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Hunting charges dropped in airboat case

Hunting charges dropped in airboat case

Two charges of hunting from a boat laid against a duck hunter by the Game Management Authority have been dropped in the Geelong Magistrates Court.

The charges were laid after a video was taken of the man and another hunter using an airboat during duck season on Cundare Pool, near Lake Corangamite, west of Geelong.

The GMA then charged the hunter with hunting from a boat, assisting hunting from a boat, disturbing wildlife and not wearing a life vest.

The two hunting charges were dropped and the hunter was fined $5000 after pleading guilty to the remaining charges.

No conviction was recorded and the boat which had been impounded after the charges were laid was also returned to the hunter.

SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird said he hoped the protestors who illegally invade the wetlands during duck season were pursued with the same level of vigour.

“We have seen extremists on the water deliberately alarm wildlife with sirens, whistles and flags,” he said.

“They do this with the express purpose of scaring native birds in direct contravention of the regulations.

“As has been demonstrated by this case, disturbing wildlife can result in a heavy fine so we are calling on the authorities to bring some of these wilful law-breakers to account.

“We also call on the courts to be just as heavy-handed with them as they have been with a hunter wanting to put food on his family table.”

Mr Laird said the matter also highlighted the need to be vigilant against falling victim to the radical element bent on taking away the freedoms of hunters in Victoria.

“We encourage duck hunters to video all interactions with the extremist bigots who want to disrupt their lawful pursuit,” he said.

“We have witnessed gross exaggeration and outright lies being levelled against hunters which can lead to false accusations, so using video to record encounters can help safeguard against it.”