The Game Animal Council Bill passed its second reading in Parliament on Wednesday, by 69 votes to 51.
The bill will establish a Game Hunting Council as part of a national wild game management strategy.
Conservation Minister Nick Smith told Parliament that the bill was an important step in improving the management of game animals and would give New Zealanders who enjoy recreational hunting a voice in managing their interest.
But he acknowledged the depth of feeling that existed in the country when it comes to hunting.
"There is a real tension between the interests of recreational hunters, who wish for their to be good populations of deer, chamois, and tahr, so that it's an easy hunt, and the reality - from a conservation point of view - that those numbers need to be kept down, and need to be kept limited if we are serious about the sustainability of the forest in which they live," Dr Smith said.
The bill was supported by the National Party, United Future, Act and New Zealand First and will now head to committee for any changes to be made before its third and final reading.