This latest trip to Lana’i gave new meaning to the phrase “have ticket, will travel.”
My good friend, John Burrell of the High Adventure Company, called to ask if I could go on a trip on very short notice. And when I say very short, I mean, like, in-5-days short.
“JB,” as his friends know him, is business partners with some of the best hunting lodges in the world. When he calls and asks the question, you had better be ready to drop whatever it is you’re doing and go. These opportunities don’t just happen every day.
So, of course, I said “JB, you know I’m ready to go. Where are we going?”
He told me the destination: Lana’i. I took a short pause to quickly remember the hunting stories that I’d heard about the island. “Hell yeah! Lets do this. I’m up for a whirlwind trip.”
(If flying 14 hours one way for 4 days on the ground sounds fun to you, we can probably be close friends.)
We made the flight to Honolulu, gathered up our luggage, and headed over to Lana’i Air. Thankfully, this was the last 20 minute flight from O’ahu to Lana’i, but, unfortunately, I found out that I was ill-prepared for hunting on the island. The State of Hawaii has to approve your Hunter’s Safety Card and give you a waiver, which took about half a day on Friday.
With cards approved and waivers handed out, we were finally ready to go hunting. The first couple of days, we were scouting out some different opportunities on the island as well as sightseeing. We traveled to the north end of the island, which is where you can see Maui and Moloka’i. This is also the location of Shipwreck Beach. The scenery is absolutely incredible.
But enough about that; let’s talk hunting. The High Adventure Company is partnered with the Pineapple Brothers, who manage the wildlife and hunting on the island. I was set up to hunt with Alec Pascua. He has been in game management on the island for over 30 years.
We went on a spot and stalk hunt for axis deer. Great binoculars are a must for this hunt, because these deer can be extremely elusive. The brush and high grass give them an incredible advantage. Still, after we walked and glassed for a couple of hours, we found a mature buck, which was surprising because this time of year, it seemed that the majority of bucks were not developed and still in velvet.
After making a 250-yard stalk, we were within range, around 200 yards. As I got ready to shoot, some deer that we didn’t see right beside us busted! Everything was on the move. I raced to get set for my shot, and, amazingly, my buck hadn’t moved. I promptly forgot absolutely everything about shooting and snapped a quick shot.
Right over his back. I still feel like a dummy as I write this. Squeeze, Gary, just squeeze the trigger. Oh, well. Lesson learned. We hunted on without much luck that afternoon.
Tuesday was my last morning, since I was flying out that evening. Early in the morning, we had a great opportunity to shoot a doe, and I made the shot. We loaded her up and took her to Bob the Butcher. He might just be the most incredible wild game butcher in the world. The deer has been processed and will be delivered to me soon. I can’t wait, because axis deer is arguably one of the finest venison know to man.
Lana’i is an incredible hunting destination. High Adventure Company and the Pineapple Brothers have thought everything out for these hunts, and it can be a great addition to a Hawaiian vacation.
P.S. This Browning magazine was lost by my good friend Rafe Nielsen from Browning Arms Co several years ago. We just happened to find it by my doe!