Small game hunters primarily target rabbits and hares during daylight hours. They often use smaller calibres, shotguns or air rifles. Small game hunters typically hunt in open country or farmland. They occasionally use some kind of vehicle to move around.
Small game hunting has always been an accessible hunting type and is often where many hunters start to learn basic hunting skills. Because of its relative accessibility, this type of hunting tends to attract large numbers of hunters, particularity those starting out or those who are restricted by mobility or accessibility. Similar to game bird hunting we uncovered a surprisingly high number of firearms related injuries. The details of these incidents suggest very poor firearms safety practice.
Department of Conservation - Find out more about the species you are targeting, the permits you need and much more here.
NZ Police - Information on the Arms Code and licensing here.
Rabbit hunters are 10.5x more likely to sustain a gunshot wound than any other type of hunter.– A Hunter's Tale, 2017
The first thing to remember is that every trip needs a plan. It doesn't take much to turn a short walk into an 'unexpected night out' in the bush. If you've planned before you hit the track using the outdoor safety code as a guide, there's a good chance you'll be prepared to handle an unexpected turn of events.
Safety is the outcome of good planning and good decision making– Mike Daisley, MSC CEO
The vast majority of firearms related incidents can be traced back to one or many of the firearms safety code not being followed. Regardless of how experienced you are following the firearms safety code is essential to the safety of you and your fellow hunters.
Don't hesitate to call your mates out if they're not handling their firearm safely. Safety is everyone's responsibility.
Developed by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) 'A Hunter's Tale' represents the most comprehensive exploration of hunting participation and incidents in New Zealand. Building on the success of There and Back (2016) this publication represents the first in a series of comprehensive ‘deep dives’ and explores hunting and firearms safety through the presentation of key insights. A Hunter's Tale focusses on trends in participation, hunting related injuries, search and rescues as well as fatalities. The data presented in this document provides a comprehensive evidence base that clearly identifies what is going wrong for hunters in the New Zealand outdoors.
Case of serious small game injuries - 56% Accidentally shot self + 44% Accidentally shot by other– A Hunter's Tale, 2017
68% of small game injuries are in the South Island. 38% of those are in Otago.– A Hunter's Tale, 2017
Small game shooters are 10.5x as likely to sustain a gunshot wound and are 5.5x as likely to sustain a vehicle related injury.– A Hunter's Tale, 2017
Small caliber rifles should never be underestimated due to their risk of ricochet.
This guide has been developed to help you plan your trip. It's available to read and download for FREE. To read click on the image below.
We've also produced a TeReo version available here.
Video #1: Treat Every Firearm As Loaded
New Zealand weather is very changeable. Even if you set out in the sunshine and there is no rain in the forecast it's not uncommon to have an isolated shower. Make sure you take rain protection and extra layers you can put on if it gets cold. Having the right supplies means that you're more likely to remain warm, comfortable and safe for the duration of your trip.
Wear the right fabrics. Clothing only retains what heat your body produces. Certain fabrics wick moisture away from the body and retain warmth. Avoid cotton clothing – when cotton gets wet it ceases to insulate you. Wet and cold clothing significantly contributes to hypothermia.
There are a few safety essentials you should have with you (or tick off the list) when you're out hunting
Tell someone your plans before you go and take a communication device
MSC Press Releases
Explore our insights
Read Outdoor Safety Code
Find out more
Department of Conservation - You can find out more about the species you are targeting, the permits you need and much more here.
NZ Police - Understand more about firearms safety, getting licensed and the rules here.
Walking Access Permission - Learn about getting access to private land and the key things you need to do before you go here.