Federated Farmers and the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association are joining forces to remind hunters and farmers of hunting etiquette.
“We’re working with the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association to remind hunters and farmers how to deal with one another,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers West Coast provincial president.
“The biggest thing is asking for permission first. The actual authority for hunting is the legal occupier of the land being hunted upon, even if they don't establish themselves as the lawful owner of the animal absolutely.
“That includes even if just crossing a farm to gain access to public land. Farmers are working well into dusk at this time of the year, so if someone is shooting on or near a farm, then they need to be aware of it for safety’s sake.
“This simple act of getting permission enables farmers to point out no-go areas, such as where stock and farm hazards may be. It’s also a chance to explain where the boundary is between farmland and public land.
“It really is in a hunter’s interest to get permission. Hunting without authority risks "forfeiture of firearms" under S12(4) of the Trespass Act 1980.
“Both the Police and the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association support people calling 111, if weapons are discharged without proper authority.
“What we all want is safe and responsible hunting. The Wild Animal Control Act 1977 means if someone poaches they are a common thief rather than a Robin Hood.
“Technically, it seems hunting without authority means you’re taking from the Queen herself. We believe poaching and rustling underpins a black market in illegal meat, as our colleagues in Federated Farmers Rural Butchers have previously highlighted.
“The Courts have also held that wild animals are the Sovereign’s, unless a hunter can prove they had lawful means for taking the animal in the first place. That comes back to respectfully securing permission before hunting.
“I have even cowed a hunter into surrendering a deer to me, admittedly after a lot of provocation, as it was the fifth incident on my farm in less than a week.
“But it’s just not a good idea to chase down men with guns. It’s best to try and get their license plate number or vehicle description and ring that through to the Police.
“While only the Crown can demand forfeiture, landowners are likely to have called 111. It’s probably in a poacher’s interest to make a peace offering if they’re caught red-handed,” Ms Milne concluded.
Relevant extract from the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association rules and constitution:
§ To safeguard property both private and public and to show due respect for the rights and safety of others.
§ To negotiate with the owners of private land for the right of access to the game herds thereon.
§ 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.
§ Avoid unnecessary or deliberate damage to the environment, respect property, and other users of the outdoors.