Hawaiʻi News Now: In Maui County, axis deer are taking livestock feed and causing crashes. Lawmakers want Ige to act

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – State leaders are calling for additional action to help manage the axis deer population in Maui County.

State Sen. Lynn Decoite said they’re requesting more resources and funding from Gov. David Ige through a second emergency proclamation this year on the issue.

Decoite says ongoing drought conditions across Maui County have dried up available food and water resources for axis deer.

It’s forced the animals to start coming closer to town. The senator says feral deer have started to harbor around the Kahului Airport.

They’ve also fed off resources from community farms and ranches, which are needed for livestock.

She also says in the last year, there have been more than 100 accidents on Maui County roadways involving axis deer.

Several of those have required patient transport to Honolulu for emergency care.

A task force was organized earlier this year to address the issue following a previous emergency proclamation signed by Ige in January.

But Decoite said they’re now needing more funding.

“And being that the influx of access deer is there, we’ve got to be creative, we’ve got to figure out how to use it without wasting it,” said Decoite. “And just saying let’s just kill it and bring the herds down.”

If the area doesn’t get significant rain soon, Decoite says the situation will only get worse.

About a third of Maui County is currently considered to be under an “extreme drought,” which has intensified through the summer months. NOAA say while the wet season approaches, there’s a possibility for drought conditions to continue especially over the Leeward areas of Maui County.

Decoite is awaiting for response from the governor.

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