Enjoying your hunt and making it home again safely requires smart planning.

Plan your trip, make it home

Heading out for a hunt brochure.
Hunting guide: English | Te Reo Maori

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.

Screenshot of video on YouTube.
Video: Prepare for the risks of big game hunting (YouTube)

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.

Did you know?

On average 34% of hunting related injuries and 32% of hunting related fatalities are due to hunters falling.


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.

Did you know?

On average 19% of hunting related fatalities relate to failed river crossings. 

River safety

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

Firearm safety

If you are hunting with a firearm you must:

You can learn from others by joining a club or taking a hunter safety course.

Screenshot of video on YouTube.
Video: Follow the seven basic rules of firearm safety (YouTube)

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. 
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