Better start getting ready
Top of the list should be the hunting licence, and probably the regulations booklet. Check out the Fish and Game website for the most up-to-date information. May 2 seems to be the opening day this year. Remember you must have your licence with you whenever and wherever you go hunting. Don’t try to use the licence from last year. They are not upgradable, exchangeable or refundable. If you lose your licence report it to Fish and Game and they will sort it out. F&G have an online licence system, or you can call their free phone licence number 0800 542 362, business hours only, $5 booking fee. Or you can visit any Fish and Game office or regional licence agent.
Hunting kit reminders:
- Game bird hunting licence, regulations booklet. Carry firearms licence at all times.
- Confirm access with landowners.
- Get permit to hunt on Fish & Game and DOC land.
- Fix the maimai: leaks, rotten boards seating etc.
- Clean decoys.
- Vaccinations and worming for the dog.
- Check regulations for the region you are hunting in.
- Hunt ethically and responsibly.
- Don’t drink and hunt. Alcohol impairs judgement.
- Be a tidy kiwi – take your rubbish when you leave.
Basic safety rules:
- Shotgun in tip-top condition. Check sighting.
- Treat every firearm as loaded.
- Store firearms and ammunition safely.
- Always point firearms in a safe direction.
- Load only when ready to fire.
- Always, always - identify your target.
- Check the firing zone.
Keep it happy hunting
With Duck Shooting seasons not far away it is well to remember about obligations of farm/land owners and of the recreational visitors on the property.
Owners do have obligations under Health and Safety legislation.
The first thing to take into account is that this is not a paperwork nightmare. There is not lengthy form-filling required nor a need to sign people on and off the farm. It is really a matter of thinking about where the hunters will go, identifying hazards and risks the hunters wouldn’t reasonably expect in those areas, and warning them about those risks and how to avoid them.
The recommendation is to have a conversation with the hunter or hunter in charge of the party to pass on that information. Make a note in your farm diary about what you told them. Most people usually ring up the night (or during the week) before to make sure it’s all ok, so that’s a good time to have the discussion.
Think about the sort of things to warn them about. Remember the things they wouldn’t reasonably expect (so if they are townies you might have to make allowance for that) in the areas they will be in. Some examples: Dangers from things like tree-felling, spraying or other work – if there is tree felling in another area, are the trucks using the same tracks? Areas of instability such as paddocks with unexpected tomos or subject to landslips. Aggressive stock that are near where they will be hunting. You might also let them know about communications (e.g. no cell coverage) so they can make alternate arrangements if they need to.
It’s also a good to get an idea of their timings, and tell them they should let you know if these change. You also need to make sure that all the people who are in the area (staff, contractors, other visitors / hunters) are aware of each other.
If a visitor trips over a tree-root or stone, a property owner or occupier is unlikely to be held responsible for the other person’s carelessness. In addition, if the property owner or occupier could not reasonably have been expected to know of a hazard, they cannot be held responsible for any harm that occurs to a customer or client.
Remember the General Rule - as the person in charge of the workplace you are legally required to point out specific hazards, which you know could harm the person and which the person wouldn’t normally expect to encounter.
Happy hunting season.