Have a hmmm on your next hunt

Thousands of hunters gear up for the annual Roar hunting season. While most hunters typically have a safe and successful Roar season, unfortunately every year some hunters are injured or require search and rescue assistance. 

The good news is that nearly all of these Roar hunting-related injuries are preventable. If we know why they happen, we can stop it from happening.

Read Richard's story from his last Roar trip

Richard Wells never thought his annual father-daughter Roar hunting trip would be one to change his life. The decades-long hunting tradition for the Wells family provides a good excuse to get out of the office, and time to sharpen their hunting skills. Last year’s expedition took the pair into Central Otago’s backcountry, and it was on that trip Richard learnt the pain of a “simple mistake with severe consequences”. 

Richard's Roar Story

Richard's Roar Story

There was no pressure. We had beautiful weather, it had been a long day but we were heading home so we just took our time... 

That night I was in agony; my whole neck and arms had shooting pains and muscle spasms. I’ve had broken arms and stuff before but nothing like this. I couldn't even lift my elbow above by chest height...

Read his full story 

Seven Roar hunting tips for staying safe 
  1. Research the area and have a backup plan
  2. Check the weather and be prepared for it to change
  3. Pack a rain jacket and shelter just in case
  4. Tell a mate your plans before you go
  5. Check in with your mates regularly
  6. Take a map and keep track of your movements
  7. Watch your footing and take your time

1. Research the area and have a backup plan
  • The planning you do from home will make all the difference for when you are in the bush. If you are hunting as a group, get everyone together and make sure you all agree on the plan. If you are going on a solo hunt, take items to help you contact help if something goes wrong.
  • Research the terrain and typical weather of the area, analyse your TOPO map, and decide what additional gear would support a safe trip.
  • Understanding your capabilities and skills, and make sure you have a ‘plan B’ for changes in the weather, terrain or river crossings.

Learn more here about trip planning here

2. Check the weather and be prepared for it to change
  • Weather can make or break a hunting trip, so it is one of the most important things to consider. Before any hunt, check the mountain and rural forecasts, including weather watches or warnings in the area you’re planning on visiting, on the MetService
  • If there is bad weather forecast for your area, or it worsens, you need to decide if it’s significant enough to alter your plans. Think about how it could affect things like river levels, or wind and cloud if you are hunting above the bushline.
  • If the weather changes unexpectedly, be prepared to change your plans: stay out an extra night, change route or turn around and head home.

Learn about the weather here

3. Pack a rain jacket and shelter just in case
  • What you take with you will make all the difference if something goes wrong such as getting injured or lost and you need to stay the night out in the bush. There are a handful of essentials for every hunt:
    • Rain jacket and emergency shelter (such as survival blanket or fly)
    • Water and food
    • A head torch and warm hat
    • First Aid Kit + survival kit
    • Navigation tool such as a map + compass or GPS
    • A communications device such as a messenger device or PLB.

Learn about supplies for your trip

4. Tell a mate your plans before you go
  • We all want our trips to go as planned – but sometimes they don’t. If you got hurt or lost on your hunt who will know and how will you get help? It’s best to leave written information about your trip:
    • Where you’re going
    • What you’re doing
    • Who is going with you
    • What transport you’ll be using
    • The date and time you expect to be back
  • When you get into signal, contact them again that you have made it back safe. If they don’t hear from you by an agreed time, they should call 111 and ask for the Police.
  • Rent or purchase a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for the trip, or consider other emergency device options to allow you to message from your hunt - just make sure you know how to use it before you go.

Learn about communication device options

5. Check in with your mates regularly
  • The best way to enjoy your experience in the outdoors and make it home safely from a hunt is to look out for one another.
  • Make decisions together before you go such as who is where for the day and what your emergency plans are.
  • While out in the bush, check in on each other and know where everyone is at all times. Working as a team such as taking turns hunting, carrying equipment and navigation.

Learn more tips for hunting with others

6. Take a map and keep track of your movements
  • Planning your route on a map is one thing, but knowing where to go when you’re out there is a whole other matter. It is essential that you know how to find your way to your destination, and even more important to know how to make it home safe.
  • A GPS or phone app are great as part of your trip, a paper map is handy for a backup in case you lose your kit to wet conditions.
  • Paying attention to the landscape as you walk and knowing how much daylight left are just some of the awareness skills to help you navigate your area and get you back home safe. Make marking features like river crossings, junctions, bluffs and animal sign on your map as a habit.

Learn about basic navigation

7. Watch your footing and take your time
  • Most injuries occur on uneven or loose terrain, and of those injuries, smaller falls and slips make up the majority and can be far more common. A foot or leg injury can drastically change your hunting plans, so always carry a first aid kit. 
  • You can help prevent these injuries:
    • Give yourself enough time and don’t rush
    • Warm up and stretch before you set off
    • Watch where you place your feet
    • Wear sturdy boots for support on uneven ground
    • Be very cautious going down routes you’ve never been on before.

Learn some tips on improving your fitness

Further support
About 'Have a hmmm' 

This story is part of ACC New Zealand's Have a Hmmmm... awareness campaign.

'Have a hmmm' is a constructive wero (challenge) to Aotearoa: Take action to avoid injury and keep yourself, your whānau, friends and community safe and well. 

Injury can have life-changing impacts – for those who are injured, their whānau and society. Around 90% of injuries are not random events. They're predictable and therefore preventable. Yet, ACC sees 5,000 injury claims per day. That's around 2 million claims a year. 

ACC is starting by asking New Zealanders to do something easy: take a moment, 'Have a hmmm' and think of others before acting. Learn more about the campaign here.