Police warning for deerstalkers. Photo: YouTube
Firearms safety warnings are being made by police as deerstalkers prepare to take to the bush for The Roar.
Late March and April, is the rutting season for the most common deer species in NZ.
Their pre-occupation with mating leads the stags to become vocal and makes them vulnerable to hunters. The extra activity in the outdoors, and the excitement this time of year brings for hunters, can make them vulnerable too.
The Roar is when most New Zealand hunting accidents happen.
There’s a significant increase in the number of hunting-related incidents and Search and Rescue operations at this time each year, with target misidentification being the biggest cause of fatalities, says Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson.
“As a starting point I suggest that the mindset of the hunter when they see what they think is a deer should be, ‘is this another hunter?’ rather than, ‘it is probably a deer’.
“The consequences of failing to fully identify a target beyond all doubt are immediate, tragic and catastrophic.”
It is crucial that you positively identify it is a deer, and that you are looking at the whole animal, not just a part of it, says John. If in any doubt don’t shoot.
“If you pull the trigger you will have to live with the consequences forever.”
There are also incidents every year during The Roar involving hunters who are injured, and sometimes lost. Most injuries come from a fall, a trip, or a stumble. Becoming lost or injured happens, but there are things to do which will mitigate this risk:
• Take care in the outdoors.
• A little preparation pre hunt will go a long way.
If you are fit then you are a lot more resilient if you do have a fall or suffer from an injury
Follow the Outdoor Safety Code. Police also recommend considering the use of technology to make things safer and more enjoyable. Beacons can be a lifesaving tool as it means emergency services will be aware that something has happened much faster if you do get injured or lost