Date: 30 March 2012
The Department of Conservation is urging hunters to adhere to their permit conditions and refrain from illegal spotlighting on conservation land.
Hunting in darkness hours, or ‘spotlighting’, is prohibited on conservation land because of the serious risk it poses to other people using these areas.
“Hunting after dark is not permitted which is clearly stated on all DOC hunting permits and to do so is irresponsible and recklessly endangers others,” says DOC National Hunting Advisor Ian Cooksley.
The approach of the Easter weekend and school holidays also coincides with the annual deer ‘roar’ or ‘rut’ which means an increase in the number of people using conservation areas for hunting, walking, hut stays and camping.
“Hunters are warned that if they are found to be breaking the rules and putting people at risk the Department will take action.” Hunters are also reminded to follow the firearms safety code at all times.
The warning comes following a number of recent cases of illegal spotlighting that have been through the courts, including a recent incident near a campground in the Bay of Plenty region and the incident where Rosemary Ives was fatally shot at a DOC campground near Turangi.
DOC has been working closely with the NZ Police and undertaking operations in some areas to try to tackle the problem of illegal night hunting. However, DOC acknowledges that most hunters are responsible and abide by the rules.
Information on safe hunting practices around walks, huts and campgrounds and hunting permits is readily available on the DOC website at www.doc.govt.nz/hunting. There is also a detailed list of special conditions for specific hunting areas across the country.
Anyone who sees hunting activity at night on conservation land should contact the NZ Police immediately or call the DOC hotline on 0800DOCHOT.