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 firearms safety rules.

Check out our Hunter safety videos & resources to help keep you and your mates safe while hunting.

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


Learn more about each of the safety rules.


Ensure the safety of yourself and others

Remember to look after the safety of yourself, your mates and other outdoor users, and always be well prepared for each hunt – especially during Roar season.

Follow guidance from the Mountain Safety CouncilGame Animal Council (GAC), and New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) to ensure the safety of you and your mates while hunting.

Be well prepared:

  • Check the weather forecast before you make your plans. Be aware of any rain and snow that could lead to a rise in river levels, and plan accordingly.
  • Make sure everyone has the right clothing, food and equipment for all possible conditions.
  • Consider the experience and fitness of everyone in your group when planning your trip.
  • Know where you are going. Make sure you carry a map and know how to read it.
  • Let your friends and whānau know where you are going and the details of your trip before you leave.
  • Carry an emergency communication device such as a distress beacon or satellite phone.

While out hunting:

  • Involve your whole group in the decision-making and make sure everyone is comfortable with the plans being made.
  • Take firearm safety seriously. Even if you are hunting alone, it is highly likely that other hunters will be around.
  •  Identify your target beyond all doubt.
  • Treat every firearm as loaded. If you are sharing a firearm, make sure the person carrying the firearm maintains responsibility for checking it is in the appropriate state of load.
  • Wear blaze if bush hunting.
  • Always follow The seven firearms safety rules.


Prevent unlawful hunting

We know unlawful hunting can be a problem in our rural communities and we want to support farmers and landowners to prevent it on their land.

There are several ways we try to do this. You can visit our rural crime prevention page for advice, tips, and resources. There is also an A3 unlawful hunting poster you can download from our website and take to your local printer. For durability in outdoor weather we suggest you ask your printer to use paylite.


Helpful information

Hunter safety videos & resources
Hunting in New Zealand
Hunting videos
Research into NZ hunting
Safety resources
Free hunting activity guide English | Te Reo Māori
New Zealand Police Shooting Range Manual - Exposure Draft

Other useful links
Clay Target Association
Deerstalkers Association
Department of Conservation
Firearms Safety Specialists: FSS
Guns and Hunting
Hunting and Fishing
Mountain Safety Council
National Rifle Association
NZ Hunter
NZ Transport Agency
Pistol New Zealand
Rod and Rifle
Target Shooting NZ

Need help?
Find your local Firearms Office