Hunter shot near Masterton

02:20, May 03 2014

A duck hunter has been shot on the first day of the hunting season.

The 44-year-old man suffered serious injuries after being shot in the elbow about 11.20am today north of Masterton in Wairarapa, police central communications acting Inspector Bruce Mackay said.

It was understood the man was a duck hunter and was accidentally shot with a shot gun.

He was being taken to Wellington Hospital by the Palmerston North rescue helicopter.

The duck hunting season began in Wairarapa today.

Mountain Safety Council firearm and hunter safety programme manager Nicole Mckee said the accident ended a two-year period during which there had not been a single gunshot injury or death in the duck hunting season.

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While she did not know details of what happened, she understood the man had been shot by someone in his own hunting party.

Two of the ''basic principles'' of gun safety were to always point a firearm in a safe direction and always check the firing zone.

Even if today's shooting had been due to an accidental discharge, at least one of those principles had been neglected, she said.

''At the end of the day, a shot has been fired and it has hit the guy in the elbow.''

A Wellington Hospital spokesman said the shot hunter was in a serious condition and was going in for surgery this afternoon.

Wellington