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Hunting season begins, safety urged

May 6 marks the beginning of the duck hunting season, and hunters are being urged to keep safety at the top of their minds. 

Te Tari Pūreke Firearms Safety Authority and NZ Mountain Safety Council said the gamebird hunting season is the highlight of the year for most duck hunters, but it’s also a time to keep safety in mind.

“Above all else we want duck hunters to be safe and to return home at the end of the shoot,” Te Tari Pūreke partnerships director Mike McIlraith said. 

“We are reminding people that the seven safety rules [for firearms] have been updated, and to make sure hunters follow the new storage and transportation requirements for firearms and ammunition.”

“If you’re driving to or from a hunting location, your firearm needs to be inoperable during your travel and concealed from view,” Mike said. 

“Hunters must also make sure they have permission from the landowner or manager before they go on to any land to hunt.

“When transporting ammunition this needs to be separate to the firearm and locked in a glove box or similar storage area, if practical.”

“Please, whatever else you do, once you’ve finished using your firearm, lock it away.”

During storage it is now required that all ammunition is kept in a locked container.

You can only store ammunition with firearms in a gun safe that has a separate lockable compartment with a different key than the key for the gun safe.

“You must keep these keys separate,” Mike said. 

“If your safe doesn’t have a separate lockable compartment, you need to store ammunition in its own locked secure storage container.

“As you enjoy the day, save the celebratory drinks until after you’ve finished hunting and all firearms are locked away.”

NZ Mountain Safety Council chief executive Mike Daisley said it was important to have a good plan, gear including a first aid kit, food and water, and good communication among all group members. 

“Remember that you are responsible for your own firearm at all times,” he said. 

“Handle them safely, transport them safely and store them safely.”


1.            Treat every firearm as loaded

2.            Always point firearms in a safe direction

3.            Chamber a cartridge only when ready to fire

4.            Identify your target beyond all doubt

5.            Check your firing zone

6.            Store and transport firearms and ammunition safely

7.            Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms