Permission conditions: hunting in NSW State forests

Written Permission conditions have changed

All NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence holders must read, understand and comply with the updated public land hunting conditions, which are effective from Tuesday 22 September 2020.


Only Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) holders are eligible to hunt on public land in NSW.

Follow these steps to get licensed and hunt on public land in NSW:

  1. Obtain an R-Licence
  2. Watch the public land hunting video tutorial and complete the declaration
  3. Apply for written permission to hunt
  4. Download maps showing hunting zones and exclusion zones to your GPS-enabled device
  5. 'Print' your written permission - you may carry either a physical or digital written permission with you while hunting
  6. Read, understand and comply with all the conditions that apply to hunting in NSW.

Written permission conditions for hunting NSW State forests

You must comply with the following general written permission conditions each time you enter a State forest under the terms of your R-Licence and written permission issued by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Breaching any of these conditions is an offence and a range of penalties apply.

Read some frequently asked questions about the updated conditions.


1.Interference with forestry operations You must not interfere with or impede any forestry operations when you are hunting in the State forest.
2.Signs, notices and barriers You must obey the directions of any sign, notice or barrier encountered when hunting in the State forest.

You must not remove or deface any sign, notice or barrier placed in the State forest.
3.Rights of other users You must not obstruct or impede the right of any other person who is lawfully using the State forest while you are hunting.
4.Written permission details You must not provide false information when applying for your written permission.

You may only hunt in accordance with the information you provided during your written permission application (this includes details of vehicles and dogs).

If the details listed on your written permission change before your hunt, you must amend your written permission with the new information and download an updated version.
5.Intention to hunt You must not obtain a written permission unless you intend to hunt on the dates you have selected for the permission.

If you are unable to hunt on the dates of a written permission you have been issued, you must amend or cancel your written permission.
6.Forest closures You must not hunt in the State forest during a forest closure. It’s your responsibility to know whether there is a forest closure in force before you hunt. This information is available on the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) website (www.forestrycorporation.com.au/visit/closures).
7.FiresTotal fire bans
You must not hunt in the State forest during a Total Fire Ban in that region. It’s your responsibility to know whether there is a Total Fire Ban in force in that region before you hunt. This information is available on the Rural Fire Service website (www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fdr-and-tobans).

Solid fuel fire bans
You must not use a solid fuel fire if a solid fuel fire ban is in force for that State forest. It’s your responsibility to know whether there is a solid fuel fire ban in place. This information is available on the FCNSW website (www.forestrycorporation.com.au/visit/solid-fuel-fire-bans).
8.Possession of firearms and hunting equipment in State forests Your written permission allows you to be in possession of hunting equipment in the State forest that your permission is issued for. You may legally have your hunting equipment in that forest from one whole day before your permission starts, through to one whole day after your permission ends, provided the hunting equipment is stored and not readily accessible.

Your written permission authorises you to hunt using specific methods in each State forest. The hunting equipment in your possession must match the categories approved on your R-Licence as well as the hunting methods approved on your written permission.

To possess and use a firearm in a State forest, you must hold a current firearms licence issued by your state agency that is endorsed for the category of firearm you are using. To possess and use a firearm in a State forest, your R-Licence must be endorsed for the 'firearms' category.

You must not possess firearms and/ or hunting equipment (including bows, traps, nets, snares, poisons, explosives, spears and other hunting devices) in a State forest unless you have written permission to hunt using that equipment in that State forest at that time.

You must not allow any person who does not have a written permission to hunt in the State forest to take possession of your firearms, bows or hunting equipment whilst you are in the State forest.
9.Transportation and storage of firearms in State forests
When not actively hunting and not in your immediate possession all firearms must be stored in accordance with the following provisions:
- Firearms must be locked away (either in a locked vehicle or other locked storage device) and not readily accessible.
- All reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that firearms are stored in such a way so that they cannot be lost or stolen.
- Firearms must not be accessible to any person who does not have written permission to hunt using firearms in the State forest.
- Firearms must not be accessible to any person who does not have a firearms licence or permit authorising them to be in possession of a firearm.

When transporting or conveying a firearm in a motor vehicle (including a motorbike):
- Firearms must not be loaded with any ammunition (this includes any magazine that is fitted to the firearm).
- Firearms must not be visible from outside the vehicle.
- All ammunition (including any detachable magazine loaded with ammunition) must be stored in a locked receptacle, separate to the firearm.
10.Transportation and storage of bows and other hunting equipment in State forests When not actively hunting and not in your immediate possession all bows and hunting equipment:
- Must be locked away (either in a locked vehicle or other locked storage device) and not readily accessible.
- Must not be accessible to any person who does not have written permission to hunt using that equipment in the State forest.
11.Hunting areas and exclusion zones
You may only hunt on land that is identified as a hunting area on your DPI hunting map. These maps may also specify the methods allowed in specific hunting areas of the State forest. You must not hunt in areas marked as exclusion zones.

General hunting exclusion zones
General hunting exclusion zones are marked on your written permission and DPI hunting map as areas where hunting is not permitted.

You are allowed to travel through a general hunting exclusion zone if you hold a written permission. Before traversing the exclusion zone, all firearms must be unloaded and ammunition stored separately from the firearm, arrows must be placed in an appropriate container and all hunting dogs must be restrained or confined.

Total public exclusion zones
Total public exclusion zones are marked on your written permission and DPI hunting map as areas where hunting is not permitted. FCNSW also places signs at each road entrance into a total public exclusion zone. The signs advise that only authorised people are able to enter those areas.

You must not enter or travel through a total public exclusion zone at any time.

Temporary hunting exclusion zones and other sign−posted area
Temporary hunting exclusion zones may not be identified on your written permission or DPI hunting map. They will be identified by signs erected by FCNSW. You must observe all temporary exclusion zone signs and must not hunt in that zone. All FCNSW operational signage must be adhered to as well.

You are allowed to travel through a temporary hunting exclusion zone or other sign-posted area. Before traversing the exclusion zone, all firearms must be unloaded and ammunition stored separately from the firearm, arrows must be placed in an appropriate container and all hunting dogs must be restrained or confined.

Infrastructure and asset exclusions
Infrastructure and asset exclusions may not be identified on your written permission or DPI hunting map.

You must not hunt within 100 metres of any occupied residence, dwelling, fire tower or building located in the State forest or located on land neighbouring the State forest.

You must not hunt within 100 metres of any radio tower, transmission tower, quarry or pump house located in the State forest.
12.Day-time hunting You may only hunt using a firearm or bow during day-time, being from 30 minutes before sunrise through to 30 minutes after sunset.

You may hunt with a dog during day-time only if ‘dogs (day-time)’ is specified as an available hunting method on your written permission.
13.Night-time hunting (dogs only) You may hunt with a dog during night-time only if ‘dogs (night-time)’ is specified as an available hunting method on your written permission.

When hunting with dogs at night you must attach a form of illumination to each free ranging hunting dog.

You must not use any spot or search light from a moving vehicle when hunting at night.

Firearms and bows are not permitted to be used when hunting with dogs at night. Firearms and bows must be locked away and not readily accessible at all times when you are hunting with dogs at night.
14.Mandatory use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) device You must carry an operational Global Positioning System (GPS) device at all times while hunting in the State forest. 

Minor hunters (under 18 years of age) are exempt from this requirement as they must hunt in the company of an adult licence holder who must carry a GPS. 

Your GPS device must be loaded with current maps that show the hunting and exclusion zones for the area you are hunting, downloaded from the DPI website. 

You must be able to show your current position on the device at all times while hunting.
15.Blaze orange clothing You must wear an item of blaze orange at all times while hunting in the State forest.

The item must be worn externally on the upper part of your body and must be visible from all sides.

The blaze orange item can be a: 
- hat
- beanie
- shirt
- jumper
- jacket
- vest
- buff/neck warmer.
16.Hunting from vehicles You must not hunt with a firearm or bow from a vehicle in the State forest.

If using a dog to hunt from a motor vehicle (including motorbike) in the State forest you must tether, cage or otherwise restrain the dog when the vehicle is moving.
17.Use of vehicles
You must not drive or park unregistered vehicles (including motorcycles and ATV’s) in a State forest at any time.

Unregistered vehicles must not be used for hunting in a State forest at any time. Unless otherwise sign-posted, you must not exceed 60 km/h when driving a motor vehicle (including a motorbike) in a State forest on any sealed or unsealed road.
18.Sighting in and target practice You must not sight-in or target practice with firearms or archery equipment in the State forest. This includes shooting at clay targets, trees, signs or other objects.
19.Tree stands You must not use a tree stand for hunting in a State forest.
20.Use of bait to hunt You must not lay any bait, grain, fruit, food product, mineral block, meat, animal carcass, other matter, other substance or other attractant to assist in the hunting of an animal in the State forest.
21.Use of drones You are permitted to use drones to assist in hunting in the State forest.

When using a drone for hunting in the State forest you must operate in accordance with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) licensing and regulations.

You must not fly a drone within 200 metres of a harvesting operation or interfere with any other forestry management operations when hunting in the State forest.

You must not fly within 5 nautical miles of any fire or other emergency service operation.

You must not harass, impede or unnecessarily disturb any other hunter, State forest user or forest neighbour when using a drone to hunt in the State forest.
22.1080 wild dog and fox poison 1080 wild dog and fox poison baits may be present in the State forest at any time.

Hunters must not interfere with any 1080 baits or equipment whilst hunting in the State forest.

Hunting with dogs is permitted in the State forest at the hunters’ own risk.
23.Livestock on public land Domestic stock (including ear−tagged goats and pigs) may be present in declared hunting areas. Livestock must not be harassed, harmed or unnecessarily disturbed.
24.Rubbish and toilet waste You must keep all rubbish in a container or bag when hunting in a State forest. You must take all rubbish with you when leaving the State forest.

Toilet waste and toilet paper may be left in the State forest but only if you dig a hole and bury all toilet waste and toilet paper to a depth of at least 15 centimetres.
25.Mandatory harvest return You must submit a harvest return for each written permission you are issued within 30 days of the expiry of the permission.

Harvest returns can be lodged using online licence holder services.

Failure to submit a harvest return may lead to suspension from the written permission booking system or further penalties.

You must not provide false information on your harvest return.

Frequently asked questions

The general written permission conditions were endorsed during the 2020 Forestry Corporation of NSW hunting risk assessment review and are effective from Tuesday 22 September 2020.

The revised conditions are designed to support safe and responsible hunting on public land in NSW and many updates are based on NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) holder feedback. No legislation has changed and hunters must continue to comply with all related legislation.

All R-Licence holders need to be aware of the updated general written permission conditions and comply with them each time they hunt in an NSW State forest, as well as all licence conditions and conditions specific to the forest being hunted. Breaching any of these conditions is an offence and penalties may apply.

The updated permission conditions clearly set out the rules that you need to comply with while hunting on public land.

It’s each hunter’s responsibility to be aware of and comply with all legislation and conditions that apply to their chosen activity. Ensure you read, understand and comply with the general written permission conditions above. You can also find more information that may apply to your hunt through the following links.

Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002

Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012

Code of practice for hunters

Several changes have been made for licence holders targeting pigs at night using dogs:

  • requirement to hunt in pairs removed
  • restriction on hunting equipment in vehicles removed
  • requirement to carry a UHF removed.

Please ensure you read the general written permission conditions carefully and ensure you comply with all conditions while hunting.

Yes, please read the general written permission conditions carefully and ensure you comply with all conditions while hunting.

Upgrades to the Online Licence Holder Services portal mean that you can now quickly amend a written permission with new dates, or to a new area, even after the permission has commenced.

You can also submit a harvest return at any time after the permission has started. Simply enter '0' days hunting if you are unable to attend. Once submitted, your place will become available for other hunters to book.

Each R-Licence holder may book two concurrent hunts, each for up to seven days. You may wish to read the frequently asked questions about Online Licence Holder Services for more information.