• Expenditure was estimated at $1,406 million. ac
  • Hunters removed 18,826 pest animals (as reported to DPI) from public lands in NSW in 2020-21.
  • The most commonly harvested pest animals in state forests were rabbits, pigs, and deer.
Hunter looking at private property sign on gate
Regulated hunting activities generate a range of social and economic benefits for NSW. In 2020-21, it is estimated that hunting related activities generated $1,406 million in expenditure. ac

Expenditure from licensed hunters supported regional and rural businesses as they recover from bush fires, COVID-19 lockdowns, drought and floods. There was a resurgence in hunting licence applications and renewals in 2020-21, as spending time outdoors and the pursuit of free-range, organic table-fare came in focus during lockdowns.

Hunt NSW App

NSW DPI has released a new Hunt NSW app for NSW Game Hunting Licence holders that enhances hunting experiences and helps licence holders voluntarily comply by keeping hunters legal and up to date while on the go. The app allows licence holders to store and access their current written permissions with approved DPI hunting maps, complete harvest returns and report illegal hunting directly. Using ‘hunt mode’ while hunting under a DPI issued written permission enhances the public land hunting experience, with the ability to map a trip from home to forest door and add points of interest while logging photos and other reports.

How do I download the app? Search for ‘Hunt NSW’ on Google Play or the Apple App Store to download the app. While the app is publicly available on these stores, you must have a NSW Game Hunting Licence number and security PIN to be able to access its features.

Hunt NSW App User Guide
back arrow
forward arrow

Strike Force Venari

NSW DPI, in partnership with NSW Police, investigated a report of illegal hunting activity under Joint Strike Force Venari, which resulted in the seizure of drugs, weapons, a vehicle, and other items used while hunting illegally. The report, combined with intelligence, resulted in the offender being convicted of over 50 illegal hunting, drug and ammunition offences resulting in forfeiture of all hunting equipment, $2,400 in fines, two 12-month community correction orders and a 14-month intensive correction order including 100 hours of community service. Joint Strike Force Venari was specifically generated to combat illegal hunting through shared intelligence and joint operations.
Anonymous illegal hunting tipoffs
back arrow
forward arrow

Hunting in NSW

Regulated hunting has been important to the recovery of the NSW economy, especially in rural and regional communities around popular public hunting land. In 2020-21, almost 23,000 NSW Game Hunting Licence holders booked over 50,000 public land hunts, resulting in 18,826 pest animals removed (as reported to DPI) at no cost to the State. The DPI Hunting’s Google map of State forest areas available for hunting received almost 650,000 views since 2019. 86

50% of licence holders were aged between 31 and 50, and 84% were 60 years or younger. Around 3.3% of licensed hunters are female, a slight increase from 2019-20. In addition, 25% of hunters holding a NSW licence reside in other Australian states. 90

Pest animals harvested from NSW State forests in 2020-21

Source: DPI (2021)

NSW Game Hunting Licence holder demographics


Source: DPI (2021)


  • Male
  • Female
Source: DPI (2021)

Home state

  • NSW
  • VIC
  • QLD
  • SA
  • ACT
  • TAS
  • NT
  • WA
Source: DPI (2021)

Regulating and supporting hunting

In NSW, hunting is regulated by DPI Hunting in conjunction with NSW Police. Programs that ensure safe, ethical and sustainable hunting is conducted include licensing, communications, stakeholder engagement, education and awareness, wildlife management, and compliance and enforcement.

During 2020-21, a number of DPI Hunting initiatives were implemented to improve hunting in NSW. A new regulatory and licensing database was launched with enhanced online services for NSW Game Hunting Licence holders and a new mobile app (Hunt NSW). The database also expands the ability of Hunting Inspectors to detect and deter illegal hunting, ensuring safer communities across NSW.

In addition, general conditions applying to licensed hunters while hunting in declared State forests were updated. The new conditions provide more clarity for licence holders around their obligations and make it easier to comply voluntarily. Eligible NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) holders were also issued a licence extension to compensate for the time they could not hunt during the COVID-19 State forest hunting shutdown.

Following on from a quiet, COVID restricted, 2020, the DPI Hunting team attended two industry events in early 2021. These events allow the DPI to connect with stakeholders and provide advice on illegal hunting prevention and how regulated hunters can support primary industries through pest management and recreational use of private and public land.

DPI Hunting regulatory statistics 2020-21