SSAA Victoria has applauded the efforts of the Game Management Authority and Victoria Police in bringing criminals to justice after two men were convicted of several hunting and firearm related offences in North East Victoria.
The men from Taggerty and Mansfield were fined more than $6000 and were forced to forfeit firearms, tools and prohibited items.
SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird said the offenders were criminals – not licensed hunters.
“These people are not representative of the hunting community which respects the law and the ethics of hunting,” he said.
“They are just criminals and their actions do a lot of harm to the reputation of hunting in Victoria.
“We applaud the GMA and Victoria Police for their thorough investigation and efforts to confronting this kind of illegal behaviour.”
The GMA and Victoria Police investigated an incident where a Sambar Deer was illegally shot on private property at approximately 2:30am on July 19, 2018.
GMA’s Director of Compliance and Intelligence Paul Stevens said “a member of the public contacted the GMA after they awoke to a gunshot and saw an unfamiliar vehicle driving on their property.
“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 given to the GMA and police.
This information led officers to the residence of the accused, where officers interviewed the alleged offender and seized three firearms along with a mobile phone.
The firearms and the bullet were analysed by the Victoria Police Forensics Unit, resulting in confirmation the bullet which killed the Sambar deer 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.
Mr Stevens said the GMA, Victoria Police and partner agencies will continue to work together to target illegal hunting in Victoria.
“Illegal hunting and irresponsible behaviour will not be tolerated. It is dangerous and can put people and wildlife at risk,” Mr Stevens said.
“Hunters need to make sure that they are familiar with the laws and are not hunting deer illegally.”
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.