A hunter has been rescued in Hawke's Bay after spending a night in the forest.

The 62-year-old was overdue from a hunting trip at Kuripapango, in the Kaweka Forest yesterday.

He was reported missing to police at 9.30 last night and a search and rescue party was sent out early this morning.

Police said the hunter was found about midday by the Ngaruroro River and was airlifted out by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter service.

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A spokeswoman for the Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust said: "He was located in a riverbed after becoming lost with a slight leg injury, also wet and cold from a night out in the open.''

Detective senior sergeant Martin James said when he was found, the man was tired and other than the injury to his leg, was unharmed.

"The hunter did everything right after finding himself trapped by dangerously high river levels,'' James said.

"He stayed put and didn't try to cross the river as he understood the risk that it presented.''

James said if the hunter had had an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, they would have been able to locate him last night.

"Police would like to thank the Landsar volunteers and the Hawke's Bay Helicopter Rescue Trust for their expertise and support of the operation.''