Safety First for Duck Shooting Season

May 5, 2017 11:00 pm

Duck shooting season opened on Saturday 6 May and Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) wishes all duck hunters a safe and successful shoot this season.

Duck shooting season is an opportunity to get outdoors and catch up with fellow hunters. To avoid injuries or fatalities RWNZ reminds shooters to be aware of their responsibilities towards safe handling and security of the firearms before, during and after the shoot.

“We want to see everyone home safely this season and that includes educating children on being safe around firearms,” says Fiona Gower, RWNZ National President.

“Safety also includes wearing warm clothing and correct protective gear such as earmuffs. Shotguns fire at a decibel rating of 170dB which causes instant hearing loss to all those standing close by. Earmuffs or earplugs may eliminate permanent damage.”

The seven rules of the Firearms Safety Code should always be observed to ensure hunters handle firearms safely, and keep themselves and others from harm.

The regulations for game bird shooting may have changed since last season. RWNZ recommends duck shooters check with the Department of Conservation, Fish and Game New Zealand and private landowners to confirm legal game bird hunting areas and game restrictions for that region.


1. Treat every firearm as loaded

Check every firearm yourself.

Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.

2. Always point firearms in a safe direction

Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.

3. Load a firearm only when ready to use

Load the magazine only when you reach your shooting area.

Load the chamber only when ready to shoot.

Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.

4. Identify your target beyond all doubt

Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you.

Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise.

5. Check your firing zone

THINK! What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond?

Do not fire when you know others are in your firing zone.

6. Store firearms and ammunition safely

When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.

Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended.

7. Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.

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