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What does DOC's annual report mean to hunters?

What does DOC's annual report mean to hunters? The Department of Conservation is meant to achieve both recreation and conservation outcomes.

11 November 2021

Most Deerstalkers hunt on public land, managed for us by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and so their annual report might be of interest to you.

Recreational hunting is a major activity on public land enjoyed by NZDA members, and would form the main use by our members of DOC hunting permitted areas, ballot blocks, and backcountry facilities. 

The Department is meant to achieve both recreation and conservation outcomes. A word count search reveals that the report uses "recreation" 53 times compared to a whopping 334 times for "conservation".

It's interesting to note that one of the Department's 'stretch goals' is that 90% of all New Zealanders are enriched through connection to our nature and heritage.

Is the Department fulfilling their role of fostering recreation in nature, especially that of fostering recreational hunting activities? You could argue they are not doing a very good job for hunters overall, as reflected in the focus and content of their annual report - and so there's a lot of improvement to do. 

It would be good to see a strategy where DOC actively supports recreational hunting and more particularly NZDA branches and hunters.

As mentioned above, the Department's stated aim is for 90% of New Zealanders’ lives to be enriched through connection to our nature and heritage. As hunters we love everything about hunting, from being in the bush, seeing birds and big game animals, and then feeding our friends and families with organic, free-range venison and pork. 

Another way to think about it perhaps, are hunters the 10% of New Zealanders that DOC don't care about?

Neither NZDA, our Branches nor recreational hunting activities (including that of other hunting NGOs) are mentioned as a Top 10 community-led project. It would be great if a hunter-led project was worthy enough to report on next year by the Department. Perhaps our very own NZDA HUNTS project, which is being supported by a Jobs For Nature grant over the next 3 years, might make the cut or one of our many other hunter-led activities!

When you read the Annual Report, ask yourself:

  • Does the Department report on the value of valued big game animals? 
  • Are you one of the enriched New Zealanders through the Department's activities? 
  • Do you feel your recreational activity, hunting, has been fostered? 
  • Does the report reflect hunters as a large user group of the DOC managed public land?


Now available: Department of Conservation Annual Report to 30 June 2021

DOC's Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2021 is now available on the DOC website (

Click here or the cover below to open the report.


Hunting is recreation, hunting is conservation.