Where can I hunt?

In NSW, you can hunt on private or public land, provided you hold an appropriate licence (where applicable) and if you have permission to hunt issued by the landholder or manager.

You do not need a licence if you wish to hunt rabbits, foxes, pigs, goats, deer, hares, feral cats or wild dogs (not dingo) on private land, just permission to hunt from the landowner or manager.

If you wish to hunt game birds (non-indigenous or native game birds) on private land, you must hold a hunting licence (either General or Restricted) unless you are exempt, as well as permission from the landowner or manager.

If you wish to hunt on public land, you must hold a Restricted licence. Once you are licensed, you are able to gain permission to hunt by logging in to the online licence holder services portal.

Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) holders must comply with conditions when they are granted permission to hunt in a NSW State forest. Read the permission conditions for hunting in NSW State forests. You must understand and comply with each condition as penalties may apply to breaches.

Hunting on public land

Public land that is declared for hunting under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 is then risk assessed and opened to hunters holding an R-Licence, if suitable.

State forests

There are over 2-million hectares of State forest in NSW, with many declared and open to licensed hunting.

State forests are working forests that must accommodate a range of recreational activities, primary production such as grazing and apiary, and timber harvesting alongside hunting. The Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) carefully balances community access and environmental management with operations to supply timber to the NSW economy; recreational hunting is a mutually beneficial part of this balance.

Jump to the State forest list

FCNSW has assessed each declared NSW State forest to decide whether it should be open to R-Licensed hunters. Declared forests are given a category indicating whether the forest will be open to all hunting bookings, open to certain types of hunting or closed to general hunting (except under special control arrangements).

We work with FCNSW to issue written permission to hunt on declared public land to eligible R-Licence holders.

A risk assessment evaluating the safety of hunting on public land was developed in 2005 by a stakeholder working group from government and non-government agencies. Since 2009, an annual review of the risk assessment is conducted at the end of each year. The assessment meets the Australian / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO31000:2009 Risk Management - Principles and Guidelines and the International Standard IEC/ISO 31010 Risk Management - Risk Assessment Techniques.

Forest categories

Declared State forests are made available under the following categories:

  • Category 1 - forest is open to online bookings 7 days-per-week
  • Category 2 - forest is open to online bookings 7 days-per-week, with a possible peak hunting period where the public is excluded from the forest
  • Category 3 - forest is open to online bookings weekends only - if a public holiday falls immediately before or after a weekend, it is classified as a weekend day
  • Category 4 - forest is open to online bookings 7 days-per-week for bow hunting only
  • Category 5 - closed to general hunting

The category of each forest is determined by FCNSW and can be changed at any time without notice. Online services will be updated within 24 hours of DPI receiving advice from FCNSW.

You must always check your written permission for the latest State forest access information as well as safety advisories and to ensure you have the current quarterly maps with your permission.

One clear day provision

The one clear day provision is a risk assessment control to assist FCNSW schedule work in and around forests where hunting occurs.

One full day must pass between the date a written permission is booked and the time when hunting can commence. For example, if you request written permission on Monday, the earliest you may start hunting is Wednesday.

The one day clear provision only applies to the first written permission issued every day for each State forest that is available for hunting. This means that if you request written permission on Monday and see that there is already a licence holder in that forest on that day, you may hunt from Monday instead of Wednesday as the one clear day has already been observed.

GPS requirement

R-Licence holders must carry an operational GPS-enabled device when hunting on State forests. This is a mandatory condition for public land hunting. The device can be a smartphone, tablet or specific GPS device.

Each licence holder must:

  • have their own GPS-device (except minor hunters, who must hunt in the company of a full licence holder) - groups of hunters cannot share a GPS-device
  • have the GPS-device in their possession at all times when hunting
  • ensure the GPS-device can locate their position at any time when hunting. This does not require hunters to have their GPS on constantly, but to be able to turn it on and locate their position at any time.

The GPS device must:

  • be able to display your location at all times when you are in the State forest specified on the written permission.
  • contain up-to-date map files showing boundaries and exclusion zones for the applicable forest – it's compulsory to download GPS map data of the forest you have booked.

GPS map downloads are available as:

  • Google Earth .kmz files
  • .pdf files.

Note, .img and .exe files are no longer provided due to functionality and display issues.

Access the hunting map GPS downloads through online licence holder services. You will need your R-Licence number and security PIN to access the online hunt booking system. Contact the DPI Hunting on 02 6363 7650 if you require your security PIN or use the 'Forgotten PIN' link.

DPI hunting maps are automatically available to licence holders using the Hunt NSW app when a written permission is booked. To access hunting maps outside of a hunt booking, you must access online licence holder services through a browser.

Find out more about downloading hunting map GPS files to your smartphone or GPS device.

Non-hunting companions

State forests are there for the whole community and you may have non-hunting companions with you while you hunt. However, unlicensed individuals must at no stage assist in the hunting of game animals by the licensed hunter.

Non-hunting companions must not be in possession of firearms, bows or any other equipment used for hunting including carrying any hunting equipment on behalf of a licensed hunter. Non-hunting companions are permitted to assist a licensed hunter to handle and carry harvested game animal carcasses.

Communicating while in a forest

Written permission holders are encouraged to monitor UHF channel 12 while hunting on declared public land and to use this channel to communicate with other written permission holders.

This is not a mandatory requirement and UHF channel 12 may not be monitored by DPI, Crown Lands, FCNSW or other agencies.

Which State forests can I hunt in?

The following map is for information only and does not constitute permission to hunt these areas.

Hunters who hold a NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence are eligible to apply for written permission to hunt on public land in the following forests.

Please note, if a forest has been declared but does not appear on the Google map it is not open to general hunting. This list is subject to frequent change; always check the current availability by logging in to online licence holder services.