The Game Animal Council encourages hunters to get out there and enjoy the fantastic hunting opportunities New Zealand has to offer. However, taking the necessary precautions is absolutely critical to having a safe and successful trip. Here are some basic hunting safety tips:

Prepare
  1. Plan where you are going to hunt and how long you will be out for.
  2. Make sure you have a hard copy 1:50,000 topographical map (and compass) to supplement any mapping apps you may use on your phone.
  3. Check the long range weather forecast and plan your trip accordingly. DOC have recently formed a partnership with NIWA and have developed a new weather forecasting tool, that may be of use to many hunters. You can access it here.
  4. Leave your intentions, including where you are going and when you plan to get out, with a reliable contact.
  5. Give your gear (including your first aid kit) a thorough check and repair/replace anything that needs it.
Make good decisions
  1. Carry a personal locator beacon or EPIRB, test it to make sure the battery still works and make sure it is registered at www.beacons.org.nz.
  2. Consider the use of a satellite phone or inreach for communicating with the outside world.
  3. Respect the dynamic environment you are hunting in. Weather can change quickly and river levels can rise fast. Be prepared to wait out a swollen river or storm system.
  4. Be respectful of other hunting parties and other backcountry users and share the landscape appropriately.
Firearms safety
  1. Identify your target carefully and beyond all doubt.
  2. Treat every firearm as loaded.
  3. If sharing a firearm make sure the person carrying it maintains responsibility for checking it is unloaded and safe.
  4. Consider wearing high-vis or blaze clothing. Orange blaze is extremely vivid to fellow hunters yet deer do not pick up the colour so wearing it will not hamper your chances of taking that big stag.
COVID-19

Hunting is allowed with very few restrictions under levels 1 and 2. However, under level 3 the rules are far more stringent:

  1. You can hunt on both private and public conservation land.
  2. You need to stay within your region and stick to your bubble.
  3. Overnight trips are not allowed.
  4. You may only hunt on foot — using quad bikes, off-road bikes, helicopters and other motorised vehicles is not allowed.
  5. You cannot stay in DOC huts or campgrounds under Alert Level 3 and hunting must also be consistent with the usual local area restrictions.

Please keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 alert level notifications at www.covid19.govt.nz.

Are you roar ready safety video
Mountain Safety Council

The Mountain Safety Council (MSC) has some useful online resources to help hunters have a safe and successful time in the hills. Information on how to prepare for a trip, what gear to take and what to be aware of on your hunt are available here. MSC also have a series of videos and resources on basic firearms safety, here, as well as some general hunting safety videos here.

Hunter training

The GAC has endorsed a number of training and safety programmes, including the NZDA HUNTS Programme, the NZ Bowhunter Education Course, the NZ Professional Hunting Guides Association Academy Course and the NZ Pig Hunting Association’s Code of Conduct.