The Game Management Authority of Victoria’s media release reported that earlier this year, four men pleaded guilty in the Sunshine Magistrates Court to illegal spotlighting, firearm offences and illegally shooting protected wildlife in North East Victoria in April 2019.
The men were ordered to pay a combined total of almost $6,000, were placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds and had their firearms and equipment forfeited and destroyed.
As part of a joint agency patrol, the Game Management Authority (GMA) teamed up with Victoria Police officers from Bright, Whitfield and Wangaratta, to target areas where community members had reported illegal hunting activity occurring at night.
GMA Director of Compliance and Intelligence Paul Stevens said “officers intercepted the offenders in their vehicle at around 11:10pm on 27 April 2019 in the Buffalo Valley area.”
“A total of five firearms, nearly 500 live rounds of ammunition, ten high-powered torches and spotlights, one thermal imaging unit and a number of dead protected animal species, including possums and birds, were found and seized by GMA Officers and Police.”
“When questioned, all four men admitted to hunting the protected wildlife at night and one of them did not have a Firearms Licence.”
Mr Stevens said people who hunt in Victoria need to make sure that they are familiar with the laws, are not hunting illegally and hold the appropriate licences.
“Hunting protected wildlife, illegal spotlighting and irresponsible behaviour will not be tolerated. It is dangerous and can put people and wildlife at risk,” Mr Stevens said.
“Those who break the law face significant fines and penalties, they may be prosecuted, have their equipment confiscated and lose their Game and Firearms Licences. In some cases, offenders may face jail terms.”
The GMA works closely with its partner agencies to conduct enforcement and compliance operations across Victoria.
Hunters and the public are urged to report illegal hunting to the GMA through its website www.gma.vic.gov.au or the Customer Contact Centre on 136 186, or by contacting Victoria Police.
For more information on game hunting in Victoria, visit gma.vic.gov.au
Media contact: Nick Foster T: 03 8392 2237 | M: 0417 293 365