A Big Island man said he heard hunters firing at animals on Hualalai's upper slopes and believes that aerial hunting of feral cattle was being conducted, but an official said that's not the case.
Frank Oda of North Kona told West Hawaii Today (http://is.gd/Mi3FhF ) that he was at his home near Palani Ranch on Feb. 18 when he heard a helicopter, followed by the sound of gunfire. He heard gunfire again on Friday.
Oda learned that the helicopters were flying over Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Estate land.
Kamehameha Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said the helicopters that Oda heard this month were delivering hunters to the area to kill goats.
"We're in the process of restoring much of the native habitat," Paulsen said. "Goats are particularly destructive."
Oda said he saw the helicopters hovering near the radio tower on Hualalai. The sounds, he said, were similar to when state officials conducted aerial hunts in the area in previous years. Those aerial hunts have been controversial, with some Hawaii County residents and officials speaking out against the practice.
Paulsen said the hunting occurred near Parrot Crater. The organization had not received any requests from area residents interested in the goat meat, although hunters have brought out sheep and beef in the past, he said. If people did want access to the goat carcasses, he said Kamehameha Schools would be willing to pass that request along to the hunters.
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