Bowhunters are those who choose to hunt any type of game with a bow. Although bows are not considered to be firearms, this does not mean they are not dangerous. Bows need to be treated with the same respect and diligence as any other piece of equipment designed to kill an animal.
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
Find our more about the Outdoor Safety Code below.
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.
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Identify your target, always assume it is a person.
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.
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.
Questions to consider before you head out
There are a few safety essentials you should have with you (or tick off the list) when you're out hunting
A comfortable pack - load your kill carefully on your shoulders and take your time. Consider this in your trip planning.
A pack liner. This is one of the simplest yet most important pieces of equipment. It keeps everything in your pack dry. An elasticated, fabric pack cover over your pack may not keep your things dry in rain
Clean and bright blaze gear - Wearing blaze is not an insurance policy, but contrasting with your environment is a good safety principle.
Food and water - always prepare for a potential night out or an extra long day.
Where are you planning to hunt? Do you have a map of your chosen area and does everyone understand where the boundaries are? This is particularly important in balloted blocks so you do not intrude on another person's hunting area. Take a map each.
Are you hunting with anyone else? Do you have a plan for when an animal arrives? Choose the shooter and keep the shooter in front. Communicate often verbally or via radios to keep in touch with each other's movements. Don't seperate and don't hesitate to tell them when they are being unsafe
What food will you need? Stay comfortable on your hunt and take regular break for water and food. This helps settle the nerves and listen out for any game that might be in the area.