A duck hunter has admitted accidentally shooting his wife at their Queenstown home.

The man, who has interim name suppression, appeared in the Queenstown District Court this morning charged with careless use of a firearm causing bodily injury.

His wife, who spent two weeks recovering in Dunedin Hospital, sat beside him in the public gallery before the case was called.

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin told the court the man had been refamiliarising himself with his Browning Maxus 12-gauge shotgun in his garage on April 10, ahead of the duck-shooting opening weekend in May.

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"In explanation, the defendant said he thought he had handled that particular firearm only once before.''

Sgt Collin said the man holds a current New Zealand firearms licence and the gun was stored in a safe.

The court heard the man loaded the weapon with shells and believed he had then completely unloaded it. But as he began to dismantle it, it fired.

"He stated he must have had his finger on the trigger.''

Sgt Collin said unbeknown to the man, his wife had entered the garage through the access door and come around their car.

She was shot. The distance away she was or the number of pellets which hit her were not mentioned in court.

The man helped his wife and called an ambulance. He spoke to police and then went to be with her in hospital.

"He was extremely remorseful and shocked.''

The man pleaded guilty to the charge but a conviction was not entered. Lawyer Louise Denton said she intended to apply for a discharge without conviction.

The man's name and occupation have been suppressed on the grounds he would experience undue hardship were the details made public.

The discharge without conviction application was due to be heard on June 12. The man has been remanded at large.