Two men, from Taggerty and Mansfield, have been fined more than $6000 and have been forced to forfeit firearms, tools and prohibited items for committing a number of hunting and firearm-related offences in north-east Victoria.
The Game Management Authority and Victoria Police investigated an incident where a Sambar deer was illegally shot on private property about 2.30am on July 19 last year.
‘‘A member of the public contacted the GMA after they awoke to a high-powered gunshot and saw an unfamiliar vehicle driving on their property,’’ compliance and intelligence director Paul Stevens said.
‘‘On further inspection, a freshly shot Sambar deer was found left behind with its head partly severed in an attempt to remove its antlers.’’
A bullet was removed from the deer and the registration details of the vehicle were provided to the GMA and police.
This information led officers to the residence of the accused, where officers interviewed the alleged offender and seized three high-powered firearms along with a mobile phone.
The firearms and the bullet were analysed and tested by the Victoria Police Forensics Unit in Macleod, resulting in confirmation the bullet was fired from one of the seized firearms.
The mobile phone was analysed by a special investigation unit, revealing videos of the offender and another associate committing hunting, criminal damage and firearm-related offences.
The two offenders were found guilty for offences including using and possessing a firearm when prohibited, possessing stolen goods, criminal damage, possessing spotlights in recognised deer habitat after sunset, shooting protected wildlife, and fishing for priority species of fish out of season.
One offender was issued with a 15-month community correction order, 150 hours of community service, a $1000 fine and had a number of illegal items forfeited.
The other offender was issued with a $5000 fine for hunting and firearm-related offences, a $100 fine for possession of a prohibited knuckleduster and had his firearms forfeited.
■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 Victoria Police.
■For more information on game hunting in Victoria, visit: www.gma.vic.gov.au