Game and feral animal hunting in NSW is subject to regulations to ensure the safety of all users of public land. The conditions which apply to legal hunting in NSW are set out in the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012. In particular, Schedule 1 of the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012 sets out the mandatory conditions of NSW Game Hunting Licences.
As the regulatory authority, DPI is responsible for enforcement of and compliance with these conditions. Breaches of the regulations result in serious penalties.
Additional requirements apply depending on whether you are hunting on public land or hunting on private land, such as the general and specific conditions of Written Permissions issued to hunt on public land.
Hunters are required to hold a valid hunting licence if they are hunting on public land, or if they are hunting deer or other game animals on private land.
A condition of holding a game hunting licence is compliance with the regulations.
Hunters must also carry their valid hunting licence with them at all times while hunting. The licence must be produced immediately when requested by an authorised inspector, NSW Police officer or the landowner. If a hunter loses, damages or misplaces their licence they can apply for a new one (fees apply).
A hunter must have permission from the owner or manager of the land they wish to hunt on to do so.
For public land in NSW, DPI is able to grant written permission to hunters on behalf of other land managers.
If a hunter holds a NSW restricted game hunting licence (R-licence), they are able to apply for written permission to hunt on specified public lands.
A copy of the written permission to hunt must be carried at all times when hunting and must be produced immediately when requested by an authorised inspector, NSW Police officer or the land owner.
Written permissions issued by DPI are subject to standard conditions that are agreed to when a hunt is booked. Individual hunting areas may also have special conditions that must be agreed to. GPS data downloads are compulsory and form part of your written permission conditions.
Licensed juniors, over the age of 12 and under the age of 18, must hunt under the close personal supervision of a licensed person who is at least 18 years old. The junior hunter must also hold the same type of licence as the supervising adult hunter.
Junior hunters are not eligible to hold a hunting guide or commercial hunting licence.
If a junior hunter is using firearms, they must hold a minor's firearms training permit as well as a junior hunting licence. Minor's firearms permits are issued by the NSW Police Force Firearms Registry.
Special conditions apply to game licence holders when hunting deer or other game animals in NSW.
Game animals cannot be hunted if they are fleeing from fire or smoke.
It is illegal to release game animals for the purpose of hunting.
When hunting deer, hunters must not use:
Other special conditions on deer hunting include:
Some species of deer have specific times of the year when they breed. Hunting at these times is restricted due to an increased likelihood of animal welfare concerns.
The following seasons apply to deer hunting in NSW:
|Deer species||Hunting season|
|Fallow, Red and Wapiti deer||1 March to 31 October|
|Hog deer||1 April to 30 April|
|Chital, Sambar and Rusa deer||All year|
The regulations that apply to the hunting of deer by licensed hunters can be suspended by the Department where deer are causing unacceptable impacts on primary production, the environment or community values.
Ecological Deer Management (EDM) is in place in four forests in southern NSW. The program is in place to ensure fair and equitable access to all hunters and as a management strategy for wild deer herds.
When hunting game birds, hunters must not use:
Other special conditions on game bird hunting include:
All dogs being used to hunt must:
These requirements are in addition to the special conditions for hunting deer and other game animals using dogs.
Part 13 of Schedule 1 of the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012 sets out the general conditions that apply to any hunting of pigs using dogs on public land. These conditions are: