Illegal spotlighter receives hefty fine

Two men have received fines for a number of hunting related offences committed in Shelley near Tallangatta last year.

Game Management Authority (GMA) Director of Compliance and Intelligence Paul Stevens said Officers from the GMA and Victoria Police intercepted the men during an operation targeting illegal deer hunting in the area.

“Officers from both the GMA and Victoria Police intercepted two men traveling in a vehicle in recognised deer habitat along Avondale Road around 9:15pm and discovered two high-powered spotlights, a loaded firearm and accessible unsecured ammunition in their vehicle,” Mr Stevens said.

The two men appeared in Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court on Monday and were found guilty for possession of a spotlight and firearm in recognised deer habitat. One man received a $1200 fine and the other received a six month diversion and is required to make a donation of $250 to the RSPCA.

Mr Stevens said the spotlighting of deer is a major enforcement issue for government agencies, such as the Game Management Authority and Victoria Police.

“People must not to be in possession of an unsecured firearm or ammunition and a spotlight between 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise in recognised deer habitat. A spotlight is defined as any source of artificial light, infrared device, night vision or heat detecting device.”

“Anyone carrying a firearm in a vehicle must ensure it is unloaded and securely stored separately from securely stored ammunition or be prepared to face significant fines and penalties.”

“It is the responsibility of hunters to ensure they know the laws and are not illegally in possession of spotlights and firearms in recognised deer habitat during prohibited times.”

“Those hunters who choose to act illegally and dangerously will be prosecuted and may be fined, have their equipment confiscated and lose their Game and Firearms Licenses.”

For more information on how to comply with spotlighting laws, please visit the www.gma.vic.gov.au or see this fact sheet regarding spotlighting laws: https://bit.ly/2rlQxr3

The GMA and Victoria Police will continue with a cooperative approach to identify, intercept and prosecute people hunting in an illegal and dangerous manner.

Hunters and the public are urged to report any illegal hunting to the GMA through its website www.gma.vic.gov.au or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by contacting Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or Victoria Police.

Media contact: Sarah Hetherington (02) 6043 7960 / 0409 405 639