Find out what permit you need to hunt on public conservation land.

When do you need a hunting permit?

To hunt animals on public conservation land you need a DOC hunting permit.

Permit conditions:

  • each person within a hunting party and intending to hunt must have a separate permit
  • permits cannot be transferred to, or be used by, anyone else
  • to get a hunting permit (except for possums) a valid firearms licence is required.

You still need a DOC permit if you're hunting:

Note: if you want to hunt with dogs, you may also need a dog permit – see hunting with dogs.

Kauri Dieback

If you are hunting in areas with kauri, it’s important you know what to do to help stop the spread of kauri dieback

Types of hunting permits

What and where you want to hunt determines the type of hunting permit you need:

WhatWherePermit required

Deer, pigs, goats, chamois, tahr, wallabies

Open hunting areas
Open area hunting permit if hunting under the standard conditions
Restricted hunting permit if you want to hunt outside the standard conditions, eg use a muzzeloader.
Deer, pigs, goats, chamois, tahr, wallabies Restricted hunting areas Restricted hunting permit

Small game (rabbits, hares, Canada geese, feral geese)

Restricted hunting areas Small game hunting permit
Game birds Restricted hunting areas Game bird permit. Note: you must also have a game bird hunting licence from Fish & Game New Zealand.
Possums Restricted hunting areas Possum permit

Open area hunting permits

When to get

These permits are required to hunt in 'open areas' for ground based, non-commercial hunting of pigs, goats, deer, wallabies, chamois and tahr. Find open hunting areas.

Open areas are areas that operate under the standard hunting permit conditions. Special conditions may be included in some open area hunting permits, eg. the permit may not be valid during busy times when the area is balloted or blocked, or a separate dog permit may be required.

Where to get

There are several options for getting an open area hunting permit:

If applying by phone, email or fax at a visitor centre or DOC office, you'll need to provide your name, address, date of birth and the name of the open hunting area(s) you want to hunt in.

Note: hunting permits for Te Urewera are no longer issued by DOC - they are issued by Te Urewera Board. This is a result of the Ngāi Tūhoe Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Act.

Restricted area hunting permits

When to get

Restricted permits are issued for areas that are not open hunting areas, for ground based, non-commercial hunting of pigs, goats, deer, wallabies, chamois and tahr. They may also be issued for non standard hunting in open hunting areas, eg for use of muzzleloaders.

Restricted permits often have specific special conditions, eg for a limited period.

Where to get

Restricted permits are not available online. They are obtained from the nearest DOC visitor centre or local DOC office that manages hunting in the restricted area.

Small game hunting permits

You need a small game hunting permit from DOC for the recreational hunting of small game on public conservation land. Small game includes Canada geese*, feral geese, hares and rabbits (which are unprotected game animals). Note: not all regions have small game hunting areas available.

Find out about small game hunting permits

Game bird permits

When to get

You need a separate permit to hunt game birds on public conservation land in addition to the game bird hunting licence from Fish and Game NZ. Game bird permits are for specific areas and time periods. Note: not all regions have game bird hunting areas available.

Where to get

Game bird permits are only issued though the local DOC office that administers the site.

Note: Canada geese* or feral geese are considered small game - a small game hunting permit is required to hunt these birds.

* The status of Canada geese changed on 9 June 2011 when they were transferred from Schedule 1 to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife Act 1953. This change meant that Canada geese are no longer protected as “game birds” and that any authorised hunter can hunt or kill geese at any time of the year without the need for a game licence. Hunters wanting to hunt geese on conservation land still need to get a hunting permit but no longer need a game licence.

Possum permits

When to get

To hunt possums on public conservation land you need a possum permit.

Note: some possum areas are managed on a block system (usually one permit holder per block), which may be available on a balloted or on a first come, first served basis. Check with the local DOC office.

Where to get

Possum permits are issued by the local DOC office that administers the area you wish to hunt in. 


To lay cyanide paste on public conservation land you need permission from DOC. Cyanide use for possum skin or fur recovery (PDF, 116K) provides information on how to apply for permission.

Start by contacting the local DOC office to discuss your proposed operation. The person assisting you will provide you with the correct forms and information on how to proceed. This will include:

If your application is approved you will be issued with a completed Permission letter for possum hunters (PDF, 335K) which contains conditions that you must follow.

Warning signs templates for your cyanide paste operation can be found in managing animal pests.

To apply for permission to use other pesticides for animal pest control on public conservation land see animal pest control operations.


You also need permission from DOC to use traps on public conservation land - contact the local DOC office.

The person assisting you will provide you with a DOC possum trapping permit (PDF, 86K) and work though the sections of the permit with you. They will also assist you to mark on a map where the traps will be used. It's likely that the permit will be approved at the time of completion.

This permit is also used to approve other non-DOC trapping operations for possum control.

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