Hunting Laws and Regulations in Hawaii

The chain of islands placed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, provides a fantastic hunting experience that you cannot experience in a different state.

If you’re a non-resident and bring to any of the islands a weapon, you have 48hours for registering it. There are specific hunting laws in Hawaii, and every island has the specific wildlife and division of forestry.

We should begin by highlighting that some game animals can only be hunted by lottery, so make sure you get in touch with the division of forestry and wildlife for details.

How many types of hunting licenses are available in Hawaii?

Any hunter must carry an available Hawaii hunting license while hunting. You also need one when carrying or transporting bagged game.

In order to obtain a Hawaii hunting license, you may present evidence of completing a hunter safety course that was recognized by the National Hunter’s Association.

  • Hawaii resident

Anyone living in Hawaii for a minimum of one year can get a resident hunting license. People working in the active military are seen as residents.

As a resident, you cannot do without the Hawaii Wildlife Conservation Stamp. You may also need more stamps, permits, or tags in some situations.

  • Non-residents

The non-resident hunting license and Hawaii Wildlife Conservation Stamp are required to obtain by the non-resident hunters.

  • Youth hunting license

Any Hawaii resident and non-resident planning to hunt that is  15 or younger must achieve a hunting license. Also, they need to go together with a licensed adult that isn’t hunting. Several tags, stamps, permits may be necessary.

  • Senior hunting license

A free hunting license is available for Hawaii residents 65 and up. For a smaller fee, the non-residents’ age 65 and older can also get a reduced-fee hunting license. Stamps, permits, and tags are needed in certain situations.

  • Disability license

A person dealing with a disability may qualify for requesting the  special hunting accommodations.

  • Military and veteran license

A resident hunting license is available for anyone active personnel working in the military and stationed in Hawaii. In the State of Hawaii, there is no hunting license only for the veterans.

Hunting licenses are valid from the date you bought them until the 30th of June of the following year.

What are the hunting rules in Hawaii?

There are a lot of rules and regulations that any hunter has to follow when hunting in Hawaii. Check for farther information.

Here are some rules to know:

  • The board has the authority to set the number of hunters and to establish the eligible hunters. It can also designate the hunting dates using a random selection method.
  • The Department may decide on fees for application fees, wildlife stamps, tags for lottery hunts, or special hunts.
  • The hunting hours begin thirty minutes before sunrise and end thirty minutes after sunset. It’s forbidden to hunt thirty minutes after sunset to thirty-minute before dawn, but there are some exceptions.
  • The artificial light is unlawful. It’s not legal to hunt game mammals with artificial light.
  • You need a valid hunting license for hunting game mammals. The permission from the landowner is also required when hunting on private land.
  • It’s not legal to hunt game mammals on state-controlled or state-owned properties except the areas specified.
  • You can hunt some game mammals with proper hunting license: feral pig, feral goat, wild sheep, Axis deer, Mouflon sheep, Feral sheep, and Mouflon-feral hybrid sheep.
  • It’s unlawful to hunt, kill, or possess any of the game mammals: wild cattle, brush-tailed rock-wallaby. Some exceptions may exist, as well.

What are the restrictions in terms of hunting license?

Here are some rules regarding the hunting licenses, tags, permits, and check stations:

  • Hunters have to carry the hunting license, but also the licenses and tags on their own, any time when hunting
  • You cannot transfer hunting tags, stamps, and permits
  • Every hunter and hunter assistant has to check-in before hunting and checks out after shooting at the same checking station. The hunters have to give all the required information and fill out any hunter reports.
  • In some restricted watershed, some permits may be required to the hunters
  • Anyone requesting a hunting permit has to agree to follow all terms and conditions of the permit or licenses.

What about weapons?

The following conditions and restrictions will apply, concerning weapons:

  • No one shall own or shoot a firearm on a public hunting area without holding a proper Hawaii State hunting license
  • Every hunter can wear only one legal gun that is appropriate with the hunt, throughout hunting. Besides, all hunters have to prepare the cartridges, weapon, muzzleloader firing components, game, and license ready for inspection, anytime authorized representative is asking. In case of refusal, the Department can revoke the hunting benefits.
  • No one can own a firearm or weapon in the public hunting area throughout a closed season or on non-hunting days during an open season. It’s not legal to own an illegal gun on a public hunting region at all.
  • When you’re not hunting with dogs, you cannot use cartridge firing rifles with muzzle discharge energy rating under 12 hundred pounds. You cannot use muzzleloading guns with caliber lower than .44″ bore diameter, no matter the ignition mode. It’s illegal to use handguns except for some situations, and shotguns loaded with a shot under 00 buckshot.
  • Nobody is allowed to own a loaded weapon after filling the bag limit
  • Should you hunt with a bow, you cannot use longbows with drawing tension under 40 pounds at 28 in a draw. You cannot use recurve bows with drawing tension under 35 pounds, nor compound bows with drawing tension smaller than 30 pounds.
  • It’s unlawful to possess arrows with explosive heads or heads that have drugs or poison. You can only use arrows with minimum blade cutting diameter width of ¾ of an in.
  • The firearm with the cartridge is unloaded when the ammunition isn’t in the attached magazine or the chamber.
  • The bow is unloaded when the arrow is nocked on the bowstring.
  • It’s not legal to possess or use bullets with full metal jackets, tracer bullets, blowguns, guns powered by compressed gas, animal traps, poison, slingshots, handguns, snares, or crossbows.
  • The legal weapons for hunting game mammals are handguns, shotguns, rifles, bows, knives, bows and arrows, and spears. While on a public hunting area, you are allowed to own only the authorized weapons for the specific hunt.
  • No hunter under 18 is allowed to hunt game mammals using a handgun
  • It’s not legal to use “muzzleloading” revolver or smooth bore pistol if you’re shooting with no dogs.
  • It’s not legal to carry concealed handguns. You can cover the gun with flapping kind protective holsters. You have to take the handguns and holsters in plain view, external to any rain gear or clothing.

Would you like to hunt with dogs?

There are multiple conditions and restrictions when hunting with dogs, but here are the most important ones:

  • You can use a muzzleloading rifle or muzzleloading handgun when hunting with dogs
  • Rifles with .22 caliber, magnum load or centerfire cartridge are legal
  • You can use shotguns loaded with slogs,00. Larger buckshots are also permissible.
  • It’s legal to use spears and knives
  • You must accompany the dog while hunting at all times. You are responsible for any injuries, damages, or other actions of your dog while hunting.
  • It’s not legal to use dogs when hunting game mammal. There are some exceptions, though.

What are the rules on aircraft and motorized vehicles?

If you plan to use motorized vehicles or aircraft, you will have to abide by several conditions and restrictions:

  • It’s only the four-wheeled drive vehicles that are allowed when required
  • You cannot use aircraft for driving or herding game mammals, nor land aircraft for hunting. It’s also unlawful to shot a weapon from a plane into a public hunting area. The Department may state some exceptions.
  • It’s forbidden to run a motorized vehicle in hunting areas. The roads for vehicular use make an exception. It’s legal to park a car within twenty feet of maintained roads.
  • It’s not legal to have or carry a loaded weapon on horseback, boat, vehicle, or another carrier.
  • It’s unlawful to discharge a weapon into a public hunting area from outside the hunting one.

Other rules and regulations

When it comes to safety, close areas, or general hunting, some new laws have to be followed in Hawaii:

  • When it comes to safety or closed area, it’s illegal to hunt, own or shoot a weapon across the designated safety and closed areas
  • It’s not legal to remove the live game from a public hunting area
  • It’s illegal to hunt, kill, or own a female deer unless you have permission from the Department
  • When the division is requiring, the taken game mammals have to be preserved so that the recognition of the sex and species is possible. You can skin, bone, and quarter the taken game mammals if it’s not stated otherwise.
  • It’s not legal to sell or offer for sale game mammal or parts of the carcass of any game mammal killed on public hunting land.

Here are some general limitations when hunting in Hawaii:

  • It’s forbidden to kill or work as a guide/accompany/assist another hunter where firearms are legal with no outer garment that doesn’t come with solid blaze-orange. It can also be blaze orange mesh fabric with no more than the mesh size of 1/8 in.

If you’re carrying a backpack or game, the blaze orange on the upper part of your torso has to be easy to notice from front and back.

  • Non-hunters and hunter assistants can go together with other hunters in the field unless it’s stated otherwise. They should wear a blaze-orange outer garment and cannot carry loaded weapons and ammunition. If hunting on the island of Lanai, hunter assistants should own a valid hunting license and special hunter assistant certificate.
  • Should you not follow any of the rules, your hunting benefits may be revoked by the Department. You can get your hunting privileges back after completing a hunter safety education course (approved by the State).
  • It’s not legal to own an opened/unsealed vessel or container of an intoxicating substance, nor to use substances while hunting.

Conditions and restrictions for game mammal hunting

When hunting in Hawaii, only some mammalian game species are legal to take:

  • Feral pigs in season on the island of Maui, Hawaii, Molokai, Kauai, and Oahu
  • You can only hunt wild sheep in season on Hawaii. If you want to pursue its off-season, you need to participate in the lottery with the necessary tags and permits
  • It’s legal to hunt Mouflon Sheep in season on the island of Hawaii. It’s also legal to capture it in season or by lottery when it’s off-season, on Lanai.
  • It’s allowed to hunt Axis deer in season on the island of Maui. You may kill it in season or by lottery on Molokai and Lanai
  • Black-tailed deer is legal to take only on the island of Kauai in season.
  • It’s legal to take feral goats in season on the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, and Molokai.

Every island has its own set of rules, but here are some from the island of Hawaii:

  • You have to report the hunting results on regular field forms when you’re done with the hunt. Every hunter has to get the necessary forms from a division of forestry and wildlife. It can also be obtained from the conservation and resources enforcement office. Hunters must give the field forms to the nearest hunter checking station/division office.
  • It’s not legal to own firearms in archery hunting areas where it only bows and hunting allowed.

What is forbidden within the public hunting zone?

The next actions are forbidden within a public hunting zone:

  • It’s illegal to damage or disturb a property, improvement, or litter. The list also includes water facilities, checking stations sign-in sheets, signs, buildings, fences, gates, food crop plantings or structures. You must leave the gates the way you found them
  • It’s not legal to dump or dispose of trash or waster material. The trash receptacles offered for dumping and disposal make an exception.
  • You cannot remove, damage or disturb objects of antiquity, fossil remains, prehistoric ruins, monuments, or burial sites
  • It’s illegal to build ground fires. You can do it in designated camping zones
  • It’s not legal to discard cigars, lighted cigarettes, smoking tobacco, or matches. It’s also illegal to ignite explosives within or into a public hunting zone.
  • It’s unlawful to hunt overnight unless you are in a designated zone.