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 2022. In particular, Schedule 2 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.

On this page:

Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2022

In September 2022, the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2022 was published to the NSW legislation website and is now in force.

This web page contains all the changes and up to date rules from the remade Regulation.

The Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 is the framework for regulated hunting in NSW. The Regulation sets out administrative arrangements and other matters to support implementation of the Act.

The Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2022 (GFAC 2022) contains only minor amendments compared to the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012. GFAC 2022 provides for a responsible hunting sector, clarifies or modernises regulatory requirements and reflects contemporary legal drafting practices.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the public consultation period between Tuesday 14 June and Tuesday 12 July 2022.

The public consultation collected feedback from a wide range of voices interested in hunting legislation and reflected the variety of views. We note that some stakeholders raised concerns with some proposals. Through feedback, we also identified some policy and implementation items that require further consideration and consultation, and therefore were not suitable to progress as part of this process.

The NSW Government considered all feedback received by the deadline from the public consultation on the draft regulation in formulating GFAC 2022.

The 2022 Regulation has been modified from the draft regulation that went to public consultation. The NSW Government may consider options that had reasonable stakeholder interest in future regulation reform packages. The feedback we received will be valuable into the future as we consider further options to enhance the safe operation of hunting in NSW.

Download a summary table that compares the 2012 Regulation with the 2022 Regulation (PDF, 170.25 KB).

What's changed?

Licence applications

  • Section 21(3(d) of the Act allows the regulation to prescribe circumstances where the Regulatory Authority must refuse to grant a game hunting licence. Specific offences have been added to section 16 of the Regulation 2022 – grounds for refusal of a licence. These offences are in addition to the general refusal offences in the Act (including offences involving cruelty or harm to animals, personal violence, damage to property or unlawful entry into land).
  • A section relating to suspending or cancelling game hunting licences was created to ensure appropriate oversight of game hunting licence holders during the term of their licence, including a fit and proper person provision.

Read more on the licence declarations for more information.

Native game bird management

  • The maximum term of a Native Game Bird Management (Owner/Occupier) Licence has been reduced to one year. This allows licensing and species allocations to occur simultaneously and will reduce red tape for agricultural landholders needing help to manage native game bird species.

General hunting requirements

  • The requirements for R-Licence hunters to submit a harvest return within 30 days of hunting on public land and a prohibition on hunting from a motor vehicle and using attractants are now part of the Regulation, instead of written permission conditions.
  • Where a hunter requires supervision for public land hunting, both the hunter and supervisor are required to hold written permission issued by NSW DPI.
  • Motorised wheelchairs, used by a person who has a disability that prevents them from hunting on foot, are now exempt from the motor vehicle definition, allowing motorised wheelchairs to be used. The clause now covers the entire public hunting area, rather than just on or across a road.
  • Clauses relating to deer hunting, that are unnecessary now that no licence is required to hunt deer on private land, have been removed. This includes the prohibition on using electronic devices to target deer. R-Licence holders may use electronic devices while hunting any species on public land, however hunting using firearms or bows is restricted to daylight hours in the written permission conditions.
  • The clauses relating to use of dogs while hunting have been combined and simplified, and the requirements for identification as set out in the Companion Animals Act 1998 (e.g. microchipping) have been included. A redundant clause relating to use of dogs in field trials has been removed. Please note, this does not limit the use of dogs in field trials, which remains a legal activity.
  • The offence relating to a taxidermist recording legal harvest details has not changed; however, it can now be dealt with via a Penalty Infringement Notice. Previously, this offence had to be prosecuted in court. The offence only applies to native and non-indigenous game birds.

Code of practice

  • The NSW Game Hunting Licence Code of Practice is a standalone Code and no longer part of the Regulation. The nature, intent and legislative duties placed on hunters through the Code of Practice have not changed. Only minor revisions were made to ensure the code satisfies the current regulatory environment and meets modern drafting standards. The code continues to be a mandatory and enforceable condition of all game hunting licences.

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General requirements


Hunters are required to hold a valid hunting licence if they are hunting on public land, or if they are hunting native or non-indigenous game birds 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.

Game hunting licence holders must carry their 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 licence holder loses, damages or misplaces their licence they can apply for a new one (fees apply).

Hunters under 18 years

Individuals over the age of 12 and under the age of 18 can apply for a standard game hunting licence, however they must hunt under the close personal supervision of a licensed person who is at least 18 years old.

Both the young hunter and supervising hunter must hold a licence (of the same type with the same endorsements) as well as written permission to hunt, however only the supervising hunter is required to carry a GPS device.

Individuals under 18 years are not eligible to hold a hunting guide or commercial hunter's licence.

Using firearms on public land

Anyone who seeks to use a firearm on public land must hold a NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence with the firearms category as well as a firearms licence issued by an Australian state or territory agency.

If a hunter under 18 years is using a firearm, they must hold a Minors Firearms Training Permit as well as a game hunting licence. Minor's firearms permits are issued by the NSW Police Force Firearms Registry.

Hunting of game fleeing from fire or smoke

A hunter must not hunt a game animal that is fleeing from fire or smoke, or light a fire for the purpose of flushing out or hunting a game animal.

Professional licence holders are exempt from this clause.

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Hunting on declared public land

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 issues written permission to game hunting licence holders on behalf of other land managers such as the Forestry Corporation of NSW.

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 certain public lands.

A copy of the written permission to hunt must be carried at all times when hunting (either digitally or physically) 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.

Harvest returns

Following a hunt on declared public land, licence holders are required to submit a harvest return within 30 days. Harvest returns help DPI monitor hunter effort as well as diseases in animals and other notifications.


The following must not be used while hunting animals on declared public land:

  • bait
  • grain, fruit, meat or other food product
  • mineral block
  • animal carcass
  • another attractant.

Prohibition on motor vehicles

Motor vehicles must not be used to hunt, or to cause, permit or assist in the hunting of a game animal, on declared public hunting land. However, this rule does not apply if a dog is being used to search for game while it is tied up, caged or otherwise restrained.

A motor vehicle is defined as a vehicle that is propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle. However, this definition does not include a motorised wheelchair that is used by a person with a disability that prevents them from hunting on foot.

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Game animal regulations

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

Special provisions relating to game birds

When hunting game birds, licence holders must not use:

  • an aircraft, watercraft or motor vehicle (however commercial and professional hunters are exempt from this clause)
  • baits, lures or decoys (except planted crops, decoys that represent game birds or callers that represent a game bird) (professional hunters are exempt from this clause).

Special conditions relating to native game birds

Hunters must have permission from a Native Game Bird Management (Owner/Occupier) Licence holder to be able to hunt native game birds on the licence holder's land.

Where a hunter has permission, they must comply with species allocations that are attached to the landholder's licence as well as any instructions of the property owner.

Hunting native game birds at night

Native game birds must not be hunted at night, unless:

  • a light of sufficient brightness is used, that enables the hunter to clearly see and identify the species of native game bird being hunting, and
  • the native game birds are in the immediate vicinity of, or are reasonably likely to adversely impact, a planted crop.

Commercial and professional licence holders are exempt from this clause.

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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 is legibly printed
  • be microchipped
  • be on a lead or wearing a radio tracking collar that is switched on and shows the position of the dog
  • not be left or abandoned on public land.

These requirements are in addition to the special conditions for hunting pigs and other game animals using dogs as well as the requirements of the Game Hunting Licence Code of Practice and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.

Using dogs to hunt pigs

If a person is hunting pigs using a dog:

  • the dog may only be used to locate, hold or bail the pigs
  • if a person is hunting alone - no more than three dogs may be used
  • if a person is hunting as part of a group - no more than five dogs are used.

Hunters targeting pigs using dogs at night on public land must also comply with the written permission conditions.

Using dogs to hunt game birds

A person targeting native or non-indigenous game birds may only use a dog to locate, flush, point or retrieve the birds.

Using dogs to hunt deer

If a person is hunting deer using a dog:

  • the dog may only be used to dog to locate, point or flush deer
  • if a person is hunting alone - no more than one dog may be used
  • if a person is hunting as part of a group - no more than two dogs are used.

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