A hunter was winched out of a steep ravine by a rescue helicopter after being stranded for a night in bush on the East Coast.

A search was organised for the 55-year-old from Dannevirke just after midday yesterday when he failed to return from a day-long hunting trip between Tolaga Bay and Anaura Bay, north of Gisborne, on Sunday.

The man was spotted by the Gisborne Rescue Helicopter after a short search in a steep ravine "virtually trapped by the surrounding terrain", a helicopter spokeswoman said.

After been winched out, the hunter was checked at a nearby forestry site by the helicopter paramedic, and was very cold but uninjured.