Game commissioners closer to approval


HILO — A Hawaii County Council committee Tuesday put a preliminary stamp of approval on a game commission that looks markedly different from the group that worked to get the concept into the county charter.

Voters in November approved the Game Management Advisory Commission by an almost two-to-one margin. The ballot initiative was the result of a grass-roots effort by island hunters, many of whom were objecting to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ use of fences and aerial shooting to control ungulates such as sheep and goats on state lands.

But those original hunters aren’t to be found among the list appointed by Mayor Billy Kenoi and approved by the Council Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability. The list of nine appointees will be formally confirmed by the council later this month in Kona.

“A lot of the original people have been replaced,” said Pat Pacheco, a longtime Hilo hunter who was instrumental in organizing hunters and getting the charter amendment on the ballot.

Kenoi’s executive assistant Charmaine Shigemura said the mayor strived to create a commission with a balance of backgrounds and points of view. The commission will serve as the voice of hunters and help communicate their viewpoints to DLNR and other state, federal and county agencies.

Almost all of the appointees are hunters; some have a hunting background and one is a volunteer DLNR game official on Maui.

The appointees:

District 1: Willie-Joe Camara, a veterinary technician.

District 2: Dwayne D. Yoshina, a former state elections administrator.

District 3: Anthony H. Sylvester II, a systems specialist with National Radio Astronomy Observatory on Mauna Kea.

District 4: Paul E. Bueltmann, an information services supervisor with Hawaii Electric Light Co.

District 5: Thomas H. Lodge, a self-employed insurance salesman.

District 6: Francis L. Benevides Jr., a retired engineering manager and technician with the Federal Aviation Administration.

District 7: Robert P. White, owner and operator of Blue Water Hunter in Kailua-Kona.

District 8: Mark C. Bartell, a self-employed farmer and charter fisherman.

District 9: Cleon M. Bailey, a member of the Hawaii Carpenters Union and the Hawaii Operating Engineers Union.