Game bird hunters warned to expec 'friendly' inspections
Fish & Game officers are encouraging hunters to brush up on regulations and make sure they’ve bought a licence – and urging particular care over firearm safety as the season gets underway.
The game bird season starts on Saturday, May 3 and Fish & Game will send rangers out in all 12 of its regions to carry out “friendly” checks on hunters. Many ranger teams will be accompanied by police officers.
“The good thing is, and worth noting, that by far the majority of hunters are responsible and do the right thing, as they enjoy a healthy outdoor pursuit with a long history,” says Fish & Game communications advisor Andrew Currie. “But history tells us that a small minority may try to avoid their responsibilities.
Mr Currie says that as well as checking hunters’ success, rangers will check hunting licences and whether they’re sticking to the regulations, while police officers will check firearms licences and other behaviour - including alcohol consumption.
“Depending on the circumstances, offenders risk fines of up to $100,000 and loss of any firearms used and a review of their suitability to hold a firearms licence by police.”
Mr Currie says that while game bird hunting accidents are rare, It is timely to remind hunters to take the utmost care while hunting and handling firearms.
“While the opening of the hunting season is often a very social event for hunters who often catch up with mates they haven’t seen for some time, leave the drinks until the days hunting is done and until firearms are safety locked away.”
The other reminder is over the use of lead shot in 10 and 12 Guage shotguns which is banned within 200 metres of open water.
Law changes also mean that rangers have a little more paperwork to attend to. They will leave notices of entry to private land when they have been onto property to check hunters, Mr Currie says.
“Land owners and occupiers may find these notices, which should be viewed as a courteous note to advise them that rangers have visited the property.”