Spotlighting deer costs hunters their gear

Media release

Monday, 14 August, 2017

Game Management Authority (GMA) officers together with Victoria Police and DEWLP officers have combined their efforts to conduct an operation targeting illegal deer spotlighters around the Mansfield area in north eastern Victoria over the weekend.

GMA Chief Executive Officer Greg Hyams said the teams targeted State Forest, National Park and private properties in the Strathbogie Ranges, Jamieson, Woods Point, Tatong, Tolmie, Eildon, Whitfield and the Delatite Arm of Lake Eildon.

"Over the three days approximately 100 hunters and campers were spoken to by our compliance team after numerous complaints of illegal Sambar Deer spotlighting had been recently reported by land owners, hunters and a camper to the GMA", Mr Hyams said.

"Most hunters inspected were doing the right thing, however a few breaches were detected."

"Officers seized a number of firearms, spotlights and ammunition. Five hunters in the Tolmie area were allegedly found illegally in possession of spotlights and firearms and will be charged with being illegally in possession of a spotlight and firearms in deer habitat."

"A further three hunters received official warnings for being illegally in possession of a firearm and spotlight in deer habitat. Another hunter will be charged for allegedly having unsecured ammunition and a camper also received an infringement notice for having a camp fire larger than one metre."

Mr Hyams said the GMA, Victoria Police and DELWP officers will continue to work together to target illegal hunting in Victoria.

"Illegal hunting and irresponsible behaviour can put people and wildlife at risk and damages the reputation of hunting. Hunters need to make sure that they are familiar with the laws and are not illegally in possession of spotlights and firearms in deer habitat."

"Hunters are generally a law-abiding group but there are some who choose to do the wrong thing. Those who choose to break the law can be fined or prosecuted, have their equipment confiscated and lose their game and firearms licences."

Officer in charge of Mansfield Police, Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Layton said 'The level of engagement from GMA and DELWP has been terrific and these joint operations have proven to be very successful.  Illegal hunting, particularly the spotlighting of deer in populated areas from the roadside is a significant local issue and a highly dangerous activity.  We will continue to target this kind of behaviour as part of our planned response to illegal hunting activities more broadly."

Hunters and members of the public can report suspected illegal hunting to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, the customer service centre on 136 186 or via the online reporting form on the GMA's website www.gma.vic.gov.au

Media contact: Nick Foster 0417293365