Being a hunter brings with it great reward, but also a high degree of responsibility. This not only means hunting safely and being properly trained in the safe use of firearms and the necessary backcountry skills, it also means looking after our game animal herds and the precious habitats they live in.

The majority of hunting in New Zealand takes place on public conservation land, which covers nearly one-third of the country. The freedom of access we have to this rich hunting resource is part of what makes hunting a fundamental part of New Zealand culture and why for so many communities it is such an important recreational activity and source of mahinga kai.

Looking after our game animals requires looking after the habitat and ecosystems that support them. This requires knowledge of how game animal herds work and how the choices we make while out hunting have an impact on them.

This programme is designed to help hunters make good game animal management decisions that will benefit both hunting and conservation. Each of the pages below outlines why this is important.

  1. Healthy Animals Require a Healthy Habitat
  2. Hunters as Caretakers
  3. It’s Quality over Quantity
  4. Measuring our Success

Special thanks to Cam Speedy of Wildlife Management Associates Ltd for contributing his ecological and wildlife management knowledge to this programme and allowing us to use his lifetime of learning for this resource.

Red deer hunters should refer to the NZ Red Stag Ageing Guide for how to accurately age red stags in the field and contribute to good management outcomes for red deer in NZ.

If you are interested in further discussion from Cam Speedy on the game animal management principles incorporated in this resource we encourage you to have a look at the following video from the Sika Foundation.