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:
- Plan where you are going to hunt and how long you will be out for.
- Before you go, keep an eye on the weather forecast – particularly for any rain and snow that could lead to a rise in river levels – and make your plans accordingly.
- Make sure everyone has the right clothing, food and equipment for all possible conditions.
- Take into account the experience and fitness of everyone in your party when planning your trip.
- Carry an emergency communication device such as a distress beacon or satellite phone.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leave your intentions, including where you are going and when you plan to get out, with a reliable contact.
- Give your gear (including your first aid kit) a thorough check and repair/replace anything that needs it.
Make good decisions
- Involve your whole party in the decision-making and making sure everyone is comfortable with the plans being made.
- Take firearm safety seriously, because even if you are hunting alone it is highly likely that other hunters will be around.
- Positively identify your target. It is not good enough to ‘think’ what you are looking at it is a big stag, you need to ‘know’ it is.
- Treat every firearm as loaded and if you are sharing a firearm, make sure the person carrying the firearm maintains responsibility for checking it is in the appropriate state of load.
- If you are bush hunting it is a good idea for everyone in the party to wear blaze.
- 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.
- Be respectful of other hunting parties and other backcountry users and share the landscape appropriately.
For more on firearm safety, check out the Seven Firearms Safety Rules.
Look after your mates
Please keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 notifications at www.covid19.govt.nz.
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.
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.