JUST LAY ON THE BEACH, NEVER!! by Doug Campbell
It all started when I walked by the Black Widow table in St. Louis at the Professional Bowhunters Society gathering in March. My buddy Allen Tennis was speaking to this Hawaiian looking dude and I stopped to visit. Come to find out after Allen introduced us, I was talking to Walter Naki from the Island of Molokai. Anyone who has read Don Thomas’s stuff on hunting Hawaii will recognize Walter’s name.
I was immediately all ears. Allen was in the process of trying to work out a deal for a hunting trip to HI. The wheels didn’t really start turning till Walter said he had to run since he had promised himself a custom made knife this trip to the mainland. Well I just happened to be a custom knife maker and soon had Walter up to my room where I had a case full of knives. Before it was over we had agreed on a deal to swap a knife for some hunting time in Hawaii.
The next three months flew by and before we knew it we were on a plane headed west, a long way west. Everyone, especially Allen and I, were excited and looking for a great adventure on Molokai. Karen and Le Ann, our wonderful wives were humoring us the best they could. Kind of like patient Grandmas waiting for the kids to work off some of their excess energy.
The first adventure definitely wasn’t what we were expecting. We stopped at a little gun shop to obtain hunting licenses. About half way thru filling out my information Mel, who owned the place, suddenly realized what day it was. Seems the fiscal year for Hawaii Fish and Game ends on June 30th, it happened to be June 28th. Mel insisted if we wanted to hunt the next five days we’d have to purchase a current license and the new one, which became valid July 1st . Get the picture of how it was starting out? We wound up buying the future license after finding out Walter wasn’t going to be able to take us out the next day anyway.
We met with Walter that night and made some rough plans, it was very hard to get anything nailed down. The laid back attitude on the Island doesn’t call for getting very serious about anything. We quickly learned that planning and sticking to a schedule was going to be difficult.
A couple days later Walter picked us up at daylight and we headed out to get a pig. We drove up the coast a few miles and stopped at a small house just off the beach. Walter introduced us to Dodge, who it turns out was born in the back of a Dodge. Dodge was the owner of a unique torture devise, which was the remains of an old fiberglass bodied dune buggy. After pumping up the tires and adding half a Clorox jug of gas, Walter and Dodge jumped into the bucket seats. Allen and I were instructed to climb onto the fenders. We wrapped one arm around the roll bar and tried to hold our bows out of harms way with the other. Up the mountain we went, my biggest regret was forgetting my spurs, sure could have used them riding that bronc. We headed up a twisting, washed out trail dodging around a wrecked truck and several boulders on the way. Ten or fifteen minutes later, (it seemed like an hour), we reached the end of the trail. Time to start walking, (if I could), the wild ride had saved us about an hour of climbing.
Three hours of rock climbing, wading knee-deep mud, and hacking our way thru dense jungle we were in pig country. It was beautiful and well worth the climb till the clouds descended on us, visibility went to about 40 yards and it started raining off and on. Walter and Allen headed in one direction and I in the other with plans to rendezvous in a couple hours if we could.
Occasionally the clouds would rise and the mountains would beckon me on, two hours later I hadn’t even started to the meeting spot. Plan two, meet back at the starting point for the decent back to the beach. At first getting wet wasn’t a big deal since we were soaked from the climb but after three hours I was beginning to feel the chill. Even on a tropical island it’s still cool in the mountains. I stopped to rest and eat a granola bar, leaning my bow and quiver against a dead snag, I had just stepped away a couple steps and out walks a big black boar at 15 yards. Well _____!!! I eased back to my bow and quickly as I could got an arrow on the string, he was 25 yards away. This is about the limit of my range so I grunted and he stopped turning perfectly broadside. The arrow looked good till it went just under his chest, well ____!! again.
I was chilled and frustrated so decided to head back down to meet the guys. Turns out Allen had a chance but missed a longish shot too. Since it didn’t look like it would clear off for a while we decided to head back down. Two and a half hours of slipping and sliding later, a good portion of it on our backsides, we were back at the pickup point for the dreaded ride down the mountain. After catching a couple more rides we made it back to our condo.
We both wondered if we’d be able to walk the next day but didn’t get one bit of sympathy from our wives. The ruggedness of the high country is awesome, very few people ever go up there so it is relatively untouched.
The next day we headed for what came to be known, by us at least, as Goat Mountain. After being dropped off in goat country we only went a couple hundred yards when Walter started pointing out sign everywhere. He decided we didn’t need him in the way and sent us on up the mountain alone. The goats were literally eating everything in sight. There wasn’t a single tree or scrub that didn’t have at least some of its bark stripped off. We got into goats almost immediately. After a blown stalk Allen and I decided we’d be better off splitting up. There was very little time the rest of the day when you couldn’t at least see goats somewhere. Most of the time they were several hundred yards away and staring back at us.
It was obvious from the start these critters were very spooky and became more obvious as the day went on. The ground was practically littered with shell casings and ammo boxes. This turned out to be a favorite hunting place for the locals. I found 6 Axis deer and 10 or 12 goat carcasses.
Even though the goats were very wild we both got shots but brought down no goats. I can tell you they are tough as anything I’ve ever hunted. They’re eyesight amazed me over and over. More than once I would peak over a ridge and have a herd of from 6 to 30 goats staring back at me from a couple hundred yards away. We went after the goats a couple more times and they seemed to get spookier. These Missouri boys were learning some lessons in paradise.
These goats really need to be thinned out, they are literally eating themselves out of the mountains. The high country where they are is almost bare and they are working their way down the mountain. The high power rifle seems the only way to thin them efficiently but they sure are fun to chase with a bow.
Next came our shark hunt. We took one heck of a boat ride, up to 10’ swells in a 21’ boat, YEEEHAAA!! Thank goodness for those seasick patches. I think this was a wilder ride than the dune buggy but not quite as painful. We anchored on the downwind side of the tiny island of Moku Hooniki. The military used to use it for bombing practice and the only sign anything was there was the whitish stains from birds roosting on the cliffs. We gave the sharks a world class try, chumming for several hours but to no avail. We did get to shoot a few smaller saltwater fish Walter called chubs. These came in to our chum but no sharks. We got to see a couple sea turtles and a herd of dolphins on an equally wild ride back in.
That turned out to be the last hunting we got to do, it was time to give the girls some time back in civilization. There is some beautiful country and great hunting on Molokai but I wouldn’t advise going with a rigid schedule or have any hard plans with the locals. If you go to enjoy the country, kick back and hunt when you get a chance, you can have a great time, life is very laid back, and no one gets in a hurry.
Posts: 24772 | From: GA | Registered: Mar 2003
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