A New Zealand man who mistook his best friend for a deer and shot him dead six days before Christmas has admitted carelessly using a firearm.
Dougal Disston Fyfe, 23, a farm worker of the Maungawera Valley, was shot dead on Mt Burke Station, near Wanaka, in the early hours on December 19 by Reuben Kenneth Burke.
Burke, 24, had been at a party when Mr Fyfe and another friend decided to go eeling and then rabbit shooting.
Sergeant Ian Collin told the Queenstown District Court on Monday that Burke and Mr Fyfe spotted a deer and began following it on foot.
The pair became separated and Burke, believing Mr Fyfe was behind him, shot at what he thought was a deer eye reflection about 60 metres away with a .22 calibre rifle, the Otago Daily Times reported.