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HI: Trail-saver facing fine for using bow to eradicate goats

Trail-saver facing fine for using bow to eradicate goats

Associated Press
November 20, 2008

LIHU'E, Kaua'i - A man who took it upon himself to help repair Kaua'i's world-famous north shore is facing a government fine for his efforts.

Bill Summers, 42, is accused of bow hunting without a permit on Kaua'i's Na Pali Coast Trail, where he says he intended to kill goats that contribute to the trail's erosion and create unsafe hiking conditions. He also was cited for having a weapon on state land.

He plans to fight the citations in court Jan. 7. They carry fines of up to $500 and 30 days in jail. "I'm not going to pay the fine," he said. "They've annoyed me too greatly. If they're not going to let me do it, they're going to have to go out there and do it themselves."

The state argues that Summers is not registered as a volunteer, and he's not authorized to do trail maintenance, Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward said.

Trail advocate Arius Hopman said a little cooperation from the state could go a long way. "They could easily turn this thing around by legitimizing Bill," he said. "He has spent his savings and time preserving people's health and possibly saving lives."

The state allows bow hunting at Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park year-round with a permit, but doesn't authorize rifle hunting due to safety issues, Ward said. The state has closed the trail in the past for some rifle hunts, but didn't do so this year.

"We need more hunters out there ... " Summers said. "The first step is reducing the number of goats and hogs."

With no natural predators, the populations of feral goats and pigs are spiraling out of control, he said.

Nearly three times as many hunting permits were issued annually from 2004 through 2007 compared with this year, according to state records.

Between 76 and 128 goats were killed annually in those four years, compared with 17 so far in 2008. The number of pig killings also has dropped, with none hunted in 2008.

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