The extraction of zirconium and hafnium from hydrochloric acid media was studied using the crown ethers dibenzo-18-crown-6 (DB18C6), dicyclohexano-18-crown-6 (DC18C6) and dicyclohexano-24-crown-8 (DC24C8) as extractants. The goal was to find an extraction system that exhibits a high selectivity between the members of group 4 of the periodic table and is suitable for the study of rutherfordium. It was found that Zr and Hf are both extracted using DB18C6, DC18C6 and DC24C8. The extraction yield increases with increasing acid concentration and increasing concentration of crown ether. The extracted species most likely consists of an ion-association complex formed between a Zr or Hf chloro complex and a hydronium crown ether complex. Conditions can be found for each extractant that provide for the separation of Zr from Hf. This selective separation between Zr and Hf makes the extraction with crown ethers from HCl well suited to study the extraction behaviour of Rf and compare it to the behaviour of Zr and Hf. These extraction systems can be used to determine whether the extraction behaviour of Rf is similar to Zr, similar to Hf or follows the trend established by the lighter homologs. The extraction kinetics are fast enough for the study of the 78-s isotope 261mRf.