Code of Ethics and Field Guidelines


Code of Ethics

A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his act they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the fact.
— Aldo Leopold. The Sand County Almanac.

The Code of Ethics of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association Incorporated shall be, and any member expected to:

  • 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.
  • Not hunt or carry a firearm on property without the proper approval of the owner, occupier of controlling authority and shall strictly observe any conditions imposed upon him.
  • Be a responsible firearms owner and abide by current Firearms Laws.
  • Avoid unnecessary or deliberate damage to the environment, respect property, and other users of the outdoors.
  • Advocate sensible conservation practices at all times and promote New Zealand’s biodiversity ‘in situ’.
  • Practice the Field Guidelines when out hunting.
  • Be exemplary members of NZDA by promoting and abiding by its Rules, Field Guidelines and this Code of Ethics.

Definition of fair chase

  • Animal must not have been taken in an enclosed area ie, behind deer wire or any such fence or fixture that impedes the animal’s unrestricted chance of escape
  • Animal must not have been restrained ie, in a snare, trap, fence etc
  • Animal must not have been taken with the aid of a spotlight or use of night vision equipment
  • Animal must not have been taken from an aircraft, powered vehicle or vessel
  • Animal must not have been coursed by dogs (with the exception of wild pigs)
  • Animal must not have been taken in a manner where animal behaviour has been intentionally influenced by the use of a powered craft

NZDA Field Guidelines

The Field Guidelines policy of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association Incorporated shall be:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To encourage the fullest possible use of the game killed by hunters and to avoid always, unnecessary wastage of the game resource.
  • To promote safe practices by ensuring oneself and others are suitably trained to minimise risks in the outdoors.
  • Respect the property of others and respect the natural environment.
  • To assist in the gathering of research information from the animal secured for association (and related) research programmes.
  • The New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association Incorporated 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.



Header photogaph by James Alford of Waikato

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Wellington, New Zealand