Code of Ethics and Field Guidlines

NZDA Code of Ethics



A Member of NZDA will:

  1. approach recreational hunting from the highest possible level of ethics, having due regard to the welfare of the animals hunted, and prevention of cruelty to the same by minimising distress and suffering and to humanely kill animals being hunted.
  2. not hunt or carry a firearm on property without the proper approval of the owner, occupier or controlling authority and shall strictly observe any conditions imposed upon them.
  3. be a responsible firearms owner and abide by current firearms laws.
  4. avoid unnecessary or deliberate damage to the environment, respect property, and other users of the outdoors.
  5. advocate sensible conservation practices at all times and promote New Zealand's biodiversity 'in situ'.
  6. practice the Field Guidelines when out hunting.
  7. be exemplary Members of NZDA by promoting and abiding by its Rules, Field Guidelines and this Code of Ethics.


Field Guidelines

Each NZDA Member shall endeavour, as far as possible:

  1. to approach the sport of recreational hunting from the highest possible level of ethics, with due regard to the welfare of the animals and the prevention of cruelty to same by minimising distress and suffering and to humanely kill animals being hunted.
  2. to encourage the use by hunters, of sporting arms of calibre and/or power adequate to ensure quick clean kills of the particular game species being hunted.
  3. to encourage the fullest possible use of the game killed by hunters and to avoid always, unnecessary wastage of the game resource.
  4. to promote safe practices by ensuring oneself and others are suitably trained to minimise risks in the outdoors.
  5. respect the property of others and respect the natural environment.
  6. to assist in the gathering of research information from the animal secured for NZDA (and related) research programmes.

NZDA recommends and promotes safe hunting practices, including the wearing of high visibility clothing that contrasts with the environment and the game being hunted. To be effective a responsible hunter should wear sufficient high visibility clothing to ensure immediate recognition by other hunters. This is an important risk management measure designed to minimize the risk of hunters failing to quickly identify other hunters, but does not in any way detract from the primary responsibility of all hunters to positively identify their target.

Meaning of Wild Game Animal

NZDA defines a ‘Wild Game Animal’ to mean:

All feral self sustaining populations of game animals, whether these be from the acknowledged existing feral ranges of the animals or from new or satellite herds which have developed from natural spread, liberations or escapes.

Meaning of Fair chase

NZDA defines ‘Fair Chase’ to mean:

(i) Fair Chase is the ethical, legal and sportsman-like taking of any free-ranging Wild Game Animal that has an unimpeded avenue of escape on both private and public lands.

(ii) Eligibility criteria for trophies to be submitted for National Antler, Horn and Tusk Competitions, and in relation to Fair Chase, means:

  • A fee or payment must not have been made in connection with the trophy.
  • The Wild Game Animal or trophy must not have been taken using the following means or methods:
    • taken in an enclosed area i.e., behind deer wire or any such fence or fixture that impedes the animal’s unrestricted chance of escape.
    • restrained i.e., in a snare, trap, fence, etc.
    • taken with the aid of a spotlight or use of night vision equipment.
    • taken from an aircraft, powered vehicle or vessel.
    • coursed by dogs, with the exception of wild pigs.

(iii) The trophy is of a Wild Game Animal taken legally under Fair Chase conditions, as defined above.