Public Land Hunting Community Awareness

The DPI Game Licensing Unit is responsible for the administration of public land hunting in NSW. This includes hunter licensing, hunter education, assessing compliance of game hunters and enforcing hunting regulations.

The Public Land Hunting Community Awareness campaign provides information for the public and users of NSW State forests about legal hunting on public land in NSW and how it is addressed.

Licensed hunting on public land

Legal hunting can occur on public land that has been 'declared' for hunting by the Minister for Primary Industries. There are signs at the entrance to State forests and other public lands that are open for hunting which advise forest users that licensed hunting may be undertaken in the area.

Hunting and the community

The Game Licensing Unit works closely with local communities, public land managers, the NSW Police Force and other agencies to regulate licensed hunting and deter illegal hunting on public land in NSW.

Hunters share State forests with many other users, such as trail bike riders, mushroom pickers and bushwalkers, as well as forestry staff and contractors. In addition, State forests are often surrounded by local properties and houses. At December 2014, over 96,000 hunting days have occurred on public land in NSW without serious incident.

Hunting and State forests

State forests are working forests which are managed by the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW). The forests accommodate a range of recreational activities, primary production such as grazing and apiary, and timber harvesting. FCNSW carefully balances community access and environmental management with operations to supply timber to the NSW economy. Recreational hunting is a mutually beneficial part of this balance.

While hunting in State forests is primarily a recreational pursuit and does not form a formal part of the FCNSW pest control program, licensed hunters have removed almost 110,000 game and feral animals from declared State forests since March 2006.

Licensed hunters

Public land hunting regulations in NSW are some of the most stringent in Australia, and internationally.

Hunters require a NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) to hunt on declared public land. To obtain an R-licence, hunters must successfully pass an open book test based on hunter safety, ethics, animal welfare and hunting techniques and be a member of an Approved Hunting Organisation (AHO) which has a constitution and a disciplinary framework for its members.

An individual wishing to hunt with a firearm must have completed theoretical and practical firearms licence assessment requirements prescribed by the NSW Police Force, or their equivalent.

Before they are able to hunt on public land, R-Licence holders must complete extra training on navigation and conditions of their permission to hunt, and they must read and understand an advisory on signs they may come across in NSW State forests.

The hunting risk assessment

Forestry Corporation completed the first risk assessment of hunting in State forests in 2005 and it has been reviewed and updated in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.

The risk assessment was completed to international risk management standards and was informed by a stakeholder reference group containing risk management experts and representatives from a range of stakeholder groups such as the Crown Solicitors Office, NSW Government agencies and workplace unions.

You can view the risk assessment on the Forestry Corporation website.

Public land hunting community awareness kit

A public land hunting community awareness kit is available to members of the public and users of public land in NSW who would like to know more about licensed hunting. The kit contains information about the public land hunting program and how it is regulated along with information about reporting illegal hunting through the Shut the gate on illegal hunting campaign.

Contact us to ask for a kit to be mailed to you or use the downloads below.

Shut the gate on illegal hunting

Shut the gate on illegal hunting forest sign

You can read the game licensing compliance policy and find out more about how game hunting is enforced on our game hunting compliance page.

Report illegal hunting now using the Shut the gate on illegal hunting report form (PDF, 217.9 KB).

NSW State forest neighbours, State forest users and the community can help stop illegal hunting by reporting illegal activity as soon as it is detected.

Do not confront illegal hunters.

How can I tell if it's legal or illegal hunters?

  1. Legal hunters are required to wear an item of high-visibility, blaze orange clothing. It will be on the upper part of their body and is usually a cap, beanie or vest. Legal hunters want to be seen by you, illegal hunters do not.
  2. Legal hunters only use firearms on public land during daylight hours (half an hour before sunrise up to half an hour after sunset). Any firearms use on public land at night is illegal activity.
  3. Illegal hunters often use spotlights, in conjunction with the use of firearms at night.
  4. It is illegal to harm native animals on NSW public land.

Download the community awareness kit