Warning for Kiwi hunters ahead of this year's roar

This autumn hunting season could be the busiest in many years - and that also makes it one of the riskiest.

Last year's deer roar was interrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown. And with the borders still closed to international hunters, more Kiwis are dusting off their guns than ever before.

Autumn is a dangerous time for deer - but there's also a risk for the people behind the gun.

"Identify your target beyond all doubt, no meat is better than no mate," says Auckland hunter Callum Sheridan.

There's 'wild' excitement about this year's roar hunt after last year's level 4 lockdown meant most people missed out on the best hunting of the year.

"The roar didn't happen for New Zealand's hunters, this year we have those people wanting to get out, we also have Easter this year coinciding with the peak of the rut," says New Zealand Deerstalkers Association CEO Gywn Thurlow.

"There is a little bit of excitement around it because we missed it last year," adds Sheridan.

The popular hunting period known as the 'roar' gets its name from the behaviour of male deer, which roar to warn off rival stags. Hunters mimic the roar to attract them.

This year there will be bigger and possibly more deer to target because fewer were killed last season.

"We're anticipating a higher demand and a lot of Kiwis out in the bush," Thurlow says.

The Mountain Safety Council has released a video showing two hunters - one is prepared the other isn't.

It says in the last full hunting season of 2019, there were about 400 injuries and 24 search and rescue operations.

Statistics show 21 percent of all hunting search and rescues are caused by poor navigational skills. Another 20 percent are from inadequate fitness, lack of warm and waterproof clothing and not carrying a torch.

There has also been an uptake in returning hunters, with the borders closed and Kiwis looking to play locally.

"We're seeing high demand and a lot of excitement around the roar, which is great," Thurlow says.

"But that means there's a lot of people in a small area, and you need to be extra cautious when you're hunting this year."

So the humans all come out alive, even if some of the deer don't.