Keep Safety Front Of Mind This Duck Hunting Season

30th April 2024|4 min
Media Release | For immediate release 

New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) has joined forces with Te Tari Pūreke - Firearms Safety Authority and Fish & Game to stress the importance of safety this duck hunting season.

An estimated 60,000 New Zealanders are expected to take part in the much-anticipated opening weekend on 4 May.

“Hunters will have put in a lot of work to ensure they’re all set for a safe hunting season. We’re reminding them to continue to keep safety front of mind, so that everyone will make it home safe at the end of the day,” says MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley.

Daisley says safe firearm practices are a crucial part of the equation for all game bird hunting, and particularly for the busy opening weekend for duck hunting season.

Overall, game bird hunters in New Zealand have an improving safety record, as shown by MSC analysis of ACC injury claims data.

To continue this positive downward trend, MSC, Te Tari Pūreke and Fish & Game are urging duck hunters to always follow good firearms safety practices in and around the maimai (duck hunting hide).

“Getting a good bag of ducks and having a safe and enjoyable day hunting has nothing to do with luck,” says Te Tari Pūreke Director of Partnerships Mike McIlraith.

He says everyone in the maimai should agree in advance on their safe firing zones, and then stick to them.

“Duck hunters should be aware of where everyone is in the maimai and always point their firearms away from other people and themselves. If there are more hunters than can safely shoot at once, agree to take turns throughout the day.”

McIlraith says following the basics of safe firearm use can also help prevent an accident. “Treat every firearm in the maimai as loaded, always point firearms in a safe direction with your finger off the trigger and have control of the shotgun at all times.”

Fish & Game encourages hunters to follow the advice of firearms safety experts.

“When you’re not using your firearm, make sure it’s unloaded, and then stow it in a holder with the muzzle pointing in a safe direction. This prevents the firearm from sliding or being knocked over and accidentally going off. When you finish hunting for the day, unload your firearm and lock it away,” says Fish & Game Operations Advisor Richie Cosgrove.

Keeping safe this hunting season also means staying sharp, 
– says MSC chief executive Mike Daisley.

“Days in the maimai start early and can be long, so look out for each other. Make sure everyone takes regular breaks to avoid getting tired and then making mistakes. Save alcoholic drinks till after the hunt when all firearms are safely stored away.”

Daisley reminds hunters that wearing eye and ear protection is also important. “It’s simple to do and will prevent eye injuries and hearing loss that could last well beyond the season.”


The 7 simple firearms safety rules

  1. Treat every firearm as loaded
  2. Always point firearms in a safe direction
  3. Chamber a cartridge only when ready to fire
  4. Identify your target beyond all doubt
  5. Check your firing zone
  6. Store and transport firearms and ammunition safely
  7. Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms.