Pig Hunting

Pig hunting is a very popular activity around the country, most of us love a nice roast poaka. But a big part of the draw is the excitement of the hunt. Pig hunting will test your scouting, your fitness, your dogs and finally your rifle and knife skills. Be ready.

Pig hunters generally have a good safety record right up until a pig has been ‘bailed’ or caught by their dogs. Nearly all pig hunting fatalities occurred as a result of a hunter trying to reach their dogs. Elevated adrenaline and the urgency to reach their dogs / the pig seems to greatly increase the rate of injury, getting lost and fatality. There are times where pig hunters are taking additional risks that they normally wouldn’t consider doing, or may have managed differently in hindsight.

A key learning from our research is that pig hunters should be particularly aware of their emotional response and adrenaline levels when they catch a pig. It’s wise to remember that the ‘bailed pig’ scenario is a high octane, high-risk arena often in close quarters. Be careful of your knife technique. We also see a lot of injuries from both the pig as well as the dogs, everyone is keyed up! Any endeavour to calmly make logical level-headed decisions is likely to dramatically reduce the likelihood of a serious incident.

Learn about key risks to Pig Hunters in NZ


 Choose Your Hunting Area

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 going
  • How will you get there? Where will you stay?
  • 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 hunters are just some examples of where you can begin to search for a suitable hunting area 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
  • Understand the firearms rules - make sure you are licenced and understand the 7 Basic Firearms Safety Rules to keep you and your fellow hunters safe.
  • 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.

Hunting trip Essentials:
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Headtorch
  • Emergency Communications Device (Beacon)
  • Warm Clothing (Not Cotton)
  • Hat and Gloves
  • Sturdy Footwear
  • Water and Food
  • Emergency Shelter
  • First Aid Kit
  • Clean and bright blaze gear
  • Map and Compass or GPS
  • Packliner + Pack
  • Sun protection
  • Whistle
  • Knife
  • Clean + sighted-in firearm
  • Permission or a DOC permit to hunt on the land as well as a current NZ firearms licence
  • Cooker, Fuel, Utensils
  • Toiletries and personal medication
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Lock for storing firearms safely
  • Hut Booking

pdfBasic Gear List for outdoorsPDF – 203 KB

or you can find more on our Supplies section.

On Your Hunt

Help yourself go further and make it home safe by staying alert in the bush.

  • Put safety first - always point your firearm in a safe direction and take extra care when crossing difficult terrain. Always know the load state of your firearm.
  • Be aware of the weather - you can learn how to do this on our weather page
  • Take your time - enjoy your hunt, take regular breaks and conserve energy for the trip home and keep your mind sharp
  • Stay alert - when will it get dark? Do you know where you are on your map? Where is everyone in your group?
  • Choose your route carefully - before you go up or down a steep area, think how will you get back. Hunters are often 'bluffed out' or stuck from not considering this on the day.
  • Avoid crossing rivers - if you are not experienced, do not attempt. If circumstances change, you can always turn back. Learn more about river safety here.

What to Do Next

Continue your preparation with our online resources, there is still plenty to learn to ensure for a safe and enjoyable hunt.

Explore Our Resources

  • Get the skills | in Navigation, River Safety and more essentials in our Skills Section
  • Watch our Hunting Videos | Learn the 7 Basic Firearms Safety Rules and many more useful tips
  • Hunting Activity Guide | Read our online guidebook to learn how to apply the 7 Basic Firearms Safety Rules. In English and Te Reo Māori
  • Department of Conservation Tracks Learn about where you can hunt and more about the species you are trying to target on their website
  • NZ Police Website | Learn how to get your NZ Firearms Licence

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