Your Guide to Applying for a Hunting License in New Zealand

Your Guide to Applying for a Hunting License in New Zealand

New Zealand boasts breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife, making it a top spot for hunting enthusiasts. If you’re eager to start your hunting journey in this picturesque country, you might be curious about how to get a hunting licence. 

This guide has you covered, taking you through the steps in a straightforward manner and ensuring your hunting experience is in harmony with the country’s conservation rules.

How to obtain a hunting licence in New Zealand?

How to obtain a hunting licence in New Zealand

In New Zealand, you don’t need a hunting licence; however, you will require a Department of Conservation hunting permit instead. The type of DOC hunting permit you need depends on what and where you intend to hunt. 

To obtain the relevant hunting permit, you must submit an application to the Department of Conservation.

For a comprehensive step-by-step guide on obtaining a hunting licence in New Zealand, please follow our instructions below.

DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Number of steps4
Time to perform stepsApproximately 1-2 weeks (may vary based on permit type and processing times)
Things you need• Internet access (for online applications, if applicable)

• Contact with local DOC office

• Personal information and documentation for the application process

STEP 1: Determine the type of hunting permit you need.

Determine the type of hunting permit you need

The very first step on your journey to obtaining a Department of Conservation hunting permit in New Zealand is to identify precisely which type of permit suits your hunting plans. 

New Zealand offers five distinct hunting permits, each tailored to specific conditions and game. Let’s break them down for you:

  1. Open Area Hunting Permit: The Open Area Hunting Permit grants you the authority to hunt various game species, including deer, pigs, goats, chamois, tahr, and wallabies.

You can exercise the privileges of the Open Area Hunting Permit exclusively in designated open hunting areas, which are usually expansive, unrestricted zones.

Read the standard conditions for open hunting permit areas

  1. Restricted Hunting Permit: The Restricted Hunting Permit is your choice if your hunting plans involve activities outside the standard conditions. For example, if you intend to use specialised equipment like a muzzleloader, this permit is essential. 

It covers game species like deer, pigs, goats, chamois, tahr, and wallabies. Restricted Hunting Permits are valid in specific restricted hunting areas, which may have additional regulations or limitations.

  1. Small Game Hunting Permit: This permit is tailored for hunters interested in pursuing small game, including rabbits, hares, Canada geese, and feral geese. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking to engage in small-game hunting.

Small Game Hunting Permits are typically applicable in restricted hunting areas, ensuring the sustainable management of small game populations.

  1. Game Bird Permit: The Game Bird Permit is specifically designed for hunting game birds, which encompass a variety of waterfowl and upland birds. Common examples include ducks and pheasants.

Game Bird Permits are exclusively valid in designated restricted hunting areas, where these avian species are found.

  1. Possum Permit: Caters to individuals interested in hunting possums, which are a non-native species in New Zealand and considered pests.

You can utilise Possum Permits in restricted hunting areas where possum populations may pose ecological challenges.

Once you’ve determined the specific type of hunting permit that aligns with your hunting objectives and the game you intend to pursue, you’re ready for the next step.

STEP 2: Send your application.

Send your application

Now that you’ve sorted out which hunting permit suits you best, let’s jump into the process of applying for a Department of Conservation (DOC) hunting permit. 

This step is a key part of ensuring you get the permit you need, and we’re here to help you through it, depending on the specific type of hunting permit you’re after.

1. How to send an application for an open area hunting permit.

If you require an Open Area Hunting Permit, there are several straightforward options available for application:

  1. Apply Online: The simplest and most convenient method is to apply online. Click here to access the online application portal.
  • Follow the prompts and enter your details as required. Ensure that you complete all necessary fields accurately.
  • After filling out the form, click “Apply.” The system should indicate that your application has been successfully submitted.
  1. Visit DOC Visitor Centers or Local DOC Offices: Not all DOC visitor centres or local DOC offices issue permits, so it’s essential to call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) beforehand. However, if they do, you can visit one of DOC visitor centres.

Staff at these centres or offices will assist you in filling out the necessary paperwork and guide you through the application process in person.

  1. Apply by Phone, Email, or Fax at a Visitor Center or DOC Office: If visiting in person is not feasible, you can also apply for your Open Area Hunting Permit via phone, email, or fax at a DOC visitor centre or office. Go to the DOC contact page to get their contact details.

2. How to send an application for a restricted area hunting permit.

To apply for a Restricted Area Hunting Permit, start by contacting the nearest Department of Conservation (DOC) office responsible for managing hunting in your desired restricted area. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application process:

  1. Contact Your Nearest DOC Visitor Center or Local DOC Office: Start by identifying the nearest Department of Conservation (DOC) visitor centre or local DOC office that manages hunting activities in the restricted area where you plan to hunt.

Now, not all regions have restricted hunting areas available, so it’s crucial to verify the availability of such areas in your chosen location. 

To do this, give the national DOC office a call at 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468). Or you can find your local DOC office. They can provide information about whether restricted hunting permits are applicable in your intended hunting zone.

  1. Visit the DOC Office: If you’ve confirmed that your chosen hunting area falls under a restricted category, visit the designated DOC office in person.

While there, staff members will assist you in completing the required paperwork and provide any additional guidance needed to ensure a successful application.

  1. Submit Your Application: Provide all necessary personal information and details regarding your hunting plans in the restricted area.

Ensure that you accurately complete the application form and provide any supporting documents, as required by the DOC.

3. How to send an application for a small game hunting permit.

You can reach out to your local Department of Conservation (DOC) office to inquire about the availability of small game hunting opportunities in your area in order to send your application for a small game hunting permit.

Find your local DOC office.

To do so, follow the simple guide below:

  1. Confirm Eligibility: Once you have contacted your local DOC office, discuss your interest in small game hunting with the DOC office staff. They will guide you on whether such permits are accessible in your region. 
  1. Application Process: If small game hunting permits are available in your region, the DOC office will provide you with the necessary application forms and guidance on how to fill them out accurately.
  1. Provide Required Information: Complete the application form with your personal details, including your name, contact information, and any other information requested. Ensure that all information is accurate and up to date.
  1. Application Submission: Submit your completed application form to the DOC office as instructed. Be prepared to provide any additional documents or fees that may be required for processing.

Note: While obtaining your permit, the DOC office will also provide you with vital information about safety considerations, access issues, and any specific regulations or guidelines applicable to the designated hunting area. It’s essential to thoroughly review and understand this information before embarking on your hunting adventure.

4. How to send an application for a game bird permit.

Applying for a Game Bird Permit involves a few essential steps, but it’s important to be aware of the specific conditions and additional requirements based on your region. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide:

  1. Contact Your Local DOC Office: Start by reaching out to your local Department of Conservation (DOC) office to inquire about the availability of Game Bird Permits in your area. Not all regions may have game bird hunting areas, so confirming this is crucial.

Find your local DOC office.

  1. Confirm Your Eligibility: Discuss your intention to obtain a Game Bird Permit with the knowledgeable DOC office staff. They can verify your eligibility and inform you whether the area you plan to hunt in is covered by the permit.
  1. Visit the Local DOC Office (If Necessary): Depending on your region and specific requirements, you may need to make a visit to the local DOC office in person to complete the application process. The helpful staff there will guide you through the necessary steps, so  don’t worry!
  1. Submit Your Application: Once you’ve gathered the necessary information and completed any required forms, submit your application to the local DOC office. Make sure to provide accurate and up-to-date personal details.

Note: To hunt game birds across New Zealand (excluding the Chatham Islands) and on public conservation land, you’ll also need a separate game bird hunting licence from Fish & Game NZ.

Easily purchase this licence from their website using this link for a convenient and quick process.

5. How to send an application for a possum permit.

Applying for a Possum Permit in New Zealand follows a structured process akin to other hunting permits. However, here’s a quick rundown of the steps to help you secure your permit:

  • Begin by reaching out to your local Department of Conservation (DOC) office, the authority responsible for issuing Possum Permits. Find your local DOC office.
  • Once you’ve reached them, inquire about the availability of Possum Permits in your chosen hunting area. Keep in mind that possum hunting opportunities can vary by region, so inquire about suitability.
  • Discuss your intent to obtain a Possum Permit with the knowledgeable DOC office staff to verify your eligibility. Seek assurance that the area you plan to hunt in is covered by the permit.
  • Depending on specific regional requirements, you might need to visit the local DOC office in person. During this visit, you can receive guidance and assistance in navigating the application process.
  • Thoroughly complete the necessary application forms, ensuring that all requested information is accurate and up to date. Submit your application to the local DOC office.

Note: If you’re planning to use cyanide paste for possum hunting on public conservation land, you must obtain permission from the DOC. Cyanide use for possum skin or fur recovery (PDF, 229K) provides information on how to apply for permission.

STEP 3: Await the approval.

Await the approval

After submitting your hunting permit application to the Department of Conservation (DOC), the next step is to patiently await approval. This crucial phase can span several weeks, so it’s advisable to apply well in advance of your intended hunting expedition.

During this period, the DOC will diligently review your application to ensure several key factors:

  • Eligibility Check: The DOC will verify that you meet all eligibility requirements for obtaining a hunting permit.
  • Sustainability Assessment: Your hunting plan will undergo evaluation to ascertain its sustainability and safety, ensuring that it aligns with conservation goals.
  • Additional Information: Be prepared to provide any supplementary information that the DOC may request to facilitate their review process.

If you have any inquiries regarding the status of your application, don’t hesitate to reach out to the DOC office to which you initially submitted your application

STEP 4: Obtain the hunting permit.

Obtain the hunting permit

Once your hunting permit application has been approved by the Department of Conservation (DOC), you’re on the verge of officially obtaining your relevant hunting permit. Here’s a quick summary of how you can secure your permit:

In-Person Pickup: In some regions, you may need to visit the local DOC office in person to collect your approved hunting permit.

Online Issuance: Alternatively, for convenience, certain areas offer online issuance of hunting permits. In this case, you’ll receive a digital or printable permit via the email address provided in your application.

Mail Delivery: In certain instances, the DOC may mail your physical hunting permit to the address you provided during the application process.

Local Outlets: In specific regions, you may also have the option to obtain your hunting permit from local authorised outlets or visitor centres.

The method of permit delivery may vary depending on your location and the specific hunting permit you’ve applied for. Be sure to check with the DOC office regarding the precise procedure for obtaining your permit once it’s been approved. 

Congratulations on progressing to the final step of securing your hunting permit in New Zealand!