Game bird hunting in New Zealand is a long-loved tradition for many hunters. It involves the pursuit of waterfowl and upland game birds during set seasons of the year. One particular event is the annual duck hunting season, in which hunters call in and shoot ducks from hides (maimais). Firearm safety in this form of hunting is essential as participants are in close proximity and rapid reactions to the appearance of game.
Our safety tips for the season
- Discuss a plan with everyone in the maimai
An organised maimai means everything runs smoothly. Everyone should know where they will sit and all access points.
- Check your gear and guns are all set before you go
Allocate some time ahead of Opening Weekend to check your kit and test fire the guns. Have a first aid kit, food and water handy.
- Rest up and be ready for the weekend
The early start makes for a long day, so rest up to get the most out of the weekend.
- Save booze for after the shoot
Serve hot and cold beverages while in the maimai and leave the alcohol until the end of the shoot when firearms are safely stored away. ‘Hot brews, not booze’.
- Check in with each other regularly
Take regular breaks to maintain a sharp mind and be sure to always unload and prove all shotguns are safe before you start moving out.
- Confirm your firing zones
Check the firing arcs and practice range estimates of your shotgun and leading when shooting a target in flight. Keep this range in mind at all times to help you understand a safe firing zone.
Keep safety front of mind
- Always handle, transport and store your firearms with care
Always treat your firearms as loaded, point in a safe direction and check its load state before storing in a rack.
- Wear eye and ear protection
Wearing eye protection and ear protection can prevent related injuries and long-term damage.
- Supervise unlicensed shooters; one licence, one gun
If you’ve got a new shooter without a licence, you must directly supervise them.
Watch this video outlining some of the key risks to duck hunters so you can learn to mitigate these