Training Courses
NZDA Hunter National Training Scheme (HUNTS)

NZDA promotes hunting as a lifetime outdoor activity through our Hunter National Training Scheme - known as the “HUNTS” course. Our volunteer network proudly trains new hunters.

The HUNTS syllabus covers the knowledge and skills necessary to operate safely as a hunter in the outdoors, teaching the ethics of fair chase and principles of managing a sustainable game resource.

Photo: Kapiti HUNTS Course Instructor & Trainee


The NZDA Hunter National Training Scheme (HUNTS) was first launched in 1987 and has since helped thousands of hunters gain the skills needed to hunt big game safely and responsibly in New Zealand.

The HUNTS course is delivered by NZDA branches at a local level where instructors teach the HUNTS syllabus under the guidance of a National Coordinator.

Trainees learn about hunting in New Zealand’s unique conditions and develop essential bushcraft and shooting skills for use in the outdoors.

Our HUNTS programme is proudly supported by:

HUNTS Modules

The topics covered by HUNTS include:

  • Ethics, Ecology & Regulations
  • Equipment & Food
  • Backcountry Travel
  • Navigation
  • Firearms Selection, Safety & Marksmanship
  • Big Game Animals
  • Hunting Techniques
  • Meat, Skins & Trophies
  • Outdoor Emergencies & Survival Techniques

For more detailed information see: HUNTS Course Content

General Course Structure

The theory aspect of the course generally occurs over eight 2-hour evening sessions covering 9 learning modules.

The practical training consists of 3 weekend sessions, made up of:

  • 1 full day of practical training in range shooting.
  • 1 full weekend covering equipment, food, bushcraft skills, travel, navigation, survival & river crossings.
  • 1 full weekend completing an overnight camping/hunting trip.

NOTE: This is an example of general course structure, each branch delivers their course slightly different depending on training locations and volunteer availability.

To find the branch closest to you that offers HUNTS, see our Branches Webpage

Dates & Pricing

Dates for each course are decided on by the local branch, generally most courses run in the August - March period. Pricing for the course also depends on location, ranging from $200 - $450.

Note: the pricing of our courses represents the direct cost of your attendance and is delivered by volunteer instructors on a not-for-profit basis.


To join a HUNTS course, you need to be a full member of the NZDA – this is so that you are covered under our Public Liability Insurance in the extremely unlikely event of an incident.

HUNTS is primarily designed for new hunters aged 18+ but younger hunters are welcome with guardian approval. Often, we have parents and their child taking a HUNTS course together.

Trainees require a good level of fitness to allow them to carry a full pack in the backcountry and a firearms licence is preferred but not mandatory.

HUNTS Resources & Benefits

Trainees each receive a copy of the NZDA HUNTS training manual, developed by our knowledgeable volunteers and staff. Instructors teach using a combination of practical learning and classroom instruction using PowerPoint presentations.

NZDA has also established partnerships with hunting organisations to provide our instructors and trainees with additional benefits.

HUNTS Instructors

All our HUNTS instructors are volunteers who generously donate their time, skills and invaluable knowledge to train new hunters.

Instructors have proven competence by attaining the national HUNTS training certification after undertaking a thorough assessment process. HUNTS Instructors pass on their experience and knowledge following the guidelines approved by NZDA.

If you are an experienced hunter who is active in NZDA and would like to become an instructor, please get in contact with your branch leadership team.

How to sign up for HUNTS

Use the Branch Finder to join NZDA and contact the nearest branch offering a HUNTS course.

For more specific information, contact the National Office: