NZDA tahr clubhunt 83
We have designed a course to teach you what you need to know to hunt in New Zealand conditions

HUNTS Syllabus

Standard HUNTS syllabus covers to below Modules.

1. Ethics, Ecology & Regulations

The Module teaches hunters ethics and sets the framework that New Zealand hunters need to be aware of, including:

  • Responsibilities of hunters towards iwi, private landowners, Department of Conservation (DOC) and other outdoor users
  • NZDA’s hunting ethics
  • The Environmental Care Code
  • Wildlife conservation relating to hunting

The Module objectives are for the trainee to:

  • Explain the main responsibilities of hunters towards landowners, DOC and other outdoor users.
  • State at least 5 ethical hunting responsibilities of an NZDA Member.
  • Explain the 9 actions relating to the Environmental Care Code.
  • Explain the main code of conduct that a hunter should apply to wildlife conservation.
  • Demonstrate all of the above by their behaviour in the field.

2. Equipment and Food

The Module teaches the essentials required for hunters to be safe when hunting and provides useful tips and technical explanations.

  • Basic gear and food required.
  • Selection and care of equipment - pack, tent, boots, sleeping bag, insulation pad, knife, binoculars, map, compass, torch, rifle, ammunition.
  • Selection and care of clothing.
  • The layering principle for clothing.
  • Selection and storage of food.
  • Cooking meals.
  • The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Communication devices.
  • Survival kit.
  • Where possible, instructors are to demonstrate with typical examples of gear and clothing.

The Module objectives are for the trainee to:

  • Prepare a gear and food checklist for a weekend trip.
  • Describe the things to look for when selecting the major gear items.
  • Select suitable clothing and explain the benefits of preferred fabrics.
  • Explain the principle of layering of clothing.
  • Cook a meal in the field.
  • Explain the dangers of using stoves in tents and confined spaces.
  • Describe the main communication devices and their limitations.
  • Assemble their own basic personal first aid and survival kits.

3. Travel and Navigation

When hunting it is important to plan ahead and this Module teaches the fundamentals of safe travel, including:

  • Planning a hunting trip.
  • Completing a Help Form.
  • Obtaining and interpreting basic weather information.
  • Reading maps and using a compass.
  • Selecting a route and determining the time required and distance travelled.
  • Following a compass bearing and determining your location.
  • Selecting and setting up a campsite.
  • River crossings (theory lesson prior to practical lesson/exercise).

The Module objectives are for the Trainee to:

  • List the main things to consider when planning a hunting trip.
  • Complete a Help Form.
  • Obtain and interpret basic weather information.
  • Read a map and use a compass confidently.
  • Select a route from a map, determine the time required and distance travelled.
  • Follow a compass bearing and determine your location.
  • Select a safe campsite and set up a shelter.
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of river dynamics and hazards.
  • Demonstrate competence in solo and group methods of river crossing.

4. Big Game Species

The Module objectives are for the Trainee to:

  • Learn about New Zealand’s big game animals and the regions they are found in.
  • Identify footprints, droppings and other sign for representative game and other species
  • Learn seasonal behaviour of game animals in their region.
  • Learn about extra equipment and skills required for alpine hunting.
  • Learn what constitutes a trophy head.

5. Firearms Selection, Safety & Marksmanship

Hunting (other than bowhunting) requires an appropriate firearm and trainees learn essentials of firearm use in a hunting context, including:

  • The 7 basic rules of firearms safety.
  • Transport and field safety with firearms.
  • Target identification and safety colours.
  • Basic rifle ballistics.
  • Selecting a suitable rifle and accessories.
  • Telescopic sights.
  • Popular calibres and their performance.
  • Bullet selection and performance.
  • Sighting in a rifle for hunting.
  • The main factors affecting rifle accuracy.
  • Shooting technique.
  • Field shooting.
  • Rifle maintenance at home and in the field.

The Module objectives are for the Trainee to:

  • Memorise and practice the 7 basic rules of firearms safety at all times.
  • Explain the main legal and safety requirements when transporting and using firearms in the field.
  • Explain the basic principles of bullet trajectory.
  • Explain how to select a suitable rifle and calibre for hunting.
  • Describe the basic performance of bullets based on weight, shape, construction and velocity.
  • Describe the main factors that can affect rifle accuracy.
  • Sight in a rifle.
  • Shoot with acceptable accuracy in the prone, sitting and standing positions at 50 m.
  • Explain how to improvise shooting positions in the field.
  • Demonstrate how to clean and store a rifle.

6. Hunting Techniques

The Module objectives are for the Trainee to:

  • Name the better hunting areas for Red, Sika and Fallow deer (and/or Tahr and Chamois in South Island).
  • Explain deer behaviour by season, time of day and weather conditions.
  • Describe the favoured locations and feed of deer.
  • Describe the main types of deer sign and what a hunter can learn from them.
  • Describe a deer’s primary defences.
  • Demonstrate basic stalking techniques.
  • Understand the importance of wind and its likely direction.
  • Explain how to use movement, sound and colour to your advantage.
  • Describe the best areas for bullet placement and explain why.
  • Demonstrate preferred field shooting techniques.
  • Demonstrate basic roaring technique.
  • Demonstrate/describe how to track wounded animals.

7. Meat, Skins & Trophies

Learn what you do after you have shot a game animal, which depends on what you want it for. Is it a trophy animal you want to enter in the NZDA competitions? Is it suitable for display after taxidermy? Or do you just want to make the best use of the meat and skin?

The Module includes:

  • Knife selection and sharpening.
  • Gutting and skinning an animal in the field.
  • Identifying primary organs and checking for TB.
  • Removing the cape and head of an animal.
  • Head skinning.
  • Skull preparation for mounting and competitions.
  • Preserving skins and meat.
  • Butchering an animal in the field to remove most of the edible meat.
  • Carrying a deer carcass or hindquarters.
  • Disposing of offal and waste.
  • Removing the lower jaw for aging.
  • Trophy photography.
  • The Douglas Score measuring system.

8. When Things go Wrong

Things may not go to plan and New Zealand’s weather and conditions are changeable and harsh. Learn the dangers and how to cope.

The Module covers:

  • Basic first aid.
  • Dealing with a medical emergency.
  • Hypothermia and dehydration.
  • The contents of a first aid kit.
  • The contents of a survival kit and their use.
  • Lighting a fire in damp conditions and making an emergency shelter.
  • Basic survival techniques.
  • Search and rescue.
  • What to do when lost or separated from the party.
  • What to do for an ill or injured party member.
  • What to do for an overdue member or party.
  • What to do when there is a fatality.
  • Preparing for a medical evacuation by foot.
  • Preparing a helicopter landing zone for a casualty.
  • Safety around helicopters – approach direction, no-go areas, foreign object debris danger.


Advanced HUNTS syllabus

For those wanted backcountry and multi-day skill certain branches run advanced HUNTS courses.

1. Travel and Navigation in Wilderness Areas

The Module objectives are for the Trainee to:

  • Navigate in the outdoors in poor visibility and difficult terrain
  • Undertake overnight and multi day trips in wilderness area
    Range – Preparation, Off track tramping skills, Risk management

2. Establish and Hunt from a Fly Camp

The Module objectives are for the Trainee to:

  • Equipment suitable for a fly camp.
  • Selecting a camp site – Proximity to hunting area, Wind direction, Water and shelter, Drainage.
  • Establish a fly camp – Tent/fly erection, cooking, fire risk, Toileting, Environment Care Code.
  • Hunting – Navigation, Use of binoculars, Wind direction, Food.