Hunters working for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are allowed to use suppressors, sometimes called silencers, on their rifles, the department’s chairman said Tuesday.
That raises questions for North Kona resident Joel Nazara, who has previously been critical of DLNR and its aerial hunts of feral ungulates.
“Suppressors are illegal in this state,” Nazara said. “If it’s the law, it’s the law for everyone.”
Hawaii Revised Statutes do prohibit the use of silencers. However, an exemption is made for law enforcement and people acting on behalf of the state government.
DLNR Chairman William Aila said he has not received complaints from the public about the use of suppressors. The department has two reasons to use the silencers on the hunting rifles, he said. One is for the hunters’ safety.
“It’s a loud noise in a confined space,” Aila said.
The suppressors also increase the hunters’ effectiveness, he said. When a hunter takes a shot with a rifle with the sound suppressed, the sound is less likely to startle other animals in the area.
Aila said the department has not been shooting cattle, but has used the suppressors for feral sheep hunts.