Safety notes from the Mountain Safety Council
Duck Hunting Safety Essentials
Game bird hunting in New Zealand is a popular activity, especially the annual duck hunting season, which begins in May each year. The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) is a non-profit organisation that supports hunter safety through developing hunting insights and producing and sharing free safety-focused resources and information through campaigns. MSC also delivers the practical firearms licence training and theory testing, in partnerships with NZ Police, required to attain your firearms licence.
MSC and Fish & Game work collaboratively to help duck hunters enjoy their hunting safely.
What are the key insights duck hunters should be aware of?
- 87% of game bird hunting injuries occur in May
- 50% of the annual total of injuries occur over Opening Weekend
- Falling/tripping/slipping (in or around the maimai) is the most common cause of duck hunting injury, but these aren’t typically serious incidents.
- Every season there are firearms incidents. These can include hunters shooting themselves, shooting others, or firearm handling and proximity related injuries, such as hearing loss, facial and eye injuries.
These insights provide MSC and Fish & Game with evidence that can be used to encourage safe hunting actions and behaviours. Everyone wants a safe and successful morning in the maimai.
What can hunters do to reduce the chance of an incident?
- Plan your hunt with your group to help ensure everyone is prepared
- Have a test shoot beforehand, get new shooters familiar with firearms, and function check well in advance
- Wear safety glasses and ear protection
- Have a well prepared and laid out maimai (don’t overcrowd)
- Use safe storage such as a gun rack, and use the safeties appropriately. Clear chambers when taking a break or moving around
- Agree on firing zones and perhaps use limit stakes to help with this
- Muzzle control is critical in close quarters; always point in a safe direction/treat as loaded
Almost all firearm-related incidents relate to one of the 7 Basic Firearms Safety rules. This is especially important in Game Bird Hunting, where multiple shooters of various skill levels are using firearms at once. Also, play by the rules by getting your season licence.
Find further resources about safe hunting in NZ
The Seven Basic Rules of Firearm Safety
Refresh yourself on the basic rules to safe firearm handling to reduce an incident. You can also find out where to learn about getting your licence.
Game Bird Hunting | Learn more information about the risks and how to mitigate them for this and other forms of hunting on the MSC website.
MSC’s hunting videos cover insights, skills and awareness to support your hunter safety.
Learn more about their data or get in touch with them for more recent data on land-based outdoor incidents.