The New Zealand Firearms Code should be changed to include a new rule - do not take a shot if you cannot see your shooting partner.
That is a recommendation from Coroner Wallace Bain after the inquest into James Dodds' hunting death.
Mr Dodds, a 30-year-old Rotorua mountainbiking identity, was killed by his friend Henry Worsp after they separated while hunting for fallow deer in the Paeroa Ranges in September. Coroner Mr Bain yesterday released his findings and recommended the Firearms Code be amended to incorporate a new rule.
"When hunting with companions, once separated and/or lost sight of each other hunting must cease and not resume until visual contact is made and confirmed between the hunting companions."
Mr Dodds' partner, Gabby Molloy, pleaded with the coroner at the inquest on Friday to make sure other hunters were not killed under similar circumstances. A previous inquest into a hunter's death recommended this ruling should be law and had it been incorporated into legislation, Mr Dodds would not have been killed, Mr Bain said.
Ms Molloy, who is studying for her firearms licence, told the coroner she was adamant she wanted this as a recommendation.
"I don't mind people splitting up but don't take the shot if you can't see your partner," she said during the inquest.
Mr Bain has also recommended hunters must continue to be educated in respect of target identification. Mr Worsp was sure he had sighted a fallow deer and moved to get a better look. His line of sight was blocked by a frond which made it look as if he could see antlers.
"In particular it be drawn to their attention that in correctly identifying an animal before firing they should see the whole animal or at least sufficient of it to be absolutely certain it is a deer," Mr Bain said.
His final recommendation is for there to be more education and messages to hunters, with respect to high-visibility clothing and new technology being developed to recognise hunting companions. This recommendation came as a result of evidence given by Mr Worsp.
Mr Dodds was wearing long camouflage trousers and a long-sleeved black top. He was also wearing a homemade pikau - drawstring back pack - made of brown polar fleece with a zigzag pattern. He had light red hair, similar to the coat of a red deer.
Mr Worsp was sentenced to six months' home detention and 250 hours of community work after admitting careless use of a firearm causing Mr Dodds' death.