Shooting a 12-year-old boy's kitten in a camping area has led to a conviction for a 76-year-old Christchurch man, and an expensive veterinarian's bill.

Charles Palmer appeared in the Oamaru District Court this week after being charged for using a Winchester .22 calibre rifle to shoot the kitten at Waitangi Camping Reserve at Lake Aviemore, on April 13 this year.

Palmer pleaded guilty to amended charges.

Palmer and his wife were camping in their mobile home and the family to whom the 7-month-old kitten, named Oscar, belonged, were also camping at the Aviemore camping reserve.

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Oscar was under Palmer's mobile home when he shot at it.

The bullet entered and left the kitten's right shoulder, leaving it with a "serious" large exit wound.

It ran and hid inside its family's caravan before being taken to a veterinary clinic in Oamaru, where it was tended to.

Palmer told the police he thought the kitten was feral and that he believed he had the right to shoot.

The court heard the camp site did not permit guns onsite.

He had apologised to the kitten's owner, was remorseful and paid Oscar's veterinary bill of $1413.99.

Judge Joanna Maze said it could be a very powerful thing for a 12-year-old child to see a mature man apologise.

Palmer was convicted and discharged.