Illegal hunters caught operating in Victoria’s north east

By Simon Ruppert

Parks Victoria is urging hunters to act responsibly following the prosecution of two Melbourne men for illegal hunting in the north east.

Parks Victoria and Victoria Police officers caught the two men in the Mt Samaria State Park near Mansfield and charged them with possessing and using firearms, and driving offroad.

The men were prosecuted last month in the Benalla Magistrates Court.

One man was fined $750 and forfeited his firearm, firearms bag and scope. His firearms licence was suspended.

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The other man was fined $500, payable to the Victorian National Parks Association, and was placed on a six-month good behaviour bond.

Parks Victoria regional enforcement coordinator Martin Downs said it was up to hunters to know whether hunting was legal in the park they were visiting.

“Only hunters with valid licences are permitted to carry and use certain calibre firearms for the purpose of hunting game species, such as deer, duck and quail, provided it is within designated areas during the permitted period,” Mr Downs said.

“All hunters and owners of firearms need to be aware of National Park Regulations when intending to travel into or through national parks with firearms.

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“While most hunters act responsibly it is disappointing that a few ignore regulations.

“Safety is paramount at Parks Victoria.

“In addition to following hunting regulations, we also ask visitors to always follow safety protocols and signs, campfire and camping regulations, and to stay within boundary fences.

“We also encourage visitors to avoid driving into remote areas at dusk, night or dawn as this is when native wildlife is more active.”

The prosecutions underline the need for hunters to know where they can legally hunt.

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National Park Regulations prohibit the carrying and use of firearms, unless specifically permitted during hunting season.

Parks Victoria, the Game Management Authority, the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning, and Victoria Police conduct regular patrols in parks and forests to deter illegal activities.

Breaches of regulations can lead to court prosecution and severe penalties.

● For more information on legal hunting, phone 131 963 or visit this link  or this link.