Hunter safety

The New Zealand outdoors offers fantastic hunting opportunities. Anyone who intends to go hunting with a firearm must know and follow the Arms Code and the Seven Basic Rules of firearms safety.

Did you know?

Over 195,000 hunters recreate in New Zealand each year.

A Hunter's Tale, 2017

The Seven Firearms Safety Rules

Rule 1: Treat every firearm as loaded
Rule 2: Always point firearms in a safe direction
Rule 3: Load a firearm only when ready to fire
Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt
Rule 5: Check your firing zone
Rule 6: Store firearms and ammunition safely
Rule 7: Avoid both alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

Keep yourself safe around firearms - find out more.


I survived: a hunter's story


Duck Season safety video



Partner resources

Plan My Trip
MSC’s journey planner ‘Plan My Trip’ delivers MetService weather and DOC alerts as well as a packing list, and an ability to share your trip on Facebook and via email. Highly recommended tool for trip planning.

Find out more

Hunting Facebook Community
If you're a hunter who is keen on safe practices in the hunting community, then this is the page for you.

Visit NZMSCHunting on Facebook


Common hunting types


Big Game Hunting

More hunters take part in ‘big game’ hunting than any other form of hunting, so it’s not surprising that they have the largest number of incidents.

Find out more



Game Bird Hunting

Few other outdoor recreational activities in New Zealand have such a dramatic increase in participation as occurs during the opening morning of duck hunting season. This massive increase in participation unfortunately produces a corresponding increase in the rate of incidents. However, it’s the nature of many of these injuries that is of serious concern.

Find out more



Alpine Hunting

Alpine environments are steep and exposed by their very nature. When a hunter loses their footing in this environment the consequences are typically worse than in other hunting environments.

Find out more



Pig Hunting

Nearly all pig hunting fatalities occurred as a result of a hunter trying to reach their dogs. Elevated adrenaline and the urgency to reach their dogs / the pig seems to greatly increase the rate of injury, getting lost and fatality.

Find out more



Small Game Hunting

Small game hunting has always been an accessible hunting type and is often where many hunters start to learn basic hunting skills. Because of its relative accessibility, this type of hunting tends to attract large numbers of hunters, particularity those starting out or those who are restricted by mobility or accessibility. The details of past incidents suggest very poor firearms safety practice.

Find out more



Night Hunting

A large number of hunting fatalities have occurred in the dark. There has also been an increased number of ‘misidentification’ incidents occurring outside of daylight hours. The hunting environment at night and the increased risks that low visibility brings, are vastly different when compared to what hunters encounter during a hunt in daylight.

Find out more



Bow Hunting

Although bows are not considered to be firearms, this does not mean they are not dangerous. Bows need to be treated with the same respect and diligence as any other piece of equipment designed to kill an animal.

Find out more