SSAA Victoria has applauded the Game Management Authority (GMA) whose officers, together with Victoria Police, took action on illegal deer spotlighting around the Shelley area in Upper North-West Victoria over the long weekend.
The Association’s Hunting Development Manager, David Laird said SSAA Victoria fully supports action against five illegal hunters caught in the action and is active in helping to reduce unethical behaviour.
“We were involved in a community meeting recently in Swifts Creek where there had been a spate of illegal behaviour to show we’re committed to doing what we can to address this issue,” he said.
“Illegal hunting undermines the image and credibility of all hunters and puts political pressure on the sport, so we are doing what we can to prevent it and support the GMA and VicPol’s efforts.”
GMA Chief Executive Officer Greg Hyams said officers targeted the Shelley-Koetong area for people committing spotlighting offences or hunting in prohibited areas such as private property and the pine plantations in the area.
“Over the long weekend approximately 80 hunters and campers were spoken to by our compliance team,” Mr Hyams said.
“Most hunters inspected were doing the right thing, however a few breaches were detected.”
“A total of five men will face court proceedings after they were allegedly caught committing a number of hunting and firearm offences including; possession of spotlights and firearms in deer habitat, possession of suppressors, carrying loaded firearms on a public road and hunting without a Game Licence.”
“A further two men also received official warnings for possession of firearm and spotlight while travelling along the Murray Valley Highway.”
Mr Hyams said the GMA and Victoria Police 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,” Mr Hyams said.
“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.”
“The GMA together with its partner agencies will continue to conduct similar unannounced operations anywhere in the state at any time.”
“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.”
Hunters and the public are urged to report any illegal hunting to the GMA through its website or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by contacting Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or Victoria Police.