A man who shot his friend in the elbow on the first day of duck shooting season has avoided prison time.
Cameron King was on a shooting expedition with friends on private property near Masterton on May 2 when the incident took place.
He was charged with causing bodily injury by careless use of a firearm.
The 44-year-old, who had known the victim since primary school, had earlier pleaded guilty, with his lawyer saying he was "very sorry" for what happened.
At Manukau District Court this afternoon, King was sentenced to six months community detention and 200 hours of community work.
He was also ordered to pay $3000 in reparation to the victim, who is unlikely to ever recover the full use of his arm.
The pair were in a hideout on a Wairarapa property shooting ducks when another in the party spied a flock of ducks coming within range.
They failed to successfully shoot any of the ducks and as they turned to leave King's gun went off.
He had forgotten to put the safety back on, and the shot hit his friend in the elbow.
His lawyer Paul Borich argued it was on the lower end of the carelessness scale. However Judge Charles Blackie said he "can't agree with that".
"There were some fundamental errors made by you that I would have thought any shooter, but particularly a shooter with your experience, would readily recognise," he said.
He highlighted that King had a loaded gun in a confined space with others around, did not have the safety on, was carrying his shotgun at waist height and pointed in front of him and with his finger on the trigger.
"These are elementary rules of handling firearms, particularly when people are present," he said.
"So really how this happened is inexplicable, but it wouldn't have happened if those elementary precautions had been taken."