Glen Royce Court remains good friends with the hunting companion he shot through the leg on July 3 near Lake Coleridge, in inland Canterbury.
Tony Stewart was even at the Christchurch District Court to support his old friend as he was sentenced.
He told Judge David Saunders that the shooting accident was a genuine error, and the judge accepted that as 40-year-old Court was sentenced on a charge of causing injury by carelessly using a rifle.
Court, from Prebbleton, pleaded guilty on November 1 and the case was remanded for a restorative justice meeting with the victim.
Police said the incident happened on the last day of a weekend hunting trip to inland Canterbury by Court and two other men.
The trio returned to a hut and decided to fire their weapons before returning. They stood in a triangular formation 2m apart, facing outwards.
When this was done, the victim moved to his left and Court turned to his right. As he turned, the .270 calibre Remington rifle discharged, hitting the other hunter in the calf.
The victim received a significant injury, the police said. He was hospitalised for a week and had surgery twice.
Court told police he had owned the rifle for eight or nine years and it had never accidentally discharged before. He could not explain why it had fired on this occasion, nor why it was pointing at his friend.
Judge Saunders convicted Court but imposed no penalty other than ordering him to pay $1500 emotional harm reparations to Mr Stewart.