Safety during the hunt paramount

16:00, Apr 04 2014

This week Department of Conservation community relations ranger Clare Moore talks about the "roar". 

A year ago I wrote about the "roar", New Zealand's busiest time for hunting.

I generally try not to repeat myself but in this instance, I think a wee reminder will do no harm.

Safety in the hills at this time of the year is of utmost importance, and is something that all users of the conservation estate - and any other hunting area - need to think about.

Ultimately, responsibility for following the firearms safety code falls with the hunter, especially that most vital part - identifying your target.

In the words of the Mountain Safety Council's [MSC] promotional poster - "No meat is better than no mate - identify your target beyond all doubt." If in any doubt shift to get a better view or don't shoot at all.


If hunting in a party don't separate and then continue to hunt in the same area.

The MSC recommends that once you lose sight of a person in your hunting party, you unload and do not reload or take any shots until you regain sight of your partner. Ensure the complete animal is seen and don't shoot on the basis of individual items such as colour or shape or sound. Hunters should wear clothing coloured so as to contrast with the environment and the animals being hunted.

Research shows that deer are red-green colour blind like some humans - they cannot distinguish green or orange from red.

Therefore - get out your 80's fluoro gear! Perhaps the bright pink tracksuit is not ideal - blocks of solid colour may be noticed by deer - but combine this with a camouflage pattern and it's very effective.

Deer also have been found to have a relatively good vision in the short wavelengths where UV brighteners and dyes are active. While not entirely conclusive, this suggests that deer are capable of seeing some UV light, and therefore fabrics containing UV dyes and brighteners may be more visible to deer than to humans.

However, even if you do choose your washing powder carefully to avoid UV brighteners, your movement and your scent are much more likely to get the attention of a deer, than a slight luminescent glow from your fleece.

There is a lot to learn for a novice hunter, and the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association runs an excellent Hunter National Training Scheme' [Hunts], which covers the ethics of fair chase and the principles of managing a sustainable game resource, equipment, clothing, navigation, firearms, hunting techniques, photography, first aid and bush craft - check out for more information.

Anybody intending to hunt on public conservation land must get a permit first and be familiar with regional hunting safety restrictions.

A permit can be obtained from the DOC website.

Anyone who sees hunting activity at night on conservation land should contact the Police immediately or call the DOC hotline on 0800DOCHOT [0800 362 468].

The Marlborough Express