New rules for hunting under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 has been announced by the government.
Hunting is now permitted but only on private land and with the landowner’s permission. Hunters also need to ensure they are within their region and bubble.
Overnight trips are not allowed and hunting must be done on foot, meaning the use of helicopters, quad bikes, and other motorised vehicles is not permitted.
“We know that hunting is an important part of life for many New Zealanders, and in some cases, a critical source of food,” said Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson.
“At Level 3, we also need to minimise the risk of losing the great progress we’ve made together in Alert Level 4 in stamping out the virus. We have to strike a balance, and that’s why these rules are designed to allow hunting in a limited way.”
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said hunting on public conservation land is not allowed until the time when there is a decision for New Zealand to return to Alert Level 2.
“While many hunters may want to head to popular spots on public land to target the last stag of the roar, under Alert Level 3 hunting on public conservation land will remain off-limits,” Sage said.
“This helps with consistency across walking and mountain biking where people must stay local, rather than travelling to backcountry conservation land.”
Game Animal Council general manager Tim Gale said that the organisation along with NZDA and others in the hunting sector had advocated for hunting to be permitted on both public and private land. Although the government’s decision is “disappointing”, Gale said that it is important for hunters to “follow the rules and focus on getting down to Level 2 as soon as possible.”
“The reality is that Level 3 is only temporary. If we continue to make good progress in limiting the spread of the virus, then moving to Level 2 may only be a few weeks away and at that point hunting will be able to take place on public conservation land also,” Gale said.
Hunting has not been allowed since New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4, as it had been deemed risky under the lockdown, and according to the government advice issued last week, the activity would remain banned.
New Zealand is still under Alert Level 4 and will shift to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Monday, 27 April 2020.
For more information, visit covid-19govt.nz.