An elderly farmer has been shot at by a group "spotlighting" on his central North Island property early today.

Police said they were called to the Turakina Valley Rd property near Hunterville after a farmer in his 70s said he had been shot at with a hunting rifle at 1am.

The farmer said he had a gun turned on him by people "spotlighting" on the back of a ute on his property near McLeays and Mangatipona roads.

He was not injured and his vehicle was not hit.

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Police said the spotlighters left the property but the farmer was able to give police a good description of the vehicle.

Later in the morning police stopped a ute matching the description in Levin about 90km south of the Rangitikei farm.

Three people in the ute were arrested.

A 20-year-old and two 19-year-olds were due to appear in the Levin District Court tomorrow charged with firearms offences.