About NZDA

Code of Ethics

All NZDA members are expected to:

  • Approach recreational hunting from the highest possible level of ethics, having due regard to the welfare of the animals hunted, and prevention of cruelty to the same.
  • Not hunt or carry a firearm on property without the proper approval of the owner, occupier of controlling authority and shall strictly observe any conditions imposed upon him.
  • Be a responsible firearms owner and abide by current Firearms Laws.
  • Avoid unnecessary or deliberate damage to the environment, respect property, and other users of the outdoors.
  • Advocate sensible conservation practices at all times and promote New Zealand’s biodiversity ‘in situ’.
  • Practice the Field Guidelines when out hunting.
  • Be exemplary members of NZDA by promoting and abiding by its Rules, Field Guidelines and this Code of Ethics.

Fair Chase

NZDA Definition of Fair Chase:

  • Animal must not have been taken in an enclosed area ie, behind deer wire or any such fence or fixture that impedes the animal’s unrestricted chance of escape
  • Animal must not have been restrained ie, in a snare, trap, fence etc
  • Animal must not have been taken with the aid of a spotlight or use of night vision equipment
  • Animal must not have been taken from an aircraft, powered vehicle or vessel
  • Animal must not have been coursed by dogs (with the exception of wild pigs)
  • Animal must not have been taken in a manner where animal behaviour has been intentionally influenced by the use of a powered craft

Field Guidelines

  • To approach the sport of recreational hunting from the highest possible level of ethics, with due regard to the welfare of the animals and the prevention of cruelty to same.
  • To encourage the use by hunters, of sporting arms of calibre and/or power adequate to ensure quick clean kills of the particular game species being hunted.
  • To encourage the fullest possible use of the game killed by hunters and to avoid always, unnecessary wastage of the game resource.
  • To promote safe practices by ensuring oneself and others are suitably trained to minimise risks in the outdoors.
  • Respect the property of others and respect the natural environment.
  • To assist in the gathering of research information from the animal secured for association (and related) research programmes.
  • The New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association Incorporated recommends and promotes safe hunting practices, including the wearing of high visibility clothing that contrasts with the environment and the game being hunted. To be effective a responsible hunter should wear sufficient high visibility clothing to ensure immediate recognition by other hunters. This is an important risk management measure designed to minimize the risk of hunters failing to quickly identify other hunters, but does not in any way detract from the primary responsibility of all hunters to positively identify their target.

History of the Deerstalkers

In May 1938 130 deerstalkers met in Invercargill for the official formation of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association. Little could they have realised the crucial role this organisation was to play during the next 75 years in fighting for the very survival of New Zealand’s big game herds.

Ever since 1930 the big game animals of New Zealand have been classed as pests. Extermination was the bottom line of government policy. In turn deer culling, the use of aerial 1080 poison and commercial hunting, often from helicopters to ensure wholesale slaughter, were promoted by public authorities as ways of killing off these animals.

The New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association has been involved in campaigns to save the wapiti herd of Fiordland, the rusa deer of the Ureweras, the sambar of the Manawatu, and the thar of South Canterbury. Only through arduous research in the field and intense political lobbying has the NZDA been able to achieve these campaigns.

The switch in recent years from an extermination policy to big-game management and the creation of recreational hunting areas, and the formation of the Game Animal Council are due in a large part to the work of NZDA members.

The NZDA has always promoted conservation of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna, and the conservation of New Zealand’s unique environment as central to our sport and to the New Zealand way of life. The NZDA has made important contributions to hunting at the personal as well as at the policy-making level. The NZDA has always been steadfast on the importance of ethics to hunting, raising the individual standards of hunters, fostering a a sense of true sportsmanship – comradeship, respect for the quarry and a love of the outdoors of New Zealand.