The hunter alleged to have killed a young soldier in the Ruahine Ranges will not enter a plea until a forensic optometrist has completed a report.

Gary Bruce McCurrach, who faces a charge of careless use of a 308 rifle causing the death of 23-year-old Danny Jordan on March 31 this year, appeared at Hastings District Court yesterday morning and was supported by his family.

The 58-year-old Hastings man faces two more charges- careless use of a firearm causing injury to another man, and unlawful hunting.

McCurrach's lawyer sought a three-week remand so he could get a forensic optometrist's report before his client entered his plea.


Police allege Gary McCurrach shot and killed Jordan, a soldier based at Linton Military Camp, while he was sitting down in open bush.

Mr Jordan was resting with two friends on the Sparrowhawk bivouac track when he was allegedly shot by the experienced hunter, who was in a separate hunting group.

A dog was also hit by fragments of bullets.

The maximum penalty for causing bodily injury by carelessly using a firearm and causing death in the same way is three years' imprisonment or a fine of $4000.

McCurrach has been remanded on bail until he returns to court next month.

The New Zealand Police website states the firearms control laws address safety and security.

"New Zealanders are outdoors-oriented and as a result we have a very high level of firearm ownership and use," the website says.

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council teaches all firearm licence applicants how to handle firearms safely and responsibly.

The Arms Code was first published in 1975, and more detailed information can be found in the Arms Act 1983 and the Arms Regulations 1992.

Police urge firearm owners to keep their Arms Code handy and use it to refresh their memories of basic rules.

"The ownership and use of firearms is not an automatic right. It is a privilege."

The Mountain Safety Council says every firearm should be treated as loaded and always pointed in a safe direction.

Firearms should only be loaded when ready to fire and unloaded before leaving the shooting area.

Hunters must always identify their target "beyond all doubt" and be mindful that movement, colour, sound and shape can be deceptive. "Assume colour, shape, sound and shape to be human until proven otherwise."

Firing zones must be checked and shooters need to consider what might happen if the target is missed, the council states.