Senior Editor

The Inertia

Matt Meola is a hunter. Whether it’s waves, fish, deer, or pigs, he’s in it for the chase. Growing up, Meola lived in the country.

Hunting is always a contentious issue. But if you eat meat, killing your own animals is better than buying it from a store–apart from the health benefits, taking one animal that will feed you, your family and your friends is better than buy a chunk of meat that came from an animal that lived in a pen, was pumped with hormones, then herded into a killing pen with thousands of others. “When you go and order a steak at your local restaurant you never think about the animal that died for it,” Shane Dorian told Beach Grit.

The axis deer population on Maui is out of control. According to Fox, the first deer was brought to the islands back in the mid-1800s. Then, in the 1950s, a few deer were taken to Maui “as part of post-World War II efforts to introduce mammals to different places and increase hunting opportunities for veterans.” Steven Hess, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, said that biologists believed the introduction of a non-native species could improve the environment.  But since there are no native predators there (axis deer are an Indian species, normally hunted by tigers and leopards), the population exploded.

In 2011 and 2012, it was estimated that the deer caused about $1 million in damage for ranchers, resorts, and farmers. According to a county survey at the time, they spent nearly half that trying to get a handle on the population of axis deer.

There are a few Hawaiian surfers that hunt. Perhaps most notable is Shane Dorian, who was recently featured on the cover of South Pacific Bowhunter magazine.  He’s outspoken about it, too. A few months ago, he went to social media to air the laundry, so to speak:

A photo posted by Shane Dorian (@shanedorian) on

if this photo bothers you I’d like to know why. would it be different if instead of a deer and a bow, it was a fish and hook? If you see a difference between fish and deer, why? what if you hooked a deer in the mouth, drug it around the forest for a few minutes then drowned it in water- that’s the same thing (in my opinion) as catching a fish with a pole. people seem to have an issue with killing deer but not fish and I’m not sure why. our fish populations are dwindling rapidly while the numbers of deer are increasing rapidly. fish numbers rarely need to be lessened to maintain a healthy balance in the ocean but if deer populations are unmanaged delicate ecosystems get out of balance quickly. I used to fish all the time when I was a kid. every time I caught one I would feel remorse for the fish. I still have those same feelings when I get a deer today. but I like to eat meat, and I feel like hunting it myself if the most respectful way to do it.
the deer in the photo above died quickly a couple mornings ago from one good arrow and the venison will be appreciated for the next couple of months by many. #bowhunting #vension #bambi

In Epic TV’s newest episode of Upcountry, Matt talks about chasing waves, country music, and hunting.


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