Rules and regulations

Game and feral animal hunting in NSW is subject to regulations to ensure the safety of surrounding communities. Conditions that 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 Regulation sets out the mandatory conditions of all NSW Game Hunting Licences.

NSW DPI is responsible for enforcement of, and compliance with these conditions. Breaches of the regulations may result in serious penalties.

Additional conditions apply depending on whether you are hunting on public land or on private land, taking part in the NSW Native Game Bird Management Program and for other hunting programs.

Licensing

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.

Different licence types apply to different types of hunting. Some people may be exempt from the licensing requirement.

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).

Permission to hunt

A hunter must have permission from the owner or manager of the land they wish to hunt on, before entering that land to hunt.

For public land in NSW, DPI is able to grant written permission to hunters on behalf of other land managers.

Written permission for declared public land hunting

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. Compulsory GPS data downloads also form part of the written permission conditions.

Minor hunters

Minor hunters (over the age of 12 and under the age of 18) are able to apply for a Minors Game Hunting Licence. The licensed minor must hunt under the close personal supervision of a licensed person who is at least 18 years old. The minor hunter must also hold the same type of licence as the supervising adult hunter.

Minor hunters are not eligible to hold a hunting guide, commercial or professional hunting licence.

Minors using firearms

If a minor hunter is using firearms, they must hold a Minors Firearms Training Permit as well as a Minors Game Hunting Licence. Minor's firearms permits are issued by the NSW Police Force Firearms Registry.


Game animal regulations

Special conditions apply to game hunting licence holders when hunting deer or other game animals in NSW.

State-wide suspension of certain regulations for hunting wild deer

To minimise the impacts of abundant wild deer herds across the State, some of the deer hunting regulations have been suspended. The current suspension applies across all of NSW for a period of three years.

Deer hunting rules from November 2018

The following deer hunting rules apply from 16 November 2018 through to 15 November 2021.

More information about the new rules can be found on the Managing wild deer in NSW page.

RulePrivate landPublic land 
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 Hunters Code of PracticeYesYes 
May hunt all deer species all year-roundYesYesLegal season for fallow, red, wapiti and hog deer lifted
May use a 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 a motor vehicleYesNoNot suspended on public land due to public safety issues

Other special conditions for deer hunting include:

  • dogs may only be used to locate, point or flush deer and must not chase the deer. Scent trailing hounds are not permitted to be used in NSW
  • a person hunting alone may use one dog to hunt deer or a group may use up to two dogs to hunt deer.

Release of game animals

It is illegal to release game animals for the purpose of hunting.

Game bird regulations

When hunting game birds, hunters must not use:

  • baits, lures, decoys or live animals (except artificial callers, planted crops and any decoy made to resemble a game bird or a call resembling that of a game bird)
  • an aircraft, watercraft or motor vehicle.

Other special conditions on game bird hunting include:

  • Dogs may only be used to locate, point, flush or retrieve.
  • Dogs may be used in a field trial conducted by a hunting club or organisation approved by DPI.

Hunting with dogs

All dogs being used to hunt must:

  • wear a collar which has a metal tag or label attached with the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the dog
  • be microchipped
  • not chase any other species of animal.

These requirements are in addition to the special conditions for hunting deer and other game animals using dogs.

Using dogs to hunt pigs on public land

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:

  • dogs must only locate, bail or hold pigs - they must not be allowed to maul or kill pigs and hunters must take all necessary steps to ensure that their dogs do not inflict unnecessary pain on the pig
  • a licence holder hunting alone must not use more than three dogs for locating, holding or bailing pigs
  • a group of licence holders must not use more than five dogs for locating, holding or bailing pigs
  • dogs must be microchipped, wearing a collar with a metal tag or label attached which shows the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the dog, and must be wearing a radio tracking collar or be on a lead
  • the licence holder using the dog must ensure it does not chase any other species of animal
  • the licence holder must not leave or abandon the dog on public land.

Code of Practice

The Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 sets out a Code of Practice for licensed hunters. The code is mandatory and penalties may apply for non-compliance.