Friday, April 4, 2014

Deer, oh dear

A sign that a tourist would never expect to see in Hawaii: Deer Crossing.
There are several of these signs by major resorts in Wailea, Maui.

Oh deer, what can the matter be? The Hawaiian Islands have a tremendous deer problem that is growing since the deer have no natural predators. These are not the same deer found on the mainland (aka the continental US) but are Axis deer, cute small deer with spots. They are not native to Hawaii, but were brought here in the 1800s, like so many other species, because someone thought it was a good idea. Luckily, we don’t have any recorded instances of Lyme Disease in Hawaii.

Oahu, the main Hawaiian island, where over 1 million people live, has hardly any deer. Maui, the island where I live, has tons. Even a lowball estimate is 12,000 deer on Maui, which could mean 1 deer for every 10 to 15 people. On the high end of the spectrum, the Maui Axis Deer Hunting Cooperative estimates as high as 60,000 deer. That's a lot of deer! 

Deer are causing millions of dollars in damage by nibbling at golf courses, snacking at hotel and resort gardens, and of course, munching at small farms. Even Maui’s Mayor Arakawa was visited by a hundred uninvited deer at his farm. While there is deer hunting on Maui, there is not nearly enough to control the deer population boom.

For more details and possible solutions, read Maui Deer Gone Amok: Trouble in Paradise.

By the way, I’ve been told that the deer can make some rather strange sounds, especially at night. Sounds that one would never think a deer could make. 

After heading out of the office late at night, one Maui employee heard injured dogs barking or yelping. But they were really deer. Here’s a 26 second youtube video of deer screaming or barking. It's a bit eerie. This was not filmed on Maui, but they look a lot like Axis deer. 

P.S. If you are blog hopping from the A to Z challenge, please include your link if you comment! I try to reciprocate comments as quickly as I can, though I did lag behind last year, especially towards the end.

P.P.S. I am running two mini-contests during the A-Z Challenge (and into part of May). Here's how to enter


  1. You are right, deer are not something I would associate with Hawaii. I like your site, btw. You cover such a great variety of topics, but all centered around your niche, Maui. It inspires me.

  2. Very interesting! It's always troubling what to do when an animal population does damage becuase you want to be humane in how they are handled.

    Visiting from A to Z:

  3. Maui is such a beautiful island, so green, which is why I'm not surprised there are so many deer there. And yes, they do make some unusual sounds.

    MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host

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    Effectively Human

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  4. I learned two new things from this post. 1. I had no idea deer overpopulation was an issue in Hawaii, and 2. I had no idea they made those sounds. Creepy indeed!

  5. I didn't realize that there are many deer on Hawaii! I do believe they can become a problem; we have overpopulation in parts of the mainland too. But sounds? Yikes! :)

    This is A. Catherine Noon, visiting from the Noon and Wilder blog for the A-Z Challenge, #1554 on the list. Happy blogging!

  6. Kind of trippy. Geckos in Hawaii also make surprisingly loud and disturbing sounds for such small animals.

  7. Yes, very eerie deer sounds. Geckos also make large sounds for such small creatures.

  8. Sounds like you've been to Maui!

  9. Not one of our strengths as humans.

  10. Thank you and I've finally gotten a chance to explore your blog too:


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