Hawaii Bird Smorgasbord: Would You Do It?

April 21, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

(shotgunlife.com photo)

Saw this piece on shotgunlife.com a while back about hunting what sounds like a Hawaiian game farm/preserve for birds. None are native, but at least some are wild.

Read it and wondered: Would we do it? Meaning, would you go there for that? Check out a few highlights, then you decide:

> The big attraction for me at Parker Ranch was the sheer variety of available game bird species…more than a dozen species, including some that would otherwise require hunters to visit several continents. They include Kalij, blue (melanistic) and ringneck pheasant; Erckel’s, black and gray francolin; chukar; California and Japanese quail; sandgrouse; a couple of exotic species of dove; and Rio Grande turkey.

> All have lived wild on the ranch for decades. In the last few years, the ranch began augmenting these established populations with periodic releases of chukar, ringnecks and blue pheasant, depending on habitat conditions….

> Erckel’s…pheasant-sized birds [that] kill you with their inconsistency. One minute they hold tighter than cement, the next they flush wild, singly or in groups. I managed to drop three with three shells, but was less fortunate with Japanese quail. These little rockets zigzag crazily about a foot above the ground cover. If you manage to hit one, consider it evidence of divine intervention.

> Black francolin…were half the size of the Erckel’s, but much faster on the wing.

> Part of the excitement – and challenge – of hunting Parker Ranch [is] you simply don’t know, from moment to moment, what’s going to flush.

> The terrain is interlaced with rocky ridges and deep, steep-sided ravines. The ground cover is so dense, in places, that you often can’t see where you’re placing your feet. Beneath all that lush, green cover, which looks deceptively gentle from a distance, there’s jagged, broken volcanic rock. There are spots, especially along the ridges, where a careless step can easily turn an ankle or drop you into an unseen hole with a jolt.

> One of the most unique upland hunts I’ve ever experienced. Hunting in shirt sleeves for a wide variety of wild-flushing game birds on the lush slopes of a volcano, within sight of the Pacific Ocean, ranks at the top of my list.

After reading that, we’d be up for it: If there are birds to be hunted, we’re there. But don’t know if we’d put it on our Top 10 Places to Go list.

Sounds fun, maybe even challenging with the terrain, but reminds us a bit of fishing a place where you can catch brookies, browns, rainbows, cutts and whatever other leftovers the hatchery truck dumped there. They may be wild, but…just not the same as the real deal.

Of course, we’re open to having our minds changed….

Category: Chukar, HI, Pheasants, Quail

Comments (1)

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  1. Grant says:

    Don’t knock it till you try it. I could take you on an island hopping bird hunting adventure that would be on par with the greatest adventure. Hawaii had an established pheasant population before the mainland united states did thanks to he chinese who brought them here. Japanese green pheasants also inhabit the upper slopes of mauna kea in small numbers. Kale pheasant the most interesting and non sporting bird you’ll ever encounter infest the big island, I think it’s the only place in the world where you can hunt them.
    Want to see hundreds of WILD black and grey francolin in a weekend hunt? Go to the island of Molokai, this little sparsely inhabited island is a dog trainers dream. Not a single man reared bird out there. Wake up every day hearing birds calling in every direction. Get into the right spots and come up on some valley quail.
    Want to see what your made of hunt the cliffs known as erkel country. Many of man and dog have fell victim to these birds, miss and the noise they make as they fly away sounds like a cartoon character laughing. Being that you can only hunt on weekends it would cost you a few bucks accomplish a slam of upland birds, but it’s a story to tell. If you get the chance do it, just be sure to hire a reputable guide of hook up with a locale who knows where to go.

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