Maui Axis Deer Hunt

On this adventure we are completing our Maui hunting moon series and are after the Axis deer. We were very fortunate to get invited on to one of the original and founding ranches on the island by one of the Landowners. 

The Terrain in Maui

We arrived in the afternoon on a sunny Maui afternoon and towards the evening it started cooling down a bit so we headed up the mountain. The terrain was beautiful, thick and full of wildlife. It started with waist high tall lush green grass that weaved through the thorn pricked shrubs, then the beautifully groomed hillsides with medium sized trees that had a bark similar to a white oak. The grass was extremely loud to hike through so we tried to stay on the heavily traveled game trails that. The sounds and calls from the tropical birds echoed as we stalked through the trees.

The Sounds Maui Axis Deer Make

We heard sharp chirps of the deer calls in the distance and made our way towards the sounds. We snuck our way to the location and found the first group of deer. At 65 yards we saw several does and fawns, about 10, cross in front of us. We stood still with the hope of a buck following the herd and the possibility of a shot. No luck this time and the deer moved out of sight. Now that we are at the level of elevation these deer were roaming the CHASE WAS ON. 

As we made our way to the next gulch we could hear the sounds of deer calling back and forth and even heard a few buck roars. We scurried our way towards the sounds and found a batch of deer. Amongst the herd we spotted a few with a good set of antlers covered in brown fuzzy velvet. We tried to get closer for an opportunity for a shot with my bow. Now within range at 47 yards just patiently waiting for a shot. Just then we could hear the a deer let out a big “YELP!”, this was a very distinctive call that notifies their herd that danger is near. After the yelp, the whole herd scattered and the stalk for this group of deer was blown. This happened about 6 or 7 times, we would get close and then YELP and the deer would scatter. The evening was closing in and we started losing daylight. 

Bow Hunting vs Rifle Hunting for Axis Deer

The original plan to take a buck with my bow came to an end and I switched gears and swapped out the bow for a rifle. Figuring it getting within rifle range would be a little easier. 

We spotted this beautiful big buck, the king of the herd and made our move. But unfortunately once again we were spotted before I could get a clear shot and the herd ran. So we took off in a sprint to cut them off before they made it over the hill. The deer beat us there but we could still see the last of the herd moving through the trees. The last deer in the herd was gorgeous velvet buck. The buck was at about 100 yards quartering away facing to the right and looking over his right shoulder back at us to see what was trailing him. I found him I’m my scope and settled the crosshairs on the last rib on his right side. “BOOM” the rifle sang and the deer dropped.

What a Chase!

We couldn’t believe it! Nearly hours of chasing, herds among herds all around us, we finally got one! A big beautiful buck, just the experience we had hoped for. What made this even better was the help from our friends Barry and Shawn, special thanks goes out to them for their kindness. 

This was a once in a lifetime hunt and one of the best hunts we have done in Hawaii. 

Axis Deer Hunting Tips

  • Travel light don’t bring your full pack or unnecessary gear, we had too much with slowed us down.
  • Bring water make sure to at least bring some water, once the chase is on we didn’t have water (for some unknown reason) and we were exhausted.
  • Do not get busted there were several times we’d be sneaking up on a heard and then their scout would see us and “yelp” causing the whole heard to move on. This was exciting but also disappointing. 
  • Understand the sounds these deer are extremely vocal. They make so many sounds, it’s important to watch our video and pick up on the sounds that mean you’re in the clear verses the ones that mean you’ve been ratted out. 

If you are planning an Axis Deer hunt, we hope you find these tips helpful and we wish you luck!