Date: 28 March 2013
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is calling for all hunters to strictly adhere to the firearms safety code when hunting on conservation land this season.
The call comes as many hunters are preparing for the annual deer ‘roar’ or ‘rut’, which coincides with the Easter holidays and school holidays when the number of visitors to conservation land increases.
“Hunters must follow the firearms safety code at all times if they want to avoid causing serious harm to others using the area,” says DOC National Hunting Advisor, Ian Cooksley.
A critical factor in several fatal incidents in recent years, is hunters failing to identify their target. This risk is further heightened if hunters in a party separate and continue to hunt in the same area.
Hunting permit holders are reminded to adhere to the permit conditions and refrain from hunting in the hours of darkness or ‘spotlighting’. This practice is not permitted on conservation land and this is clearly stated on all DOC hunting permits.
“Spotlighting on conservation land poses a serious risk to other people who are using these areas such as campers and walkers and this practice must stop,” says Mr. Cooksley.
The warnings follow a number of historical cases of illegal spotlighting including the incident in which Rosemary Ives was fatally shot at a DOC campground near Turangi in 2010.
The Department acknowledges that most hunters are responsible and follow the firearms safety code. Firearms safety awareness must be at the forefront of all hunter’s thinking when in pursuit of that trophy or meat for the table.
Information of the firearms safety code can be found a the NZ Mountain Safety website.
Information on safe hunting practices around walks, huts and campgrounds is available on the DOC website. There is also a detailed list of special conditions for specific hunting areas across the country.
Anyone who sees hunting activity at night on conservation land should contact the NZ Police immediately or call the DOC hotline on 0800DOCHOT.