Where the Wild Things Are: Maui Pig Hunt

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Story by Lehia Apana | Photography by Mike Neubauer

maui pig hunting

“They’re back.”

The text arrives at 6:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, followed by the photo: snapped branches, yanked irrigation lines, and sludge-filled craters where neat rows of kalo and ‘awa plants used to live.

The message is from my husband, Brad, who is walking our dog near the entrance to our farm on Maui’s north shore. No explanation needed. “They” are wild pigs.

This isn’t the first time these destructive invaders have made a buffet of our growing beds. Resolved to take action, we call up a friend, who calls up his friend—because that’s how things happen in Hawai‘i—and by the following afternoon, reinforcements arrive in the form of an eight-foot-long, rectangular wire trap.

maui pig hunting
GPS collars help hunters track a dog’s location using a handheld device.

We secure the contraption in a shady corner, tie the tripwire, and strategically place a trail of food scraps leading into the trap, à la Hansel and Gretel. “Call me when you catch something,” our new friend advises, and drives off.

The timing was uncannily fortuitous: I volunteered to write this story, and was going on a pig hunt the very next day. Seriously. A few weeks previous, I contacted Lopaka Wilson, a hunter who grew up off-grid in a West Maui valley. Elder family members taught him to hunt, fish, cultivate and forage for food, and expeditions “into the valley” were the equivalent of a supermarket run. Lacking electricity, a cooler served as the family’s refrigerator.

“Hunting was always about subsistence,” Lopaka says. “At our house, you didn’t get to go hunting again until the cooler was empty.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Aloha Lehia,

    Great article! Could definitely feel the thrill of the hunt. Nice work on the harvest from the trap as well. It is never easy to take a life but to help protect our delicate ecosystem it is sometimes necessary. We also set a trap to get pigs on our property and have found a delicious recipe for Chile verde that is an awesome preparation for the harvested meat. Try this one out when you have enough cubed meat for a crock pot full.

    INGREDIENTS

    4-5 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, cubed
    1 Tablespoon olive oil
    28 ounce canned tomatillos (I use fresh and roast them over a flame before tossing in the blender.
    ½ cup onion chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    14 ounce green enchilada sauce
    16 ounce salsa verde
    4 ounce diced green chilies
    ½ Tablespoon cumin
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp cornstarch
    INSTRUCTIONS

    In a medium sized skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Brown the sides of the pork and add them to the slow cooker.

    In a food processor add the tomatillos and blend until smooth. Add it to the slow cooker alone with chopped onion, garlic, green enchilada sauce, salsa verde, green chilies, cumin, dried oregano, and salt.

    Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4. An hour before serving, take out 1 cup of juice from slow cooker and whisk it with the cornstarch. Add it back to the slow cooker and allow to thicken and cook for about 1 more hour.

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