Date: 29 March 2012
With the start of the ‘roar’ deer hunting season, the Department of Conservation (DOC) is reminding hunters spotlighting is not allowed on public conservation land – it is illegal and endangers others.
DOC South Marlborough Area Manager David Hayes said DOC would be working with police locally to be on the alert for people hunting unlawfully and to prosecute anyone found doing so.
‘Hunting after dark is strictly prohibited on public conservation land because it poses a risk to other people.
‘We’ve had reports in the past from campers of hearing shots at night near their tent or lights seen. Spotlighting in these public areas is highly reckless and irresponsible.
‘With Easter and the school holidays coming up more people will be out and about and camping in conservation areas so heightened public safety awareness is needed by anyone using firearms.
‘Hunting is a great outdoor activity and most hunters are safety conscious and abide by the rules but it is important everyone hunting in these public places acts responsibly.’
Firearms and other equipment used to commit hunting offences can be seized from anyone found hunting unlawfully and can be forfeited by courts upon conviction. Offenders also risk losing their firearms license.
A DOC hunting permit is required to hunt on public conservation land and can be obtained for free from the DOC website along with information on where and when to hunt and safe hunting practices.
Anyone who sees illegal hunting activity should contact police, immediately if possible.
- In May, three Hamilton men were each fined $2500 for breaching their hunting permits by hunting after dark on the night Rosemary Ives was fatally shot at a DOC campground near Turangi by hunter Andrew Mears. He received a two-and-a-half year jail sentence for manslaughter.
- A Wanaka man in March was sentenced to 60 hours’ community service and was ordered by a judge to forfeit his firearm for hunting without a permit in Abel Tasman National Park. He had hunted deer at night near Totaranui campground.