FAQ Reopening of public land hunting in NSW

Why did you open forests now when we still can't travel?

On Friday 1 May 2020, the NSW Government started easing restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), acknowledging the efforts made by the NSW community that helped to flatten the curve.

Public land has reopened to hunters holding a NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) and a valid written permission issued by DPI. Many R-Licence holders live locally to declared State forests; opening access allows these hunters to exercise and obtain food while abiding by public health order guidelines.

Restrictions on gatherings and travel into regional areas continue to apply until Sunday 31 May 2020 and social distancing will continue to be a requirement to limit the presence of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in NSW.

Hunters are encouraged to download the federal government's COVID Safe app.

Does this mean I can travel outside my local area to access a State forest?

The restriction on travel into regional areas will be lifted from Monday 1 June 2020, however continues to apply until Sunday 31 May 2020, as do restrictions on gatherings. Measures such as social distancing will continue to apply at all times.

More information is available on the NSW Government website.

We encourage you to download the federal government's COVID Safe app.

Can I now hunt recreationally on private land outside my local area?

The restrictions on travel into regional areas will be lifted from Monday 1 June 2020, however continues to apply until Sunday 31 May 2020, as do restrictions on gatherings. While the regional travel restriction applies, hunting on private property is an allowable activity, provided you have permission to hunt from the landholder and are travelling in your local area.

Information about restrictions on travel into regional areas, gatherings and social distancing is available on the NSW Government website.

We encourage you to download the federal government's COVID Safe app.

I carry out paid pest control for landholders, can I still do this?

Yes, however the restriction on travel into regional areas remains until Sunday 31 May 2020. You may wish to contact the local police station for their advice on your specific circumstances.

We encourage you to download the federal government's COVID Safe app before travelling into rural or regional areas.

Why was hunting on public land suspended in the first place?

Hunters travelling to access public land posed a high risk of spreading COVID-19 (coronavirus) into rural and regional areas.

Hunters also tend to access more remote locations, and travel through regional areas, which was a potential burden on emergency services who were already stretched in their response to COVID-19.

Public land hunting was suspended on Monday 6 April 2020 to mitigate this risk and comply with the public health orders on non-essential travel.

Can I get an extension on my licence?

Yes, current NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licences (R-Licences) will be extended for four weeks to compensate hunters for the period State forest hunting was suspended. The licence extension will be automatically applied to all current R-Licences. The DPI Game Licensing Unit is progressing the legislative and administrative processes required for the extension; keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more information.

The extension can only be applied to current R-Licences. If your licence has expired or is close to expiry and you would like to receive the extension, you are encouraged to renew your licence.

R-Licences that have expired during the suspension period are eligible for a pro-rata refund from 6 April 2020 up to the licence expiry date.

I want a refund on my R-Licence. How do I go about it?

Only NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licences (R-Licences) that expired while public land hunting was suspended are eligible for a refund. The refund will be a pro-rata amount of the licence fee paid from Monday 6 April 2020 up to the licence expiry date.

The DPI Game Licensing Unit is progressing the legislative and administrative processes required for the refunds; keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more information.

Is camping now allowed?

On Wednesday 20 May 2020, the NSW Government announced that holiday travel restrictions will be lifted from Monday 1 June 2020, including that a number of caravan parks and camping grounds will open at that time.

However, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) public health order that closed sign-posted campgrounds in NSW State forests and national parks remains until Sunday 31 May 2020. Camping is allowed outside of these areas, however you must continue to abide by non-essential travel restrictions.

Until Sunday 31 May 2020, while there is no restriction on distances you may travel in NSW, travel into regional areas is still restricted. You may wish to contact the local police station for their advice on your specific circumstances.

What COVID-19 restrictions still apply to hunters?

Hunters must abide by all COVID-19 restrictions set out in the public health orders under the Public Health Act 2010, which includes restrictions on gatherings and travel into regional areas up to Sunday 31 May 2020 as well as keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and other people into the future.

Camping and picnic areas in NSW State forests where large groups may congregate remain closed until Sunday 31 May 2020. Visit the Forestry Corporation of NSW website for more information regarding camping in NSW State forests.

We encourage you to download the federal government's COVID Safe app.

I missed out on my balloted hunt due to the suspension. Can you transfer my place to next year?

The DPI Game Licensing Unit is investigating whether to transfer balloted hunts that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions. More information will be available soon.

Can a Victorian hunter now travel to hunt in NSW?

Interstate travellers are able to visit NSW for a holiday from Monday 1 June 2020. While the border between Victoria and NSW remains open, hunters located in Victoria must be aware of and abide by the travel restrictions that apply in that state, particularly when returning home. Travel into regional areas continues to be restricted in NSW.

Read more about rules for hunting in Victoria on the Victorian Game Management Authority website.

We encourage you to download the federal government's COVID Safe app.