Deer Poaching Sting Across Victoria's Northeast
The Game Management Authority in coordination with the Victorian Police ramp up their campaign to stamp out spotlight poaching across Victoria.
This major police crackdown will see Police swarming deer hot spots in the state’s northeast from Tuesday night, amid a spike in unlawful hunters firing bullets close to homes.
The Weekly Times reported many are “trophy hunters” who travel from suburban Melbourne to shoot and butcher stags purely for their antlers.
Senior Sergeant Mark Hesse said these hunters show little regard for public safety.
“We are not going to tolerate it. There will be no warnings,” he said.
More than 60 reports of illegal deer-hunting and spotlighting were recorded in the Eildon, Jamieson, Kevington, Mansfield, Marysville, Tolmie and Whirtfield area in the past year.
Local residents, including children, have been caught in the spotlight of illegal hunters aiming into private paddocks from the road.
Sen Sgt Hesse said it must stop before a tragedy occurs.
“It’s dangerous. People need to look at the bigger picture. You can end up behind bars if you end up recklessly injuring, or worse case, killing someone,” he said.
“Your game and gun license can be cancelled or suspended and firearms forfeited.”
It is illegal to hunt deer at night, hunt deer with artificial lights, carry a loaded firearm in vehicles, and possess or discharge a loaded firearm on or across a public thoroughfare.
Sen Sgt Hesse said police will use intelligence to zero in on illegal hunters after dark.
“We will be intercepting vehicles at all hours looking for people who are spotlighting.” he said.
Deer populations have migrated toward rural towns, drawing more illegal shooters closer to homes and farm properties.
Sen Sgt Hesse said a significant number of illegal shooters are out-of-town trophy hunters.
“Many do a run up to places like Jamieson with a view to shoot a big stab and take the antlers and leave the rest of the body for the land owner to deal with,” he said.
Police and the Game Management Authority have urged lawful hunters to dob in those breaking the law. The GMA have created a website to make reporting the incidents easier for people effected by these illegal poachers.