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Weird Hunts: Bagging Feral Cows in Hawaii

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Weird Hunts: Bagging Feral Cows in Hawaii

Feral bulls may be smaller than their domestic counterparts, but they can still weigh over 2,000 pounds.

Did you know that Hawaii is one of the few states where you can legally hunt feral cows? Furthermore, did you know that the feral cattle problem in Kailua was once so bad, the “Great Wall of Kuakini” was built to keep them out?

Cows are the last animals you’d expect to turn in an invasive species, but the feral cattle of Hawaii are proving a little bit too resilient for officials to handle. There are currently thousands of wild cows roaming around the countryside and forests of the Big Island. While they are still easily recognizable as the domestic cattle you would find on a farm, over the years the animals have changed to better adapt to their environment. Compared to the average farm cow, wild cattle are smaller, faster, have longer legs and are much more tuned to survival in the wilderness. They are also much more aggressive.

“What could be more dangerous than putting yourself on a train track and waiting for a locomotive to come close to hitting you? A 1,000 plus pound Hawaii Vancouver wild bull!” touted Ahiu Hawaii, a guide service offering cattle hunts on the Big Island. “Imagine those ferocious eyes staring you down while he watches every twitch on your body and the only thing between you and him is your weapon and a few yards. Your heart is beating, you start to shake, and you just remembered you need to get a nice clean shot or both you and your guide will be in a lot of danger.”

The cattle have often been compared to feral pigs. Both animals are destructive, capable of great agricultural and ecological damage, and are dangerous to boot. Ahiu Hawaii organizes about 40 cattle hunts every year and treats each one similar to a cape buffalo hunt in Africa. Hunters are required to work in teams and the smallest rifle cartridge the guide service will accept is .300 Winchester Magnum.

“If they spot you first, they’ll definitely come for you,” manager and hunting guide Orion Enocencio told Modern Farmer.

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