Handheld thermal tech now allowed on public conservation land

Technology making it easier for hunters to find animals will be allowed on public conservation land from 1 June, Hunting and Fishing Minister Todd McClay has announced.

The use of hand-held thermal technology during daylight hours will add to safety and help hunters to better identify animals,” Minister McClay says.

Thermal technology which can be attached to a firearm is still prohibited, and discharging a firearm when it’s dark or using night vision optics is not allowed on the DOC estate.

“Hand-held thermal technology, which finds heat sources within vegetation cover, has become widely available and is increasingly used by hunters for both safety and to improve the chances of detecting an animal.

“Hunters will then still need to identify their target beyond all doubt before taking their shot.”

Minister McClay says visitor safety was carefully considered when making these changes, which have been discussed with the Land Safety Forum.

“I encourage hunters to understand and follow the conditions of their hunting permits and the Firearms Safety Code to make sure everyone enjoying New Zealand’s stunning wilderness returns home safely.”

DOC prohibited the use of thermal technology on public conservation land in 2010. At the time, the technology was not readily available and not well understood.

“This is just one of the ways we’re working to make life easier for hunters. Work is also underway to make getting a hunting permit quicker and easier – we’ll have more to say about this as the work rolls out,” Minister McClay says.