Hunting in the State of Hawaii

Hawaii is a state beloved by many for its diversity in terms of the warm tropical climate, natural scenery, and a plethora of beaches. More often than not, these vacation areas are short drives from some prime hunting zones and wildlife areas. Hawaii’s hunting traditions are worth mentioning! The following extract concisely provides all the information that you need to know about hunting in the State of Hawaii. We recommend that hunters contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife website or office prior to their visit.

Hawaii Hunting License

A hunting license is mandatory regardless of where a hunter intends hunting in Hawaii. This is inclusive of public and private lands and hunting areas. Also, the hunters must at all time when hunting carry on them a valid hunting license issued or accepted by the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife. The division also requires hunters to have extra hunting permits and tags with regard to some game species.

To be eligible for a Hawaii Hunting License, applicants must either possess a Hawaii Hunter Education Wallet Card or a Letter of Exemption

Securing the Hunting License via a Hunter Education Wallet Card

Persons born after December 31, 1971, or before January 1, 1972, and without a previous Hawaii hunting license, are supposed to complete a hunter education certification before they can purchase a Hawaii hunting license (see exemptions below).

Note: the State of Hawaii accepts certifications from all states or provinces in the U.S. that meet IHEA-USA (the International Hunter Education Association) requirements.  In some cases, hunting certifications from foreign countries are even accepted so long as the course meets official IHEA-USA requirements. Likewise, all U.S. states, provinces, and countries that have compulsory hunter education requirements accept the Hawaii Hunter Education Certificate.

The Hunter Education Wallet Card is issued after you graduate from the Hunter Education Course. The course comes in two formats: regular classroom form and a hybrid format.

The hybrid option combines online instructions and traditional classroom-based learning. The online session can be completed at your own discretionary pace. Click this link to view the course structure and fees. The minimum age requirement for the online hunter education course is 10 years. Once it has been completed, the student gets a voucher that allows him/her to enroll in the classroom portion for an additional 4-5 hours with a certified hunter education instructor.

This is in sharp contrast to the regular classroom format that takes about 12 hours. In both cases, students must successfully pass the exam before they can obtain the Hunter Education Certification Card.
There are basic Hunter Education Classes on 6 islands of Hawaii: Kauai, Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu. To find one close to your vicinity in Hawaii, please click on this link.  The online course is also open to nonresidents of Hawaii.
After securing your Hunter Education Certificate, hunters can proceed to the Hawaii License Application website and purchase a Hunting License.

Securing the Hunting License using a Letter of Exemption

So long as you have obtained a hunter education certification, you can proceed to request for Letter of Exemption from the state. This option is usually for nonresidents with an out-of-state hunter education certification.
Also, persons with an out-of-state hunter education certification or Hawai’i Hunting License obtained prior to July 1, 1990, get free Letters of Exemption.

Buying a Hunting License or Permit in Hawaii

Hunters interested in buying a Hawaii Hunting License can do so using two main options. The online option is the easiest and quickest way to acquire a hunting license. The second option comes in the form of physically applying at any of the certified license agents scattered across the state.
A valid driver’s license and social security number are the typical compulsory pieces of information that has to be furnished by the applicant. A passport, Birth Certificate or School ID Card can suffice as identification for minors.
There are varying fees associated with resident, nonresidents, seniors and Kalaupapa Patient of Hawaii.

Licenses purchased in Hawaii are valid from the date of purchase through to June 30 (for example date of purchase to June 30, 2019)

**It must be noted that all sales are final, and on no condition are refunds given**

Places to Hunt in Hawaii

The State of Hawaii allows for year-round hunting opportunities ranging from sheep, deer, and goat. The hunting opportunities and areas can be categorized according to 6 Hawaii’s islands: MauiKauiOahuMolokaiHawaii, and Lanai. The following are three selected island spots that host some of the state’s notable wildlife attractions:

Maui Island

There are about 6 hunting units under the management of IDR in Maui. Some of the favorite game animals are feral pigs and goats. There are also deer, turkeys, pheasant, quail, and dove. Wild turkey and Barred Dove can be available on private lands. Similar to other Islands of the state, Maui has a limited number of species of game animals to hunt. For the best hunting experience, please visit this link to view Maui’s various hunting unit maps.

Lanai Island

Lanai is the sixth-largest island in Hawaii. As a result of that hunting opportunities can be very scarce and rare. However, places like Palawai Basin has made quite a name for axis deer hunting in the state. The hunting units in Lanai have been grouped into three. Hunting unit 1 and 2, known for mouflon sheep and axis deer, are open year-round.  Hunting unit 3 is a restricted mammal hunting zone.  To view any other information pertaining to hunting conditions and restrictions in Lanai, click this link.

Hawaii Island (“Big Island”) 

This is the biggest island in the State of Hawaii. It offers a lot of family and vacation hunting spot areas. There are eleven hunting units on this island. Some of the notable ones are the Mauna Kea Game Management Area, Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve, and Keauohana Forest Reserve. Collectively, Hawaii Island has prime hunting spots for turkey, sheep, feral pigs and goats.

General Hunting Regulations in Hawaii

The following are some of the worth-knowing hunting regulations in Hawaii. They were neatly drawn from the Hawaii Hunting regulations.

·Hunting, chasing or possession of a game bird or mammal not authorized by the division is completely prohibited

  • Hunting shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Hunters must obtain permission from landowners before embarking on a hunt.
  • All Mourning doves are considered migratory birds and are therefore subject to conditions federal regulations. For example, the possession of more than ten mourning doves in a hunting area is forbidden.
  • The use of arrows with explosive heads or drugs or poison is forbidden.
  • A hunter shall carry the legal firearm or archery device consistent with his permit and the hunt. They are allowed to carry another hunter’s unloaded firearm or archery device.
  • Upon the request of wildlife or other Hawaii law enforcement officers, hunters must make available their firearm or archery and any other hunting equipment for inspection. Not doing so will constitute a game law violation and may result in punitive actions.
  • Hunting game animals with a motorized vehicle/aircraft is completely forbidden. Motorized vehicles are allowed to be used on roads. However, disabled persons can secure disability permits that will allow them to use a motorized vehicle in a limited sense.
  • It is very much illegal to discharge any firearm or archery device from outside into a public hunting area.
  • Selling or attempting to sell a game bird or the carcass is forbidden.
  • Removing a live game bird from public hunting is forbidden. However, a collection permit can be used to remove them.
  • Dogs or electronic call cannot be used during Spring Turkey hunt.
  • Every killed game must come with a filled game tag. In short, wild animals should not be left untagged by the person who killed it
  • The use of spotlight or other unnatural light from a vehicle is allowed. The vehicle must be stationary and the motor off.

Note: The Hawaii DNLR has considerable punitive actions for violators of wildlife laws and regulations. Hunters are therefore advised to take caution. It is recommended that they thoroughly peruse the various regulation guides.

Hunting Seasons in Hawaii

There is not much variation in Hawaii’s hunting season. We have categorized the seasons by island. The individual islands have preserves and wildlife areas that have similar hunting units and days. Below is the specific hunting season for six selected Hawaii islands:

Island of Maui Hunting Season

The seasons for the mammal species (Feral pigs and feral goats) are generally year-round. Rifle, shotgun, and archery are the desired hunting equipment. Handguns can be used to hunt pigs with or without dogs. Although this can vary, the bag limits are two pigs and two goats per day.

As for the game birds, the bag limits are can vary very much. Stay abreast with all the current rules and opening hunting periods by visiting this link.

Island of Lanai Hunting Season

Mouflon sheep season has been canceled pending further notice. As regards to axis deer, there can be considerable variations. Together, these two mammal game animals all require hunting tags. The typical hunting gears are archery, rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloader.

The game birds here include ring-neck pheasant, green pheasant, quail, dove, Erckel’s francolin, and chukar partridge. For the best hunting experience in Lanai, please visit this link.

The Island of Molokai Hunting Season

Molokai hunting season is usually year-round. The specific days of the week do very much vary according to the hunting units. For more detailed information concerning the various game mammals (such as feral pigs and feral goats) and game birds (such as pheasant, quail, Chukar Partridge, dove, and Gray Francolin), please visit this page.

The Island of Hawaii (‘Big Island’) Hunting Season

Hunters interested in partaking in mammal game and game birds hunting on the ‘Big Island’ are advised to read the conditions and current seasons at the DNRL website. The mammals available are feral pigs, wild sheep, and feral goats. The game birds are Gambels’ quail, Japanese quail, California Valley quail, Nepal Kalij pheasant, Chukar Partridge, barred dove, and Gray Francolin.

The Island of Oahu Hunting Season

Similar to the Lanai, Oahu season varies a lot. The dates associated with the game mammals and game birds can be found at this link.

The Island of Kauai Hunting Season

This Hawaii Island has hunting units ‘A’ all through to ‘L’. Each and every hunting unit has its own hunting season, bag limits and hunting restrictions. For more details related to game mammal and game bird season in Kanai Island, please visit this link.

For more detailed information on the various hunting seasons by islands, visit the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife website. Alternatively, hunters can inspect the two main hunting guides of the DNLR: Game Bird Hunting regulations and Mammal Hunting regulations.

Hunting Outfitters in the State of Hawaii

Sometimes, it is off crucial importance that hunters employ the services of outfitters. This is because Hawaii has very limited hunting opportunities. These outfitters have adequate parcels of land that can offer good hunting experiences and guidelines to hunters. Below is a list of those hunting guides and outfitters in Hawaii:

Accommodation for Hunters in the State of Hawaii

Hunters can find accommodation and hotels with relative ease considering the fact that Hawaii is a very popular tourist destination. Their facilities are adequately perfect and can increase the odds of having a successful hunt. The following are some hotels that are short drives away from prime hunting areas in the State of Hawaii:

Lahaina Inn
127 Lahainaluna Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Telephone: 808-661-0577

Hotel Molakai
1300 Kamehameha V Hwy, Kaunakakai, HI 96748, USA
Telephone: 877-553-5347

Hotel Lanai
828 Lanai Ave, Lanai City, HI 96763, USA
Telephone: 808-565-7211

Peace of Maui Bed and Breakfast
1290 Haliimaile Rd, Makawao, HI 96768, USA
Telephone: 808-572-5045

The Mauian Hotel
5441 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Telephone: 808-669-6205

Uncle Billy’s Kona Bay Hotel
75-5739 Ali’i Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Telephone: 808-961-5818

OHANA Waikiki Malia by Outrigger
2211 Kūhiō Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Telephone: 808-923-7621

Kauai Shores Hotel
420 Papaloa Rd, Kapaa, HI 96746, USA
Telephone: 808-822-4951

Hilo Seaside Hotel
126 Banyan Way, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Telephone: 808-935-0821

Stay Hotel Waikiki
2424 Koa Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Telephone: 808-923-7829

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. I have a Hunter Education certification from Ohio. I am not a resident of Hawaii. Will I be exempted from taking the Hawaii Education course?

A. Yes. This is due to the reciprocity Hawaii has with the remaining 49 U.S. states. With your current Ohio certification you can proceed to the Hunting License Application website and complete the non-resident Letter of Exemption form online.

Q. Does the State of Hawaii have permits that can be won via the lottery?

A. Yes. And in some cases, the only way to secure a hunting permit is through lottery. Winners ought to have a hunting license by the time the hunt begins. You can apply for lottery-based Hawaii hunting permits by clicking this link.

Q. I misplaced my Hunter Education Certificate. How do I replace it?

A. Click on this link to download the pdf file. Once it has been filled, submit to the nearest Hawaii DNRL office.

Q. Do I have to be a resident to take the online Hawaii Hunter Education course?

A. No.

Q. What is the minimum age requirement to enroll in the Hawaii Education Course?

A. The minimum age is 12 years. For the Classroom format, there is no minimum age requirement to enroll. Ideally, hunter education instructors recommend a minimum of 10 years of age.
Applicants can visit this link to obtain all the information pertaining to the course structure and fees.

Q. Can I get a refund for licenses or permits?

A. No. Hunting licenses and permits Licenses are non-refundable and non-transferable in Hawaii.


As the 13th smallest state in terms of landmass, Hawaii has one of the largest protected areas. Laudable as this is for the environment, there is a flip side to it. This has contributed to diminished hunting space for hunters. Regardless of this, we encourage you to still give Hawaii a shot because it offers something slightly different from mainland states.

Conduct extra research before you go because Hawaii’s hunting regulations differ by region, called units. If you must, kindly reread the above information so you don’t get turned away by wildlife officers because you failed to plan and research before going to Hawaii.

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