Game bird hunters are restricted to the number of shots they can use in game bird hunting in six out of the twelve Fish & Game regions, as a measure introduced for “sound” conservation and sporting reasons.   

news 3 BB special Gun stuff Photo Ian McLeod 001The Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game Region was first to bring in the three-shot rule which requires hunters to plug  their shotgun magazines so that the gun holds no more than three shots in total.

Other regions that have introduced restrictions on the number of shots are Eastern, Hawke’s Bay and West Coast, while Wellington and Nelson Marlborough have banned magazine extensions. 

The three-shot rule is simply another tool to help reduce pressure on game bird populations and provide more opportunity for other hunters.

The three-shot rule helps limit the number of ducks being harvested.

Decades ago, when semi-automatics first came on the market, they were restricted to a two-shot capacity. 

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The three-shot rule makes them think more carefully about shot placement and reduces the chances of wounding a bird. 

The three-shot rule says that a shotgun magazine must not hold more than two rounds of any size, plus one more in the breech – three in all. 

And the rule applies for all waterfowl including pukekos.

Guns can be plugged with a removable plastic filler which doesn’t require a gunsmith to install semi-permanent pins and rivets.

 If you don’t have the original filler-plug your shotgun came with, they’re easy enough to make using a piece of doweling.

Discuss this with your local hunting store or ask a gunsmith to do the job for you.

We advise hunters to study the game bird regulations booklet or click on the rules &  regs below so they're very clear about whether the regulations apply in the regions they’ll be hunting in.

Firearm safety rules should always be followed and a cartridge should not be put in the chamber until a shot is about to be taken.

Shotgun magazine regulations 

Auckland/Waikato - three shot rule (two in mag, one in chamber) compulsory

Eastern – three-shot rule compulsory

Hawke’s Bay – three-shot rule compulsory

Wellington – no magazine extensions permitted

Nelson-Marlborough – no magazine extensions permitted

West Coast – five shot rule (total of four in mag, one in chamber) compulsory

Please be aware that firearms law in New Zealand prohibits any semi-auto or pump action shotgun magazine from holding more than 5 cartridges.


Don’t get caught out - swot the Rules & Regs - click here