6-day backcountry hunting skills course November 11, 2023

This is a 6-day backcountry hunting skills course for people interested in learning how to locate wild game and safely navigate in New Zealand’s remote backcountry.



This 6-day backcountry hunting skills course focuses on fundamental bushcraft, navigation and hunting skills. On this course, we spend the first two days wild camping and learning how to navigate using a map and compass on and off track. Followed by a day spent refining river crossing techniques and hunting theory back at the lodge in Arthurs Pass Village. Days 4 & 5 are spent fly camping in Arthurs Pass National Park, learning how to locate, track and stalk wild game.

This course is suited to hunters wanting to improve their ability to find wild games and confidently explore more remote terrain.

Please note: This hunting course does not involve firearms.

*At the bottom of this page, you will find a more detailed course outline that can be downloaded.



Prior skills and experience are not required before attending this course. Everyone is welcome to book on this course even if you have little or no experience.

Not sure if this is the best course for you? Have a look at the recommended hunting training pathway on the side or bottom of this page. Alternatively, you are welcome to give us a call or email.



To attend OENZ hunting courses, the participant must be 18yrs  or older on, or before the first day of the course. Persons 16 yrs or older may attend OENZ hunting courses if they are attending with a legal parent or guardian.



No, you do not need a firearms licence to attend this course.

This course does not include any firearms training. This course focuses on the other important skills needed to hunt safely in the New Zealand backcountry.



This course does not involve the use of firearms. Please do not bring a rifle to this course.

If you plan on going hunting after your course, we can organise the storage of your rifle in Christchurch while you train with us.



Learning to hunt on a backcountry hunting skills course in New Zealand
Hunting in Arthurs Pass

This course starts and finishes in Christchurch. You will visit multiple locations throughout this course. The first two days are delivered in the Craigieburn Forest Park. Days 3 through 5 are delivered in Arthurs Pass National Park.


1st day – Craigieburn Forest Park. Near Castle Hill Village,  Canterbury

2nd day –  Craigieburn Forest Park. Near Castle Hill Village,  Canterbury.

3rd day – Mt White bridge, Arthurs Pass National National Park.

4th day – Arthurs Pass National Park.

5th day – Arthurs Pass National Park.

navigation training
Nav training in Craigieburn Forest Park

6th day-drive back to Christchurch




Accommodation is provided for the duration of this backcountry skills course.

You will stay in a variety of locations and accommodations throughout the course.

1st evening – Wild camping (tenting) in Craigieburn Forest Park.

Lodge in Arthurs Pass Village

2nd evening – Lodge accommodation in Arthurs Pass Village.

3rd evening – Lodge accommodation in Arthurs Pass Village.

4th evening – Fly camping, Arthurs Pass National Park.

5th evening-lodge accommodation in Arthurs Pass Village.

The lodge has bunk beds across three bedrooms and can sleep up to 20 people. It has a kitchen stocked with utensils, cookware, a fridge, and ovens. You will also be treated to power, bathroom facilities, hot showers and heating. All you need to bring is your sleeping bag, pillow and food.


Fly camping

fly camping on backcountry hunting skills course
Fly camping

Camping/fly camping

This course’s camping and fly-camping locations are situated away from away marked tracks or facilities. Tents and fly camping equipment can be hired if arranged in advance.



A complete packing list is available to download



This is a self-catered course, please pack all of your meals and snacks for the duration of the course. Evening meals can be purchased at the local pub in Arthurs Pass Village on the nights that we stay in the lodge.



OENZ 4×4

Return transport is provided from Christchurch for all of the OENZ hunting courses.


Free transport is available from any Christchurch accommodation if you’re travelling from out of town to attend one of our courses.

If you live in Christchurch, have transport or can get dropped off, please meet us at one of the following locations. From here, you’re welcome to drive your vehicle out to our training location or jump into one of our vans and ride with us.


OENZ 12-seat van

Meeting locations (catch a ride with us)


Yaldhurst McDonald 7:30 (see on google maps)


*Darfield Bakery 8:00 am (see on google maps)


Castle Hill Village 8:45 am (see on google maps)


*Our preferred meeting location is Darfield Bakery.






Hunting on a learn to hunt course
Bush camping

Reading Topographic maps (NZ topo50)

  • Colours and symbols
  • Learning map features
  • Scale and distance
  • Orientating a map using features
  • 6 figure grid references
  • Spacial awareness
  • Using a GPS/Smartphone GPS


Interpreting contour features

  • Ridges
  • Spurs
  • Gullies
  • Valleys
  • Saddles
  • Highpoints


Hunting courses
Reading a topo map

Using a compass

  • Finding North
  • Orientating map with compass
  • Follow a compass bearing
  • Field: map bearings
  • Map: Field bearings
  • Taking resections/triangulations


Gear & Equipment

  • Clothing & Equipment selection
  • Packs
  • Boots
  • Walking poles
  • Personal clothing
  • Emergency communications


tops camping

Camping skills

  • Selecting a suitable campsite
  • Tent pitching
  • Fly camping set-ups


 River Crossing

  • Mutual support
  • Solo crossing
  • Hazards
  • River characteristics
  • River crossing principles
  • Decision Making
  • River crossing methods
  • Recovery


river crossing on hunting course
solo river crossing

Hunting skills

  • Scat ID
  • Footprint ID
  • Tracking
  • Stalking
  • Bush Stalking
  • Glassing (use of binos)
    • Spot searching
    • Grid searching
    • Staking out
  • Hunting photography
  • Species identification
  • Trophy potential ID
  • Planning a hunt
  • Sessional habits of animals


wild Fellow Deer

Hunting ethics & regulations

  • Hunting areas
    • Private land
    • Doc land
    • Permits, licences & permissions
  • Herd management
  • Ethical kill shots & distances






*A full course outline is available to download at the bottom of this page



Do I need a firearms licence to attend this course?

This course doesn’t involve firearms use. You do not need to hold a NZ firearms license or have any experience using firearms to attend this course.








Course outline


Packing list




*Minimum people needed to run a course

Course booking form

Participant Details

Participant details

Please enter details for each participant you're booking for (even if they're the same as entered above).

Bookings are $2369 per participant

Add a Youth Participant?

Youth Participant details

Youth must be at least years old to attend this course

Bookings are $ per youth participant



Which course are you taking?
Alpine Course
Bush and River Crossing
Rock Climbing
Sea Kayak
Where would you like to meet us?
Where would you like to meet us?
Where would you like to meet us?
Where would you like to meet us?
Where would you like to meet us?
Where would you like to meet us?

Other Details

Course cost

Course Cost: $ NZD

You can choose to complete your booking using Credit/Debit Card (via Paypal - PayPal account is not required), or by using your Paypal account. If you would like to make payment by Internet Banking or request an invoice please contact us in advance.

Contact us at
+64 3 329 9076

Other Course Dates

Please contact us for more dates!