Hunters' Code of Practice

Licensed hunters in NSW must follow a mandatory Code of Practice to ensure ethical, safe and responsible hunting takes place. The code is part of the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012, and is a legally binding condition of a game hunting licence in NSW. Breaches of the code result in heavy penalties.

Hunting organisations are encouraged to adopt the Code of Practice as their own.

The mandatory provisions of the Code of Practice are as follows:

Awareness of relevant legislation

It is your responsibility as a licence holder to be aware of and comply with all relevant legislation relating to hunting, animal welfare and the use of firearms.

Safe handling of firearms

If you are using firearms, you must comply with the rules for safe handling, set out in the NSW Firearms Safety Awareness handbook, at all times.

Permission required to enter land

Your licence does not automatically authorise you to hunt on any land. You must not hunt on any land unless you hold the express authority (permission) of the landowner.

Target identification and safety

You must not fire at a game or pest animal unless it can be clearly seen and identified. The shot taken must not pose any discernible risk of injury to any person or damage to any property.

Obligation to avoid suffering

An animal being hunted must not be inflicted with unnecessary pain. To achieve a humane death, you must:

  • target the animal so that a humane kill is likely
  • shoot within the reasonably accepted killing range of the firearm, ammunition or bow
  • always use hunting equipment (firearm and ammunition, bow and arrow), that can be reasonably expected to humanely kill the animal you are targeting.

Lactating female with dependent young

If you harvest a lactating female, every reasonable effort must be made to locate and kill any dependent young.

Wounded animals

If an animal is wounded, you must take all reasonable steps to locate it so that it can be killed quickly and humanely.

Use of dogs

Dogs and other animals may be used by you while hunting, but only if: