Permission conditions: hunting in NSW State forests

Only NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) holders are eligible to hunt in declared State forests.

Follow these steps to get licensed and hunt in NSW State forests:

  1. Obtain an R-Licence
  2. Complete two online education courses - written permission conditions and navigation
  3. Read and acknowledge your understanding of a brief about signs you may see in a forest
  4. Apply for written permission to hunt
  5. Download maps showing hunting zones and exclusion zones to your GPS-enabled device
  6. Print your written permission and area maps in colour
  7. Read the special forest conditions and sign your written permission
  8. Read, understand and abide by the following conditions that apply to all hunting in NSW State forests.

You must observe the following conditions each time you hunt on a State forest in NSW. Breaching any of these conditions is an offence. A range of penalties apply to breaches of licence conditions.

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.
Blaze orange clothing You must wear an item of blaze orange at all times while hunting. The item must be worn externally, on the upper part of your body and can be a:
  • hat
  • beanie
  • shirt
  • jumper
  • jacket
  • vest.
Sighting in and target practice You are not permitted to sight-in or target practice with firearms, clay targets or archery equipment in State forests.
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 a State forest.

Minor hunters 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 DPI.

You must be able to show your current position on the device at all times while hunting.

Possession of firearms and hunting equipment in State forests

Your written permission authorises you to hunt using specific methods in each State forest. It also allows you to be in possession of hunting equipment in the State forest that your permission is issued for. The hunting equipment in your possession must match the methods allowable in the forest you are in and also the categories on your R-Licence.

You are not allowed to 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.

Your hunting equipment must be locked away and not readily accessible at times when you are not hunting. You must not carry loaded firearms in your vehicle.

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 it is stored and not readily accessible.

The hunting equipment you carry must relate to your approved R-Licence categories as well as the methods allowed in that forest.

Exclusion zones You may only hunt on land that is identified as a hunting area on your written permission or GPS maps.

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 GPS maps 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 GPS maps as areas where hunting is not permitted.

The Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) 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 may not enter or travel through a Total Public Exclusion Zone at any time.

Temporary hunting exclusion zones and other sign−posted areas
Temporary hunting exclusion zones may not be identified on your written permission or GPS maps. 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.

Fires

You must not hunt a State forest during a Total Fire Ban.

It’s your responsibility to know whether there is a Total Fire Ban in force before you hunt.

This information is available on the Rural Fire Service website rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Bans on solid fuel fires are in force in all areas, including camping grounds, when signs are displayed at State forest entrances.

Hunting from vehicles All firearm and bow hunting must be conducted on foot.
Hunting times You may hunt using a firearm or bow from 30 minutes before sunrise through to 30 minutes after sunset.
Hunting pigs at night with dogs

Certain State forests permit pig hunting with dogs at night. When you book a forest that allows night-time pig dog hunting, you will need to tick a box in the booking system to indicate you will be hunting at night. Written permissions also indicate whether hunting pigs at night is allowed.

Special regulations apply to hunting pigs with dogs at night, for the period 30 minutes after sunset through to 30 minutes before sunrise.

  • Hunters must operate as a team, with a minimum of two hunters who each hold a Restricted licence and written permission to hunt.
  • Hunters must carry a torch, UHF radio and GPS loaded with current mapping data.
  • A form of illumination must be attached to each hunting dog.
  • No firearms are to be carried on the hunt (including in the vehicle).
  • No spotlights (an artificial light source powered by 4.5 volts or more) may be used on the hunt.
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.
Rubbish and toilet waste All rubbish is to be kept in a container or bag and must be taken out of the written permission area when leaving. All toilet waste and toilet paper must be buried to a depth of at least 15 centimetres.
Mandatory hunter return You must submit a Hunter Return for each written permission you are issued within 30 days of the expiry of the permission.

Hunter Returns can be lodged using online licence holder services. Failure to submit a Hunter Return may lead to suspension from the written permission booking system or further penalties.
Use of vehicles

It is an offence to drive or park unregistered vehicles (including motor cycles and ATV’s) on State forests.

Unregistered vehicles must not be used for hunting or taken into State forest areas.

A 60 km/h speed limit applies in all State forests.

Tree stands Tree stands must not be used on public land.