Help for private landholders

While most hunting in NSW is regulated, private landholders who hunt on their own land do not need a game hunting licence, unless they hunt under the NSW Native Game Bird Management Program.

Do I need a game hunting licence?
(Landholders, members of their household and employees)
Own land Other private land
Rabbits, foxes, feral pigs, feral goats, wild dogs (not dingo), feral cats, hares No No
Wild deer No Yes
Native game birds (ducks) - Owner/Occupier Licence to allow licensed hunters to manage game ducks on your land (minimum requirement) Yes Yes
Managing native game birds (ducks) yourself - you may also need a NSW Game Hunting Licence (General or Restricted) and complete the Waterfowl Identification Test Yes Yes
When do hunters I allow on my property need a game hunting licence?Licence Other requirements
Rabbits, foxes, feral pigs, feral goats, wild dogs (not dingo), feral cats, hares No Permission
Wild deer Yes Permission
Native game birds (ducks) Yes Waterfowl Identification Test and permission

Licensed, safe and responsible hunters can help landholders with:

The DPI Game Licensing Unit can help you to Shut the gate on illegal hunting.

If you experience impacts from illegal hunting, request a free landholder kit today. The kit contains:

  • general tips and tricks to discourage or report illegal hunters
  • information on using infrared surveillance cameras
  • free private property and surveillance signs.

Game and pest animal management

Changes to deer management in NSW

To minimise the impacts of abundant wild deer herds across the State, some of the deer hunting regulations were suspended in November 2018. The current suspension applies across all of NSW for a period of three years. You can read more about deer management below.

Farmers who require help managing a wild deer population may access a register of volunteer hunters. The Deer Assistance Hunter Register provides landholders with the contact details of hunters who have registered in their Local Land Services region.

To find volunteer support for managing wild deer populations, simply phone 02 6363 7650 or email game.licensing@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Why should I use licensed recreational hunters?

Sometimes, it's hard to get to everything you need to do.

Calling in licensed recreational hunters not only gives you extra manpower to achieve your management goals, but also ensures you get safe, responsible and ethical hunters.

If you use licensed hunters to manage wild deer or native game birds, they are covered by $25 million public liability insurance.

NSW Game Hunting Licence holders:

Have problems with these species?

Are you impacted by wild deer?

Only you, members of your household and employees may hunt wild deer on your land without a game hunting licence.

Any other individual you authorise to hunt wild deer on your land must hold either a NSW General or Restricted Game Hunting Licence.

In NSW, wild deer were identified as a priority species in the 11 Local Land Services Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans. In response, some of the normal rules and regulations that apply to deer hunting have been suspended across the State to help manage overabundant herds.

Suspending the normal rules for deer hunting allows more options to control and minimise their impacts on landholders, the environment and communities.

The table below summarises the current rules that apply for private land and public land hunting of wild deer.

RulePrivate landPublic landNotes
Must have permission of the landholder before entering any lands to hunt deerYesYesPublic land - written permission from NSW DPI
Must hold a NSW Game Hunting LicenceYesYesGeneral or Restricted
Must obey the Hunter's Code of PracticeYesYes 
May hunt all deer species all year roundYesYesLegal season for fallow, red, wapiti and hog deer suspended
May hunt deer fleeing from fire or smokeYesYes 
May use bait, lure or decoy to attract deerYesYesDoes not include poison baits
May hunt deer at nightYesNoNot suspended on public land due to public safety issues
May use a spotlight or other electronic deviceYesNoNot suspended on public land due to public safety issues
May hunt from an aircraft, watercraft or motor vehicleYesNoNot suspended on public land due to public safety issues

NSW DPI can help you by:

  • helping to form a wild deer management plan for your property
  • connecting you with licensed, volunteer hunters to help with your management objectives.

More information

Connect with game bird hunters now!

If you already hold the appropriate licences, access the hunter register to find licensed, volunteer hunters who are ready to help you manage native game ducks.

You can also add your details to the landholder register to allow available hunters to contact you and offer their help.

You can access both of these registers online, send a request for access to gamelicensing.southern@dpi.nsw.gov.au or call 02 6051 7772 for verbal advice.

Do native game ducks impact your agricultural production?

Everyone who needs to manage or hunt native game ducks in NSW must hold a licence and be part of the Native Game Bird Management Program.

The Program sets a high standard for hunting native ducks and provides an ethical framework that allows volunteer hunters to assist landholders to protect their crops.

There are two licences that apply to landholders:

  1. to allow hunting of game ducks on your land - Native Game Bird Management (Owner/Occupier) Licence
  2. to hunt game ducks yourself on any land (including your own) - NSW Game Hunting Licence (General or Restricted).

1. Native Game Bird Management (Owner/Occupier) Licence

This is the primary licence you need to allow management of native game birds on your land. It's free and there are two ways to apply:

Individual property allocations

When you apply for a management licence, you also need to tell us what species require management and the kinds of impacts you are experiencing.

Based on this information, we will set an individual harvest allocation for each property attached to your licence. You will receive advice about the approved allocations when you receive your licence.

There are strict rules about how we can set allocations and also about applying to increase them. More information is in the NSW Game Hunting Guide.

2. NSW General or Restricted Game Hunting Licence

Anyone you allow on your land to hunt game species must hold one of these licences at a minimum.

G-Licence fee waived for Native Game Bird Management (Owner/Occupier) Licence holders

If you hold a landholder licence allowing game ducks to be managed on your land, and you wish to manage them yourself rather than call on volunteer hunters, you need to hold a game hunting licence as a minimum. The normal fee is waived for you in this instance. All you need to do is submit an application form to DPI - you can do this online or by filling in a paper form.

Extra requirements for native game ducks

Before game hunting licence holders qualify to harvest game ducks on agricultural lands covered by a Native Game Bird Management (Owner/Occupier Licence), they must pass the Waterfowl Identification Test (WIT) and request they be endorsed for the program. This also applies to you if you wish to manage them yourself.

There are also special licence conditions for the program.

WIT fee waived for Native Game Bird Management (Owner/Occupier) Licence holders

Special provision is also made to waive the normal WIT fees for landholders holding a management licence. Contact the Native Game Bird Support Team on 02 6051 7772 or gamelicensing.southern@dpi.nsw.gov.au to find out when a WIT is scheduled near you.

In NSW, licensing and permits to manage kangaroos or native species other than game ducks are managed by the Office of Environment and Heritage (National Parks & Wildlife Service).

In August 2018, changes were made to non-commercial kangaroo management including initiatives to allow volunteer shooters to support landholders in drought.

What has changed?

  • Physical tags – no longer required.
  • More than two shooters may operate under a landholder licence at any time.
  • Shooters no longer need to be listed on the landholder’s licence at the time of application and only need to be listed on landholder licence returns after culling operations.
  • Carcasses may be removed for personal use (but not sold, swapped or traded).

Read a step-by-step guide to applying for a permit with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and to find volunteer shooters, on our kangaroo page.