9 Nov 2011

Heli-hunting on DoC land to come under scrutiny

9:05 am on 9 November 2011

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is investigating the commercial use of Department of Conservation land for hunting wild animals from helicopters.

Heli-hunting is considered a form of pest control and is covered by the Wild Animal Control Act.

The commissioner Jan Wright says it seems an anomoly that people are unable to get a concession to film a movie in the wilderness but can chase an animal from a helicopter and shoot it.

The Deer Stalkers Association says the practice is hunting dressed up as pest control.

It says heli-hunting drives animals into the scrub and bush and makes genuine pest control very difficult to conduct.

Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand says heli-hunting in the wilderness ruins the great outdoor experience for many visitors.

Federation president Richard Davies says an amendment to legislation is needed to clarify whether the activity should be allowed on conservation land.

Mr Davies told Morning Report heli-hunting is more like joy-riding than pest control.

DoC says it is working with all parties involved to manage commercial heli-hunting effectively.

A DoC report on the practice shows $199,000 was generated in fee payments during the 2011 season.