Wild Boar and Hog Hunting in Kauai
Pua’a (pig) were brought to the islands by the early Polynesians as early as fourth century AD. Pigs were closely related to their families as pets and food sources, not free ranging as they are today. It is believed that pigs relied heavily on their “families” for survival as there had not yet been the introduction of large bearing fruit trees such as guavas, mangos, and lychee.
It wasn’t until formal contact began with Western civilizations that feral hogs were introduced to the islands. Captain Cook’s initial voyages brought the feral hogs to the island, which were much larger than the original pua’a. Dominate in size and strength, it didn’t take long for the feral pigs to interbreed and take over the majority of the pig population in the islands. The abundance of pigs surged in the island with the introduction of large holding fruit trees. Pigs quickly became free-ranging and abundant.
Recreational hunting and eradication programs are products of about the last 50 years. Pigs can be very destructive to watershed management and native forests, so along with recreational hunting there are also programs in place for the eradication of feral pigs in the island today. For many locals here Kauai hunting is a cherished practice that they depend on for the sustenance of their families. Instead of just a hobby for them it has become a way of life.
Hurricanes Iwa (1982) and Iniki (1992) were responsible for the next interbreeding of domesticated pigs with the feral hogs. Traditionally feral hog are black but due to the cross breeding with domestic hogs released from the storms, we see all kinds of colors from red to stripes and even spotted hogs. It doesn’t take long for the domestic hogs to assimilate and become very wild.