MEDIA RELEASE: Hunters urged to be safe and take care with new firearms safety and transport rules now in force.

With Kiwi hunters migrating across the country to their favourite hunting spots for the roar, they are urged to be safe and take care with new firearms safety and transport rules now in force.


20 March 2023

The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) says "the 2023 roar is looking up for many, and with the roar coinciding with Easter long weekend there will be an abundance of hunters in the hills over the course of the public holiday". NZDA encourages hunters to take extra care, identify your target, and remember to apply firearms safety basics.

Trampers are urged to be mindful that they may share tracks and huts with deerstalkers, with NZDA's CEO, Gwyn Thurlow, saying, “This year the peak of the roar happens over Easter and it’s highly likely you might bump into a deerstalker or two on the trails or share a backcountry hut with hunters. There will be many hunters in the hills over the coming weeks seeking an elusive stag or buck.”

With it being a public holiday, hunters need to take extra steps to ensure the wellbeing of your hunting party: wear blaze clothing, involve all members of your hunting party in decision-making, map out your hunting trips carefully, and be particularly careful to identify your target beyond all doubt.

New rules apply this roar as changes have been made to the Arms Code alongside new transport safety regulations which were put in place February 2022. NZDA advises hunters to make sure they’re well versed on these key changes.

There have been changes to Rule 3 and Rule 6 of the 7 Basic Firearms Safety Rules. Mr Thurlow noted, “These rule changes affect all hunters transporting firearms and ammo across country to reach their chosen hunting grounds.”

“Changes made to transport regulations are subtle but important. Police will be out in large numbers over the public holiday to ensure our roads are kept safe. Hunters have a big part to play in that by keeping up to date with the most recent transport rules and making sure they follow them.

“Transporting firearms to and from hunting sites will look a bit different for most hunters this roar. This includes 6 key rules for transporting firearms in a vehicle.”


What are the key transport rules?

  1. All firearms must be concealed from view from outside the vehicle.
  2. Firearms must be made inoperable by removing the bolt or another vital part or by fitting a trigger lock or storing it in a locked case or carry bag.
  3. Firearms must not be loaded with ammunition in the breach, barrel or chamber, o magazine. 
  4. Ammunition must be concealed from view from outside the vehicle.
  5. Ammunition must be stored separately from any firearms and be in a locked glovebox or similar storage area where practicable (e.g. a cash box).

NZDA puts the call out to hunters to take responsibility and look after the safety of the public, with Mr Thurlow saying, “All hunters have a responsibility to be particularly careful when transporting their firearms and ammunition. Learn the new rules, follow those rules, and protect our communities when you make the most of your roar hunting.”

About the deer roar/rut

The roar runs from late March through April, peaking early April. It is the breeding season of New Zealand’s deer species. The roar lasts approximately four weeks, with stags being the most vocal in the middle two weeks. The 2023 roar season coincides with our Easter Holiday long weekend and so will be well attended by New Zealand’s hunting community. Like duck shooting opening weekend, the roar is the most important event on most game hunters’ annual calendars.

About NZDA

NZDA is the national body in New Zealand representing and advocating on behalf of recreational hunters. The NZDA ensures the traditions of recreational hunting and the rights of recreational hunters in New Zealand are protected, advanced and advocated for in the best interests of sportsmen and sportswomen.



Point of Contact:

Gwyn Thurlow- CEO
Wellington Branch

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