Common injuries for Kiwi hunters

16th March 2023|3min

While most hunters typically have a safe and successful hunting trip, every year some are injured or require search and rescue assistance. In most cases these incidents are preventable either through robust planning and preparation, or quality decision-making out in the bush. We take a look at our insights to uncover some of the most common incidents among New Zealand hunters.

What we know about injuries

  • 14,632 hunting-related ACC injury claims have been lodged over 10 years ending 2022. This is an annual average of 1,463, or about one in every 143 adult hunters who were injured made an ACC claim.
  • Of these, 61% are classified as minor injuries, 28% moderate, 11% severe** (severe injuries accounted for the majority of all costs, at over 20 times as much as minor and moderate claims).

**A severe injury is defined as over $2000 claim cost, requiring a minimum of 10 days off work, or any fracture, head, spinal injury (think brain injury, fracture, dislocation or amputation).


A fall will have a good chance of ruining any hunting trip, so it is important to watch your footing and consider the terrain you’re about to enter. Most falls occur on uneven or loose terrain, especially when your pack is loaded up. Consider a ‘risk matrix’ - think of the likelihood of an accident versus the consequences of an accident.
Tip: Always carry an emergency communications device in case things go really pear shaped.

Foot or Knee injury

Just like falls, trips and slips can result in niggly injuries, and unfortunately these are common while hunting for many reasons. To avoid these, watch your foot placements carefully, ensure you’re wearing the right gear, suitable footwear and don’t carry a load that’s too heavy for you to move with ease. A walking pole or hill stick can be really helpful on some sections as well.
Tip: good sturdy boots help with ankle support and stability.

You can help prevent these injuries by:

  • 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.

Navigational errors

An injury can also occur while you are worrying about other things such as being late to get back home, moving off your planned route, or simply a loss in concentration when placing your feet or attempting terrain you are not ready for. Navigation is something that many people can struggle with, especially after dark or in thick bush. If you are not paying attention, it can quickly turn into a navigation error, minor or major, and can end up wasting a lot of daylight hours and time. Researching the area before the trip will help you familiarise yourself while out there. While in the bush, pace yourself and think about your return route. Keep that map handy and keep track of your movements throughout the day.

Carrying a heavy load
Trying to pack out too much weight can result in an injury. While this is common, hunters should avoid this by only taking meat that you need, and bone it out if you can - consider a couple trips instead. This is another great reason to go hunting with a mate.

Planning and preparation are important ahead of any hunting trip whether it’s a day trip or a week-long backcountry hunt.

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

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