Find the information you need to stay safe while hunting.

The code and the rules

If you’re going hunting with a firearm, you must know and follow: 

Duck season safety advice

In duck season we urge hunters everywhere to have a plan for their maimai, so everyone knows what to do before the first ducks arrive. An organised maimai helps with a successful hunt. A good bag, and a safe, enjoyable weekend has nothing to do with luck.

Quick safety tips:

  • never point, or allow others to point, a firearm at any person
  • all hunters agree at the start of the day on the direction they will shoot, and keep to this plan
  • shotguns that are not in use should be in a firearm holder/rest, unloaded, and with the muzzle pointing in a safe direction
  • treat your shotgun as if it’s always loaded
  • do not take anyone else’s word that a firearm is unloaded – always check
  • never lean your shotguns where they could slide or be knocked over
  • do not drink alcohol before or while using your firearms
  • do not hunt with anyone else who is, or has been, drinking
  • gears before beers – safely lock your firearms away before going for a drink.

Plan safe, stay safe, act safe. 

While you’re hunting

You need to: 

  • 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 7 safety rules.

Be prepared

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 and duck hunting season.

Before you go: 

  • 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
  • carry an emergency communication device such as a distress beacon or satellite phone.

Let your friends and whānau know where you are going and the details of your trip before you leave. You can use PlanMyWalk.NZ to build a trip plan and share it with others. 

Find out how to get and register a beacon at

Free eLearning - Better Hunting

The Game Animal Council offer a free 'Hunting Essentials' eLearning course to broaden your hunting skill set.

To find out more, visit:

Better Hunting Aotearoa

Safety advice for common kinds of hunting


Plan for a safe hunt

Watch on YouTube: Same hunt, different story - YouTube

I survived: a hunter's story


Look after your mates this roar

Watch on YouTube: Look after your mates this roar - YouTube

Duck season safety

Essential resources for hunters

Check out the videos and resources below from the Mountain Safety Council (MSC) to help you and your mates stay safe while hunting.

Last updated
26 April 2024


Need help?
phone Phone 0800 844 431 (04 499 2870)
8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday