Where to start if you've not hunted before, hunting guidelines, planning your trip, risk management, and advice on how to keep your catch safe for eating.

New hunters

Join a club

Joining a hunting club is a great way to pick up tips and skills from experienced hunters. Hunting clubs often provide opportunities for learner hunters to join an organised hunt and see what it’s all about.

Local hunting clubs – New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association

Take a course

The Hunter National Training Scheme (HUNTS) provides new hunters with practical skills for safe, successful hunting.

Book a HUNTS course near you

Firearm safety

If you're hunting with a firearm you must:

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

Get a New Zealand firearms licence

Hunting guidelines

  • Follow the Arms Code.
  • Always get a permit and abide by its conditions.
  • Never spotlight on Public Conservation Land.
  • Protect native plants and animals.
  • Remove rubbish.
  • Bury toilet waste.
  • Keep streams and lakes clean.
  • Consider others.
  • Plan and prepare your hunt.
  • Look after the facilities provided for you.
  • Wear contrasting clothing.

Plan your trip, make it home

The terrain and conditions you'll encounter in New Zealand will vary widely depending on the season and location of your hunt. We encourage you to plan accordingly.

As a minimum, before embarking on your hunt you should:

  • 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 – if you're in alpine regions check the avalanche forecast
  • follow the seven basic rules of firearm safety.

Metservice weather forecast

The Mountain Safety Council safety toolbox

Clean up animal waste

When you're near tracks, campsites, huts and waterways:

  • rubbish must be removed
  • animal waste must be disposed of, and
  • offal and carcasses must not be left behind.

Burying animal waste is the best method of disposal, so take a small shovel. Bury it well away from tracks, huts, campsites and waterways.

Keep your catch safe for eating

There are many different ways to keep your catch safe for eating. There are also many specialist game butchers in parts of New Zealand who can butcher your catch.

How to keep your catch safe for eating

Hunting brochure

The hunting in conservation areas brochure has:

  • general information about recreational hunting in conservation areas
  • species you can hunt
  • what permits you need, and
  • safety information when you’re out in the bush.

Hunting in conservation areas brochure (PDF, 2,220K)

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