Advocacy Alert: Hand-held thermals and Hunting Permit Updates

Hunting permits to allow hand-held thermal, effective 1st June 2024

1 June 2024

Hunters are now allowed to use hand-held thermal technology to search for animals during daylight hours. If you already have a hunting permit, it has automatically updated. 

In recent press release (read here) Minister for Hunting and Fishing, Hon Todd McClay said, “the use hand-held thermal technology to search for animals during daylight hours will increase hunters’ chances of coming home with an animal for the freezer.” 

 Hand-held thermal technology, which finds heat sources within vegetation cover, has improved, become widely available, and is increasingly used by hunters to improve the chances of detecting an animal. 

Thermal technology attached to a firearm to search for or shoot a wild animal, and/or hunting at night, remains prohibited. 

Please ensure you follow the 7 rules of firearms safety and identify your target beyond all doubt before pulling the trigger. NZDA promotes safety and encourages members to re-read our code of ethics. 

The offence of illegal hunting (on private or conservation land) carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $100,000 fine in New Zealand. 

See the NZDA Code of Ethics: 

7 Rules of Firearms Safety:  

Press Release from Todd McClay:  


Upgrades for DOC hunting permit system

DOC has been making progress on updating the entire DOC hunting permit system in all its forms. 

"We issue around 55,000 hunting permits are each year."

Modernising the IT will make it much easier for people to use, find information, and remove barriers to compliance. 

For example, the new system will make applying for a hunting permit easy to do on a mobile phone. 

The team has been looking at how to improve the online experience: 

  • can applying for a restricted permit be done in real time
  • and can booking a block be made more straightforward.

"It is a big job, so we are starting with Rakiura/Stewart Island."

"Once a protype has been developed, you will see us working with the Game Animal Council, the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, and small hunter focus groups to make sure the new system is fit-for-purpose."

Join and Support NZDA

Find and join a branch to get involved with promoting and protecting hunting in New Zealand! Search here.