A man who mistook a woman brushing her teeth for a deer at a campsite before he allegedly shot and killed her is said to be devastated and is vowing to give up guns.

The Herald has learned that the man charged after the death of Lower Hutt teacher Rose Ives is Andrew Mears, a 25-year-old auto upholsterer from Hamilton, who is married and has an infant son.

Mr Mears, who is to appear in the District Court at Taupo next week, is listed on the electoral roll as living with his parents in Chartwell.

A woman answering the phone at his home would not answer Herald questions, instead referring them to Hamilton lawyer Roger Laybourn.

Mr Laybourn said his client was "not good" when he met with Mr Mears yesterday for a brief chat.

He said it was unclear if he was to face charges in addition to the careless use of a firearm charge against him.

A person known to Mr Mears, who would not be named, told the Herald he was devastated by the incident, which happened while he was out spotlighting with two of his friends on Department of Conservation land, south of Turangi, on Friday night.

"He's in a pretty bad way, no, he's in a really, really bad way, he's absolutely cut up about it."

The person said Mr Mears often went hunting.

Another friend angrily defended him in an expletive-filled rant on the hunt'n'fish forum website where a growing number of people are posting comments outraged at the shooting.

"He is devistated [sic] at what has takin [sic] place and asked the police to destroy he's [sic] gun and has vowed to never shoot again or ever let he's [sic] young son shoot," the post said. "He is a f ... mess and he's [sic] life will never be the same he is a good guy that would never intend to hurt anyone."

Another thread on Trade Me was yesterday inundated with posts from people calling his actions "idiotic".

But Miss Ives' father, Malcolm Ives, said he did not want his daughter's death turned into a political football for either side of any gun law debate.

He said his daughter was a committed environmentalist and he did not want to see her memory used as a figurehead for political gain.

"Some people have been trying to make this into a political argument and if this happens I will be very angry indeed," he said.

"We just want Rose to be known for the wonderful, gifted teacher that she was and the wonderful, wise daughter and friend she was to hundreds and hundreds of people, that is all."

Mr Ives said Rose's funeral would be held at Rabbit Island tomorrow, a favourite place of his daughter's that she used to visit in the summer.

A spokesman from Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson's office said it was an offence to take a firearm on to any conservation land including reserves, national parks and conservation areas, without lawful authority.

Offenders can face up to a year in prison or a $10,000 fine.

A spokesman for Police Minister Judith Collins said the Government would be looking at whether steps could be taken to improve firearm safety in the community.

Mountain Safety firearms and hunter training programme manager Mike Spray said hunters needed to know the seven basic firearms safety rules and how to apply them.

"This regrettable incident could have been avoided by following Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt."

He said spotlighting was legal on private land but extra care was required as the field of vision was limited to the beam of the spotlight, and target identification needed to be positively confirmed.

Spotlighting - 'It's not hunting'
What is it?

Spotlighting is when a group of people, usually in a vehicle with a powerful spotlight, scan the bush for animals, usually possums, rabbits or deer, which are then shot. Normally there is a driver, a person on the spotlight and a shooter.

Is it legal?

On private land it is legal and an effective method to cull pests. But it is illegal to hunt after darkness on Department of Conservation land. It is also illegal to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle and to discharge a firearm from a public road.

Is it the same as hunting?

Fish'n'Hunt forum administrator Allan Simmons said most legitimate hunters frown upon the practice, believing it is not ethical. "It's not hunting, it's shooting," Mr Simmons said. "If you are just driving around in a vehicle looking for something to shoot it's hardly hunting."