Deer carcasses found dumped in waterways and beside popular walking tracks in Hawke's Bay have the Department of Conservation worried.

DOC Hawke's Bay community senior ranger Chris Wootton said Easter was a popular time for hunting as it coincided with deer mating season, but it needed all hunters to play by the rules of the law.

"The roar is mating season for deer. Most hunters are well-behaved but there is always a small proportion of hunters who are inconsiderate, leaving obviously shot animals with parts taken off for meat and the rest left to rot.

"We received reports from visitors to the Kaweka Forest Park of an instance where a deer had clearly been shot and left in a waterway, plus another shot close to a public walking track in March this year.

Advertisement

"It's timely to remind all users of areas like the Kawekas that respect for the environment and other users, along with safety, should always be paramount."

Standard DOC hunting permit conditions clearly state the rules, including that "carcasses and offal must not be left at, or in the vicinity of, tracks, huts, campsites, or in waterways", he says.

Animal carcasses take longer to break down in waterways especially if the water is cold.

"Eventually they will decompose, but it's not healthy for the waterway environment. The majority of hunters would use their common sense and avoid leaving animal carcasses in waterways or public areas to start with."

Hunters found to be responsible could have their licence revoked, Wootton says.

"We prefer to encourage people to take care in the outdoors and be considerate of the environment, in whatever activity they are doing.

"Hunters do risk their permit being revoked and being trespassed from hunting areas if their permit conditions are breached. In more serious cases of waterway pollution or dumping, prosecution is a real possibility."

DOC plans to carry out hunting permit checks throughout the "roar" period.

Hunters without permits or flouting permit conditions risk being trespassed or prosecuted.