Hunters heading into the bush for the roar this year are being reminded of the importance of preparations after a man and his dog were rescued from the Ruahine Range on Monday.
Safety will be paramount as more hunters are expected to take part after last year's season was cancelled because the country was in lockdown.
Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter general manager Ian Wilmot confirmed the crew picked up an uninjured hunter, and his dog, from the Ruahine Range near Tikokino late Monday morning.
The hunter was overdue by a day and his family had just spoken with police when he activated his personal locator beacon [PLB].
The crew "hover loaded" him and his dog into the chopper.
While uninjured, he had become disorientated and was checked over by paramedics during the flight.
"He'd been out for several days," Wilmot said.
"It's a good outcome."
Wilmot said there'd likely be a few more hunters picked up with the yearly hunting season just beginning.
He emphasised the importance of hunters having a PLB on their person and being prepared.
According to Mountain Safety Council data from 2019, 26 injuries were reported during the roar in Hawke's Bay, an increase on the 11 injuries and one search and rescue operation undertaken in 2018.
Jeremy Hanaray, owner of Rivers to Ranges Hastings, said the roar was definitely under way, and had started slightly earlier this year.
Last year there had been a downturn through most of April and he was hoping for a better season this year.
He expected plenty of people to get out there, adding more hunters had returned to New Zealand and others bored at home were looking for new hobbies.
"The safety side of it is going to have to be paramount.
"There's so many more people back in New Zealand and so many more people hunting than there have ever been."
Also a part-time hunting guide, Hanaray said hunters should be prepared and get organised with their gear.
Like Wilmot, he stressed the importance of having a PLB to hand with fresh batteries.
He also warned hunters to be mindful of poaching and poachers.
Hastings Deerstalkers' Association president Malcolm Ingpen agreed safety would be especially important this year as hunting was more popular.
His main message was: watch out for your mates.
"That's the biggest thing."
He said most accidental shooting incidents occurred when members of the same group became separated and targets were improperly identified.
Ingpen prefers wearing blue hunting clothing, as opposed to orange which can fade, to help avoid being targeted.
"It's not a colour you see in the bush very often."