Safety ‘crucial’ this game bird season

  • 18/04/2019

Safety ‘crucial’ this game bird season

Game bird hunters will be in the public eye “as never before” when the new hunting season opens – and safety measures have never been more important.

It is crucial that hunters treat the safe transport and handling of their shotguns with the “utmost care and sensitivity” when the new season begins on Saturday, May 4, says Fish & Game Chief Executive Martin Taylor.

Many game bird hunters will be catching up with old friends or family members to enjoy what is often a long-standing tradition of harvesting some birds on opening, he says.

“It’s about much more than hunting – there’s the camaraderie and of course the taking home of some tasty wild food. 

This will be the first season under the reformed gun laws which have made most semi-automatic firearms illegal. 

“Fish & Game supports these changes to these gun laws and believes that good decisions have been made for both game bird hunters and the community,” Mr Taylor says.

 “There will be no real change for the vast majority of game bird hunters as we successfully made a case to retain semi-auto and pump shotguns for game bird hunting. 

“This means game bird hunters can use semi-automatic and pump action shotguns as long as their internal magazines only hold five shots.

 “This season, we will again have thousands of licenced game bird hunters in the field for opening weekend.

“Each and every hunter should have made themselves, with Fish & Game’s help, completely familiar with the new gun laws – and what they need to do to comply.” 

Fish & Game has asked Police to clarify some points of the new law and we are sending those details to all game bird licence holders, Mr Taylor says.

He says that as the season gets underway, every single hunter out in the field is urged to focus on safe gun handling by each person in the party, and be fastidious about checking firing zones to make sure it’s safe to fire.

Fish & Game is again joining with Police and Mountain Safety Council and Water Safety New Zealand to advise game bird hunting licenceholders to focus carefully on their actions, and make sure they do everything possible to keep both themselves and others safe.

The game bird season opens nationwide on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

The season closes on August 25 for upland game like pheasant and quail, while duck season closes earlier depending on individual regions.

Note to hunters on the new firearm laws:

Fish & Game sought additional information from Police relating to the prohibited firearms, magazines and parts. We have now received their answers and they are attached in full here. Click here .

We also urge hunters to visit the Police website and click on the yellow link called Firearms Law Reform Information.


Follow the advice of the Mountain Safety Council, experts in the safe handling of firearms.  Click here.  for details and to view some safety videos.  

The Seven Firearm 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


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