Big Island hunters and fishers are hitting the woods and waters to bring back wild game for storm relief.
More than 15 groups went to nature’s larders on Thursday and Friday, lugging back wild pig, wild cow and ulua. The game meat and fish were set to be the centerpiece of a dinner tonight in Keaau, with a capacity to serve 1,000 people still struggling with lack of power, water and food in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle.
“Everything from the mountains to the ocean is what we are trying to provide,” said Kulanihiwa Enocencio, who is from an East Hawaii hunting family that also offers lava tours, guided hunting trips and animal removal.
“A lot of people aren’t able to leave their homes and they’re limited by a lack of electricity,” she said. “A lot of people can’t cook a good meal.”
Many individuals and organizations contributed to the effort, bringing not just wild game, but also fruits and vegetables. Friday evening, Enocencio and a group of volunteers were grinding their way through 500 pounds of wild cow and preparing 300 pounds of pig killed in the forest. Fishermen brought around 100 pounds of fresh ulua to the table.
On the menu: kalua pig and cabbage, fried fish, hamburger steak, chili and salad. Today’s meal is set to be served at 4 p.m. in an impromptu dining area in the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. More meals may be served in the coming days, given the volume of donations, Enocencio said.
Hunters said they want to showcase how the island’s forests and waters are a source of sustenance.
“There are food sources here that people don’t know about and don’t know how to use,” said Enocencio, co-owner of Ahui Hawaii in Hilo. “If the ships stop coming and the planes stop coming in, we have resources to feed our families.”
Aukai Tegman went spear fishing off Waikoloa and Hilo on Thursday and Friday, capturing more than 30 pounds of kole and other species for the cause.
“I know a lot of people out there are still having trouble,” he said.
Given the history of natural disasters in Hawaii, the day may come when the island does not have access to docks or airports, or outside food or necessities, said Tom Lodge, chairman of the Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission.
“We may have to look to ourselves to feed ourselves,” Lodge said.
The hunters were happy to pitch in, he said.
“It’s community helping community, and there’s a lot of that going on right now.”