News

Men fined for hunting offences

By Country News

Five men have received more than $8000 worth of fines, have had a firearm and spotlights forfeited and received convictions for a number of hunting-related offences and a driving offence in Victoria’s Alpine area.

Game Management Authority compliance and intelligence director Paul Stevens said officers from GMA and Victoria Police intercepted the men during a targeted operation after ongoing complaints about illegal activity in the Rose River area near Whitfield (60km south-east of Benalla).

‘‘At approximately 1am on June 18 last year, officers from both the GMA and Victoria Police intercepted a group of men travelling in a vehicle in recognised deer habitat along Whitfield-Myrtleford Rd, and discovered two high-powered spotlights in their vehicle,’’ Mr Stevens said.

‘‘A search of the surrounding area located a third spotlight, as well as a high-powered rifle, which was registered to one of the men in the vehicle.’’

Mr Stevens said the men, from Melbourne’s western suburbs and Mount Cottrell, appeared in Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court last month and were all found guilty for possession of a spotlight and firearm in recognised deer habitat and were fined a combined total of $6300.

He said GMA and police would continue to identify, intercept and prosecute people hunting in an illegal and dangerous manner.

‘‘Illegal hunting and irresponsible behaviour can be dangerous and can put people and wildlife at risk,’’ he said.

‘‘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.’’

■For more information on how to comply with spotlighting laws, visit: bit.ly/2rlQxr3

■Hunters and the public are urged to report illegal hunting to GMA at: www.gma.vic.gov.au or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by phoning Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Victoria Police.