Accused murderer Malcolm Naden remains on the run after a police officer was shot during an operation to capture him in the NSW northwest.
A 33-year-old officer attached to the State Protection Group was wounded in the right shoulder about 7am (AEST) on Wednesday at a remote campsite in dense bushland near Nowendoc, east of Tamworth.
Before police spotted bush fugitive Malcolm Naden, an unseen person fired a single gunshot and disappeared from the remote, rugged area.
The injured officer was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital. He received treatment and was later released.
'I can indicate after speaking to the officer, whilst he was heavily sedated, he was in very good spirits and understood he was very, very fortunate,' NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters in Sydney.
Mr Scipione urged people in the area to remain vigilant but to put their safety first.
'Do not approach him, he is armed and he is dangerous,' he said.
Assistant Commissioner Dave Hudson said officers had been searching for Naden in bushland near Nowendoc for several days.
Detectives under Strike Force Durkin have been looking for Naden since he disappeared in 2005.
Police would not reveal details about the size of Wednesday's operation but said a significant number of officers had approached the campsite from different directions.
'It's very rare that he puts his head down twice in the same spot and he is constantly on the move,' Asst Comm Hudson told reporters.
Naden, 38, disappeared from his grandparents' home in west Dubbo in June 2005, days before 24-year-old mother-of-two Kristy Scholes was found strangled in his bedroom.
His cousin, 24-year-old Lateesha Nolan, disappeared from Naden's home in January 2005 after dropping off two of her four children.
Naden is also wanted over the indecent assault of a 15-year-old girl in Dubbo in 2004.
Asst Comm Hudson said there had been about seven police operations to capture Naden in the past few years.
'There's been a number of close calls previously,' he said. 'One of the reasons it's proved difficult to effect his capture has been the remoteness of the area he likes to frequent.'
Police consider Naden a skilled bushman who is adept at living off the land.
Detectives believe he is on foot after Wednesday's incident.
A $100,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to Naden's arrest and conviction.
He is described as 177cm tall with a medium build, brown eyes and possibly a moustache and/or beard.
Anyone with information about Naden's whereabouts is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.