Safety first, DOC tells deer hunters

Last updated 10:05 25/03/2014

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Hunters roaring up to the high country for the roar are urged to be safe and avoid becoming the hunted.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has issued a safety warning in the lead-up to the annual deer hunt, the roar.

The roar is when stags are most vocal, calling to attract the attention of mates and to protect their territory. The roar lasts approximately four weeks, from April to the end of May.

The main hotspots for deer on DOC administered land in South Canterbury are the Hopkins and Dobson valleys at the head of Lake Ohau and the Rangitata Two Thumb range, north of Lake Tekapo.

DOC national hunting adviser Ian Cooksley reminds hunters to strictly adhere to the firearms safety code.

"A critical factor in several fatal incidents in recent years is hunters failing to properly identify their target.

"There are some simple measures a hunter can take to ensure they are 100 per cent certain of their target. Hunters should wear clothing coloured so as to contrast with the environment and the animals being hunted."

He advises if in any doubt, shift to get a better view or do not shoot at all and ensure the complete animal is seen and do not shoot on the basis of individual items such as colour or shape or sound.

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

Anybody intending to hunt on public conservation land must get a permit first.

"Hunting permit holders are reminded to adhere to the permit conditions and refrain from hunting in the hours of darkness or 'spotlighting'. This practice is not permitted on conservation land. It poses a serious risk to other people who are using these areas such as campers and walkers."

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- The Timaru Herald


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