Few resort destinations offer great weather and incredible hunting year-round. Contact guide Jon Sabati to hunt the Big Island for Rio Grande turkeys in March, upland birds in fall or feral goats, sheep and pigs all year long. Sabati guides on the game-rich Parker and Kealia ranches, and is also host and producer of the Big Island’s outdoor cable show.
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A hunt for spring turkeys and a notorious “feral clown” in the Aloha State set the tone for adventure.
“Hunt turkeys in Hawaii?” I asked when my friend Linda Powell at Remington called. “I’m available!” I said. If the Big Island was our destination, she could tell me we’d hunt grasshoppers because I’d never been there. And the fact the trip would be co-hosted by longtime outdoor media friend and turkey-calling champion Ray Eye meant things couldn’t get better.
Previously featured on American Hunter website.
2009 Spring Season Turkey Hunt on Parker Ranch
During the 2009 spring wild turkey season, Jon Sabati State President of the Hawaii National Wild Turkey Federation hosted a spring Wild turkey hunt on Parker Ranch. Hunters consisted of Ray Eye (Eye on the outdoors, and has hunts on the Outdoor Channel on Hunter Specialties “HS Outdoors”, NWTF “Turkey Call Television” and Walker’s game ear “Sportsmen’s Outdoor Strategies) Linda Powell (Remington Arms), Karen Mehall (NRA), Gordy Krahn (North American Hunter Magazine), Andrew Mckeon (Outdoor Life Magazine) and Jay Cassell (Field and Stream Magazine).
front row L-R Jon Sabati, Ray Eye, Thomas W. Turkey, Karen Mehall, Linda Powell, Jay Cassell, Andrew Mckeon, Willy Joe Camera (guest guide), Gordy Krahn.
Prois Hunting Apparel Pro-Staff Spotlight… LINDA POWELL
Prois pro-staffer, Linda Powell, has been on the road more than 80 days since the SHOT Show in January; covering points as far west as Hawaii…
Thanks Linda for joining us in Hawaii at Parker Ranch and posting the turkey photo you shot on our hunt.
Trip Report: Hunting Turkeys on Hawaii's Big Island
Field and Stream recently sent on of their hunters to join us. Jay Cassell has posted a great photo blog. Please enjoy at:
Photo by Jay Cassell
Last month, Editor Anthony Licata asked if I would mind going to Hawaii to hunt turkeys, for a Field & Stream article. Hawaii, he explained, is turkey hunting’s little secret, with a huge population of Rio Grandes on the big island and practically no hunting pressure. If you’re on vacation with your family, taking a day off from beach duty to get in some quality hunting is a great way to break up your trip.
Thanks Andrew McKean with sharing your hunting experiences and photos! Check out his experience.
Turkey hunting in Hawaii? Who knew? Outdoor Life’s Andrew McKean—and his band of feral clowns—chase gobblers in paradise.
Photo Gallery by Andrew McKean
West Jet Up! Features Jack Ku and Parker Ranch Hunting
“On the Big Island of Hawaii, protecting the fragile ecosystem from destructive wild boar is a slow reveal of ancient history, present-day economic reality and, ultimately, killing your own supper…My hunting guide was nothing like the dubious warriors we’d seen driving around Hilo, and thankfully his method wasn’t nearly as brutal. A Vietnam vet, Jack Ku would prove to be patient, wise and affable—as quick and skilled with a joke as he was with a weapon.”
Read the full article and photos at Wild Boar Hunting, by Eric Rumble
It was St. Patrick’s Day, 2009. Several thousand miles to the east, the traditional parade was well underway. For Randy and Debbie Stafford, the day’s events took a somewhat different form. They were patiently awaiting daybreak, hunkered down near an outcropping of Koa trees at Parker Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii. A cacophony of yelps and gobbles from the dozens of turkeys roosting in the branches soon broke the morning silence. The Staffords and their hunting guides Jack Ku and Dick Hoeflinger strained to pick out bearded Rio Grandes among the shadows in the trees.
All this was pretty much routine for the Staffords. They had seen a similar strategy unfold many times before. Prior scouting had located a roost. Now it was a matter of sneaking in under the cover of darkness, finding some form of concealment in the sparse terrain, setting out decoys, and quietly waiting for the birds to wake and leave the roost. Hopefully a couple of long-beards could then be enticed into shotgun range.
Clients and guides had met at the Parker Ranch gate at 4:30 that morning, and started the bumpy ride up the western flank of Mauna Kea on one of the largest cattle ranches in the U.S. Truck and contents bounced along the Ranch’s dirt roads as it passed through a series of gated paddocks, eventually grinding to a stop out of sight of a tree-lined gully. Clad in head-to-toe camo, amply splotched with the color of the day, the foursome set out on foot toward the trees. Dick and Randy headed upward to a large stand of Koas, and Jack and Debbie branched off toward a similar arrangement some 300 yards further down. In position, with decoys out, the two groups waited for the gobbling to start.
The Staffords operate Pro Stop Hunting Supply in Franklinton Louisiana, and have hunted wild turkeys throughout the United States. Randy was hoping that Hawaii would be the 40th state in which he bagged a gobbler. Debbie was catching up, having successfully hunted turkeys in 16 mainland states. They had selected Parker Ranch as their Hawaii destination on recommendation of an acquaintance who had experienced a successful hunt there previously.
The guides informed the Staffords that a prior week’s hunt found the toms still “henned-up”, and that it might be difficult to separate them from their harems. The sound of beating wings suggested they would soon find out, as the first of the flock left the roost and fluttered to the ground. As the descent continued, Dick and Randy identified two strutting long-beards among the group and did their best to vocalize calls of a receptive hen. Several times they got the birds’ attention and saw them advance in the direction of the decoys, only to hang up each time just out of gun range. After some raucous milling about, the toms eventually moved off, following the hens over a ridge on the back side of the gully. A similar scenario played out downhill with Jack and Debbie’s birds.
The disappointed group returned to the truck and headed further up the mountain, stopping frequently to glass the surrounding area for toms. From their increasingly high vantage, the natural beauty of the island unfolded before them. The 13,796 foot snow capped summit of Mauna Kea loomed overhead, obscured in the overcast sky. Waimea Town and Kawaihae Harbor lay nestled below. Kohala Mountain to the north and Mount Hualalai to the west bracketed the blue expanse of the Pacific. Maui’s Haleakala Crater could be seen in the background, poking up through distant clouds.
After spotting several groups of jakes and hens, three bearded toms were seen on a hill above the truck. The stalk was on. Jack worked to get Randy into shooting position, and within a matter of minutes Randy’s 40th state long-beard was on the ground. Photos were taken, and as the bird was being dressed a light rain started to fall. The gang piled into the truck, and with wipers sweeping the windshield, the search resumed for Debbie’s turkey.
Intermittent rain continued throughout the morning, accompanied by winds from the south. Over the next several hours numerous flocks were spotted, but there was no success in pulling toms away from the hens. Following lunch, the group decided to take a break and resume hunting later in the afternoon. The plan was to stake out another roosting site, and hopefully intercept a bird on his way to the roost.
Late in the afternoon, Debbie and the guides took up positions along the edge of a wet Eucalyptus grove, scanning the adjoining pasture for approaching turkeys. Near dusk, a number of birds were seen heading for a nearby cluster of large Pines. Moving quietly through the cover of surrounding trees, Debbie Stafford drew within range and fired, bagging her 17th state tom on March 17th.
It was dark once again when the hunting party returned to the Parker Ranch gate. It had been a long day. Although wet, cold and tired, they were in high spirits, satisfied the day’s objectives had been achieved. It turned out to be a Happy St. Patrick’s Day in Hawaii too.
Used by Permission Author Richard Hoeflinger
Published: May, 2009 issue of Hawaii Fishing News