Mallard duck
Image: Andrew Walmsley | ©


You need a game bird licence from Fish & Game New Zealand and a game hunting permit from DOC to hunt game birds on public conservation land.

Waterfowl, including paradise shelduck, mallard, grey and shoveler duck and black swan can be hunted in DOC-managed areas. Upland game such as pheasant and quail can also be hunted.

Search DOC-managed areas you can hunt game birds

To hunt game birds on public conservation land, you need both:

  • a game bird licence from Fish & Game New Zealand, and
  • a game bird hunting permit from DOC

Game birds are managed by Fish & Game New Zealand, while the habitat that game bird hunting occurs on is managed by DOC.

To hunt game birds on your own property, Fish & Game New Zealand has more information.

Hunting game birds on your own property.

Game bird licence

Licences for hunting game birds are issued by Fish & Game New Zealand.

Purchase a game bird licence from the Fish & Game New Zealand website.

You'll receive a copy of the Game Bird Hunting Guide with your licence. This provides you with information about the hunting seasons and bag limits for each species, maps and much more. It is an essential companion to your hunting licence.

Note, there are six separate regions in the North Island and six in the South Island. Each have their own regulations to comply with. Check the regulations for the region you're hunting in, before you go hunting.

Game bird hunting permit

In addition to the game bird licence you need a separate game bird hunting permit to hunt on public conservation land.

These permits are for specific areas and periods and are issued through the DOC office closest to the hunting area.

Check with the issuing office if the construction of maimai (a hunters' hut) is permitted and if so, under what conditions.

Canada geese

Canada geese have been moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife Act 1953. This means the species is no longer managed by Fish and Game councils, and is now “not protected” (note this does not mean “pest”).

Anyone can hunt or kill geese at any time of year without a need for a game licence. Hunters wanting to hunt geese on conservation land still need to obtain a hunting permit. Hunting of Canada geese is covered by a small game hunting permit.

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