Firearms Safety

Safety is our collective responsibility. It is up to every participant to ensure the future for firearms users in New Zealand. We do this by following the arms code and keeping yourself and everyone else safe while using firearms. A key part of being a safe hunter is fully understanding and mitigating the risks around firearms.

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Loading a firearm - BGH

Did you know?

There are over 190,000 (local and visiting) hunters who participate in New Zealand each year.
– A Hunter's Tale, 2017 


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What are the risks?

Whether it is on the range, or out in the bush, people need to be extremely aware of themselves and their surroundings at all times. People using firearms for all types of New Zealand hunting have to encounter various forms of terrain, situations and other people while carrying a deadly weapon. Whether you are new to the game or a experienced with firearms, a small lapse in concentration can be fatal. 

What often goes wrong?  

Other than firearms mechanically failing, preventable incidents involving firearms are most likely the result of someone breaking one of the Seven Basic Firearms Safety Rules. These rules were generated as a means for hunters to keep themselves and others safe while handling firearms and should always be followed.

Did you know?

45% of hunting-related fatalities involve a firearm.
A Hunter's Tale, 2017

 Hover below and find out more:


7 Basic Firearm Safety Rules

1. Treat every firearm as loaded
  •  Check every firearm yourself.
  •  Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.


2. Always point firearms in a safe direction
  •  Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction


3. Load a firearm only when ready to fire
  •  Load the magazine only when you reach your shooting area.
  •  Load the chamber only when ready to shoot.
  •  Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.

4. Identify your target beyond all doubt
  • Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you.
  • Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise.
  • Wear clothing which contrasts to your environment.


5. Check your firing zone
  •  THINK:  What may happen if you miss your target? 
  •  What might you hit between you and the target or beyond?
  •  Do not fire when you know others are in your firing zone.


6a. Store firearms and ammunition safely
  •  When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.
  •  Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended.
6b. Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms
  •  Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.

 Study the NZ Arms Code

Helpful hint

If you see someone using firearms in an unsafe manner (putting themselves or others at risk), you have the right to tell them to stop.

Get Licensed

  • To apply for or renew a NZ Firearms Licence click on the link below:

NZ Police Website


Key Resources

  • Plan a hunting trip and explore the resources you will need for that trip. 

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 Watch our Hunting Playlist for more helpful videos:


  All hunting resources   

Helpful Links

Department of Conservation - You can find out more about the species you are targeting, the permits you need and much more here.

Find out more

 NZ Police - Understand more about firearms safety, getting licensed and the rules here.

Find out more 


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