Police have reached the body of a hunter shot in a hunting accident in Bay of Plenty on Friday, but the body won't be taken out of the bush until Saturday at least.
Emergency services were called about 8am by a man who said he'd shot his mate by mistake in Waikite Valley, about 30km south of Rotorua.
The body of the man, believed to be in his 30s, was in very rugged terrain and it wasn't reached by searchers until well into the afternoon.
"It was hoped the body could be extracted by helicopter today but deteriorating weather conditions and a lowering cloud base has ruled this out," police said on Friday.
"The wet, slippery conditions and coming darkness means it is unsafe to carry the body out today. Police will be guarding the scene overnight and it is hoped the body will be brought out of the bush tomorrow."
The victim has yet to be named while police try to contact a family member out of the country.
The man is the third to die in a hunting accident this year and Deerstalkers Association president Tim McCarthy said the death was a wake-up call to hunters.
"They have to identify their target when they're hunting. It just seems to be going in one ear and out the other lately," he told Radio New Zealand.
"It's the cardinal one that you shouldn't break when you're in the bush hunting, and that's identify your target.
"It all boils down to the one thing: they should assume that it's a human being until they can prove otherwise."
The dead man's hunting partner, a local man in his 30s, was distressed but was helping police.