Police are urging deer hunters to stay safe as they head into the bush for the Roar.
Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson said late March and April was the Roar, or rutting season, for the most common deer species in NZ.
This preoccupation with mating leads the stags to become vocal and makes them vulnerable to hunters.
The extra activity in the outdoors, and the excitement this time of year brings for hunters, can make them vulnerable too, Wilson said.
"There's a significant increase in the number of hunting-related incidents and Search and Rescue operations at this time each year, with target misidentification being the biggest cause of fatalities.
"The responsibility is always on the shooter to positively identify their target. The consequences of failing to fully identify a target beyond all doubt are immediate, tragic and catastrophic."
Police urge all those going into the outdoors hunting to abide by the seven rules of firearms safety.
1- Treat every firearm as loaded
2- Always point firearms in a safe direction
3- Load a firearm only when ready to fire
4- Identify your target
5- Check your firing zone
6- Store firearms and ammunition safely
7- Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms
"Of the seven firearms safety rules, failing to identify your target is the most likely to see another hunter mistakenly shot.
"It is crucial that you positively identify it is a deer, and that you are looking at the whole animal, not just a part of it.
"If in any doubt don't shoot. If you pull the trigger you will have to live with the consequences forever."
There are incidents every year at this time involving hunters who are injured, and sometimes lost.
Most injuries come from a fall, a trip, or a stumble.
Becoming lost or injured happens, but there are things to do which will mitigate this risk:
• Take care in the outdoors.
• A little preparation pre hunt will go a long way.
• Plan your trip
• Tell someone your plans
• Be aware of the weather
• Know your limits
• Take sufficient supplies