Hunting on public conservation land is allowed during COVID-19 Alert Level 1. Hunters need to have the appropriate hunting permit or hold the required concession.

Apply for a hunting permit

Recreational hunters can now apply for an open area hunting permit. Hunters should first check their existing permit as it may still be current.

If you require an open area hunting permit use the online system in the first instance.

Apply for an open area hunting permit online.

If you cannot access the online system, or you need a game bird or small game hunting permit, you will need to contact the DOC office in the area you wish to go hunting.

Rules around hunting dogs vary from area to area – check the rules for the area you wish to go hunting by visiting the relevant web page, or ask our staff when you contact them by phone or email.

Game bird hunting

The game bird season opened on 23 May. DOC district offices can issue small game and game bird hunting permits for duck hunting on public conservation land and waters. Fish & Game has the latest information about how COVID-19 will affect the game bird season.

Fish & Game - COVID-19 information

Tahr rut ballots

The tahr rut runs from late April to late June and is a popular time for hunting in the South Island. Tahr ballots allow a select number of hunters authorised aircraft landings in the Hooker-Landsborough and Adams Wilderness areas.

Several Himalayan tahr rut ballot periods have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, however the remaining 2020 tahr ballot periods recommenced on16 May.

We will contact ballot holders to check whether they would still like this opportunity to hunt tahr. If a ballot holder is unable to take up a ballot and notifies DOC within seven days of being contacted, their ballot will be rolled over to next year. If the hunter does not respond to DOC’s email, DOC will assume the ballot holder has accepted the hunting block for 2020 and it won’t be rolled over to 2021. Any remaining hunting blocks in the 2020 ballot that are no longer required by hunters will become available to other parties on a first in first served basis through the DOC website.

If hunters ballots were affected by COVID-19 Level 3 and 4 restrictions, they will have an opportunity to move their ballot to the same time period in 2021.

Deer roar ballots

Some hunting blocks assigned to hunters as part of the 2020 deer roar ballots did not go ahead during Alert Levels 3 and 4. Ballot holders can choose to have their allocated block transferred to the same period next year. Where ballot holders did have the opportunity to take up their blocks, these will be either re-drawn in a limited ballot, or made available to book for 2021. We will contact ballot holders whose hunting trips were partially affected by COVID-19 in due course.

DOC staff are focused on ensuring any hunting ballots or bookings planned for the next few months go ahead. Once this process is complete we will contact affected ballot holders regarding next year’s ballots and hunting blocks.

The following roar ballots were affected by COVID-19. If hunters were unable to hunt on the hunting block, their ballot will be rolled over to 2021.

Northern South Island

  • Molesworth roar ballot

West Coast

  • Haast roar ballot

Southern South Island

  • Wanaka roar ballot
  • Greenstone/Caples roar ballot
  • Coastal Otago ballots: Waianakarua, Glencoe, Mill Creek, Waipori Falls
  • Murihiku ballots: Waikaia, Leithen Bush, MacLennan, Tautuku, Blue Mountains
  • Rakiura/Stewart Island booking system.

Restricted hunting areas

Nationally there are approximately 110 restricted hunting areas that are available to the public and managed by DOC. These areas sit outside the online open area hunting blocks and the popular roar and rut ballots.

Prior to moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 4, some hunters will have had a permit or booking to hunt in a restricted hunting area. Due to COVID-19 restrictions these bookings did not go ahead. Permits will not be rolled over and hunters will need to contact their local DOC district office to apply for a new restricted hunting permit/booking.

DOC is honouring any remaining restricted hunting permits or bookings (booked prior to Alert Level 4). Restricted hunting permits will be subject to any COVID-19 restrictions that may apply, as well as local restrictions.

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