Plan your trip, make it home
The terrain and conditions you’re likely to encounter in New Zealand will vary widely depending on the season and location of your hunt. We encourage hunters to plan accordingly.
As a minimum, before embarking on your hunt you must:
- be familiar with the area or learn as much as you can about the area before venturing out
- leave your intentions with a trusted contact
- check the weather forecast for your region and altitude (including the avalanche forecast if you’re intending to be in alpine regions)
- follow the Seven Basic Rules of firearm safety
Prepare for the risks
Knowing what could stop you from making it home is useful for making smart decisions out there.
Hunters should be aware of the falling danger when hunting in New Zealand. Take extra precaution around edges when glassing, shooting or retrieving animals. New Zealand's high rainfall and variable rock conditions need to be managed appropriately when hunting around edges.
Hunters should be aware of the potential danger in crossing rivers or other bodies of water while hunting. Find out more about safe river crossings
If you are hunting with a firearm you must:
- hold a current New Zealand firearms licence
- follow every part of the Arms Code
- follow the Seven Basic Rules of firearm safety.
You can learn from others by joining a club or taking a hunter safety course.
While you're hunting
You must comply with all DOC permit conditions while hunting on public conservation land:
- hunting on public conservation land is not permitted during the hours of darkness (30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise)
- load firearms only when ready to fire
- respect other users of the backcountry - do not discharge firearms near tracks, huts, campsites, road-ends or any other public place, or within 500 m of Great Walks huts and tracks
- when you get into camp, remove and store your firearms bolt and ammunition separately to your firearm.