Without a definitive end to the ongoing pandemic, wildlife officials have had to postpone or cancel hunts and, in some cases, entire seasons. The most recent cancellation is the 2021 Lāna‘i axis deer season in Hawaii.
Last week, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division (DLNR) of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) announced that the season was canceled “due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” because it is “in the best interest of public safety,” according to the agency. DLNR-DOFAW will revisit the status of the mouflon sheep/axis deer season in the summer or fall of 2021.
While details are limited based upon the announcement, organizations like the Sportsmen Alliance have argued that canceling hunts while allowing for gyms and beaches to remain open is a questionable decision based upon logic and science.
“Many people are making great personal and financial sacrifices as a result of the pandemic. The state of Hawaii itself has suffered greatly as travel to and from the state has been severely limited during COVID19,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Many people rely on hunting to feed their families and escape from the ongoing stress caused by the pandemic. The DOFAW gave very limited information in announcing the closures, further perpetuating the issue with a lack of transparency.”
If you had planned on an axis deer (or mouflon sheep) hunt for 2021, you can call the Maui Branch of DOFAW at (808) 984-8100 for more information.