A large number of hunting fatalities have occurred in the dark. There has also been an increased number of ‘misidentification’ incidents occurring outside of daylight hours. The hunting environment at night and the increased risks that low visibility brings, are vastly different when compared to what hunters encounter during a hunt in daylight.
Special consideration and extra care should be taken when hunting at night. Misidentified target incidents occurring at night often involved the victim wearing a headlamp or carrying a torch, the glow of which is then mistaken for the glow of a deer’s eyes in the hunter’s spotlight beam.
Learn about Key Risks while Night Hunting
Make a plan and stick to it
Choose a hunting trip that suits the skills and fitness of everyone in your group. A local hunt or backcountry adventure will all have their own risks. Carefully consider what to expect out there.
Consider your ability, skills and fitness of everyone in your group
How will you get there? Where will you stay?
What will the weather be doing?
How will help find you if something goes wrong? Will there be cellphone signal?
How long will it take to get around the area with enough daylight?
What is the terrain like? Will there be rivers/bluffs/steep ridgelines?
Start looking at maps and websites to gain insight into what your trip will include.
Topomaps, DOC Hunting areas or talking to experienced huntersare just some examples of where you can begin to search for a suitable hunt near you.
Prepare for your hunt
The planning you do from home will make all the difference for when you are in the bush. If you are going solo, take items to help you contact help if something goes wrong. If you are going as a group, get everyone together and make sure you all agree on the plan.
Get yourself ready
Heading for a hunt into the New Zealand's bush takes skills, even if it is a short day hunt on a local property.
Get your body ready - you will last longer in the bush and prevent common injuries such as back and ankles while carrying heavy gear/ game
Have the skills to stay safe - As you head off track, through variable terrain and encounter risks, basic navigation, river safety and basic first aid are essential skills to the average hunter. You can find all these topics here.
Take the basics to keep you comfortable and safe
What you take with you will make all the difference if something were to go wrong such as getting lost, delayed or injured.
80% of mis-identified target hunting incidents were from the same hunting party. By making a plan and smart decisions in the bush, you and your mates can help reduce the risk of an irreversible mistake.
Plan together — make sure everyone understands what you are doing and where you are going for the hunt
Communicate in your group— make sure everyone is on the same page
Help others see you — wear blaze gear to help other hunters see you
Choose one shooter in your group — reduce the risk of a misID
Make time to recharge — regular breaks are essential to help you last
You’re never alone — thousands of hunters and people are out there