A Waikato hunter has admitted firing the fatal shot that killed a Katikati grandfather.

Quentin Clay McCreedy, 37, didn't seek name suppression when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court today charged with careless use of a firearm causing the death of Gordon Douglas Leech, 57.

McCreedy, of the small Waikato town of Waitoa, and Leech were hunting deer in the Kaimai Range when McCreedy mistook the victim for a deer, firing one shot, hitting him in the chest.

The accident happened during the "roar", when stags are at their most fearless as they look for female deer. It was also Easter weekend.


Leech was hunting alone in dense and remote bush off Wairakau Rd, about 15km south of Te Aroha. McCreedy was hunting with another person.

Through his lawyer Roger Laybourn, McCreedy pleaded guilty to the charge when he appeared before Judge David Wilson QC.

Laybourn said an initial response from the victim's family had been favourable and the matter had been referred to restorative justice.

"There have been very charitable remarks made by the deceased's family and it's anticipated that that [restorative justice] process will go well."

The judge convicted McCreedy and remanded him on bail for sentencing on May 30.

Police had described the accident as a clear case of "mistaken target".