Police are becoming increasingly concerned about illegal hunting on private rural land, which they say is also breaching COVID-19 lockdown rules.
Five men were arrested on Monday night after police received reports of illegal hunting in the Waitomo area.
"About 11pm, police were called to a rural property and found five men unlawfully hunting deer on private land.
"Only one of the men was a firearms license holder," they said in a statement.
The men were arrested and had been summoned to appear in court at a later date on unlawful hunting charges.
Additional charges were being considered, including in relation to breaching Level 4 restrictions, said police.
"We take unlawful hunting very seriously at any time, but this is particularly foolish during the Level 4 restrictions," said Detective Sergeant Rene Rakete, acting area investigations manager, Western Waikato.
"Illegal activity involving firearms is extremely dangerous and we will not tolerate it at any time."
Police said they were also concerned about recent reports of illegal hunting in east Otago.
They said there had been several incidents of unlawful hunting and poaching in the Waikouaiti, Dunback, McRaes and Lawrence areas.
"Police are taking these matters extremely seriously.
"Unlawful hunting puts other people who may be in the area at risk and could have potentially fatal consequences."
The hunters were also in breach of Alert Level 4 restrictions.
Police said any landowners and station managers should call police immediately if they discovered people unlawfully on their land and also to take note of the registration of any vehicles they believe may belong to illegal hunters.
"They can be assured that the appropriate action will be taken against anyone carrying out this type of offending."