A Tauranga man is in critical condition in Waikato Hospital after being shot by a fellow hunter in the Kaimanawa Ranges.

Initial police inquiries have established that the 48-year-old man was shot by a companion yesterday after he was mistaken for a deer.

Rescue teams were alerted when an emergency beacon was activated.

Police are undertaking a scene examination in the Kaimanawa Ranges today.

Police said this served as a timely reminder to hunters to ensure that they identify their target beyond all doubt.

The consequences of failing to do so are immediate and can be tragic and catastrophic.