Is big game hunting next for Northern Marianas?

Torres administration looking into deer hunting in Pagan, Alamagan

The Torres administration is looking into bringing in high-end tourists in the Marianas by shifting focus to the Northern Islands, the CNMI’s last frontier. Included in this vision is the start of big game hunting in Pagan and Alamagan.
Big game hunting is the hunting of large “game” animals, animals for meat, taxidermy, or for recreation, among others. Deer hunting, in particular, is done in South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In the U.S., it is subject to regulations put up by states and territories.

At Tuesday’s media briefing, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres gave a hint of what’s to come, emphasizing a definite vision of high-end tourists in the Northern Islands, in Pagan, Alamagan, Agrigan, and Asuncion, in the coming years.

“This is the right timing for us to start promoting up north,” the governor said.

“We start having a plan and a station, and start looking at what kind of experience [tourists] can get in Alamagan, what kind of experience can they receive in Pagan, what kind of a lifetime experience in Agrigan, and if they can go to Asuncion, what kind of life can they see there, can they experience. It’s a sanctuary island.”

Big game hunting is also part of the plan, beginning with the recent introduction of the deer in Pagan.

“That’s exactly what we’re looking at,” Torres said, “We looked at it, we talked to the mayor. The mayor now wants that.”

“The people that live in Pagan, they had no objections. They thought it was a great idea. People that I’ve talked to, that’s been up to the Northern Island, thought that the releasing of deer is an excellent time. That, for us has always been something that should be, to give the islands the opportunity.”

Torres also realistically noted that there will not be a flock of high-end tourists coming to the islands soon, and that instead, the current administration is “planting the seed” for high-end fishermen, high-end hunters, and outdoor sports enthusiasts to look into the CNMI and say “I want to go there.”

He also said that marketing the Northern Islands would give not just the high-end tourists the ability to see and enjoy the islands, but would also give the ability for locals to go there too more.

“Our people here, it’s really a dream to go up north… that is the dream of the Northern Marianas, to go up north… The more accessible [the] transportation, whether it’s air or boat, the more people can go up there and enjoy.”

“At the end of the day, you want ecotourism, you want high end… That’s our last frontier, and the deer is definitely a good start. I hope that in five to 10 years, we have wild deers up there as a big-game hunt. We’re trying to work on looking at private owners here, and maybe even Rota, to look at a package. And I’m bringing up more deer to Pagan and even Alamagan.”

In marketing the Northern Island, the governor said, he will ensure that the environment is protected at any cost, and at the same time, will create opportunities for the high-end tourism market to start benefiting from up north.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at

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