A Dunedin man whose hunting companion was killed after a deer stalking expedition went ''tragically wrong'' has been fined $1000 for illegal hunting.

Craig Alastair Harris (45), and his friend Murray Edge, were legally hunting deer on a South Canterbury property inland from Timaru on April 19 last year when they decided to go on a neighbouring farm without permission.

They shot a wild deer, fired at two more, but then saw a light further down the valley and became concerned about being caught.

The men took off, but became separated while heading down the hill in the dark.


Mr Edge apparently fell over a bluff. His body was found in a steep gorge a month later after a major search and rescue operation.

Judge Dominic Flatley told Harris in the Dunedin District Court today that, had he not been hinting unlawfully, "those things would not have happened''.

But he accepted Harris would ''carry the consequences of your mate's death for the rest of your life''.

That was a significant penalty, Judge Flatley said.

Harris had made a $1000 donation to the volunteer search and rescue organisation, LandSAR, his counsel said.

Mr Edge's widow was in court in support of the defendant.