.
In June, a group of hunters was illegally hunting pigs on private land in Kea‘au when one of the hunters was accidentally shot. He ended up in the hospital in critical condition.
After the shooting accident in Puna, landowners came together to form a committee to work with police on correcting the problem. Officer Lewis said residents in West Hawai‘i have similar concerns.
Talmadge Magno, the chief ranger at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, said similar problems with illegal hunting have been experienced at the park.
The police department says the most common complaints are:
- Hunters using private lands and state lands without permission. (The law requires them to obtain landowner’s permission before hunting on private lands.)
- Hunters using negligence when discharging weapons in residential areas
- Harming or injuring pets and livestock,
- Hunting without a license and
- Hunting after sunset, which is illegal.
Hunters should know they need a hunting permit before they can hunt legally.
They also must follow all laws about firearms such as
- Obtaining a firearm permit
- Registering the weapon
- Following laws about how to store and transport firearms
Police say that in addition, they need to know that even if their weapons are properly registered and permitted, illegal hunting can lead to criminal charges, such as
- Reckless endangering
- Criminal property damage
- Theft of livestock
Police are urging the public to report any illegal activities.