Two men from Eppalock and Mansfield have faced court after being found illegally carrying guns and spotlighting equipment near Myrtleford.
The men pleaded guilty at the Myrtleford Magistrates’ Court for the illegal carriage of firearms and spotlighting equipment at night in recognised deer habitat.
The hunters were intercepted on June 16 at a roadblock operated by Victoria Police, Game Management Authority and Parks Victoria officers on Buffalo River Rd at Dandongadale.
This locality was inside recognised deer habitat and is subject of numerous complaints relating to illegal shooting at night.
The hunters were stopped and their vehicle searched, finding several powerful torches, a centre-fire rifle and ammunition.
Both men received 12-month good behaviour bonds and were ordered to pay $750 to the Mansfield District Hospital.
Possession of unsecured spotlights and firearms in recognised deer habitat between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise is an offence under the Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2012.
Game Management Authority chief executive officer Greg Hyams said GMA, Victoria Police and Parks Victoria officers would continue to conduct operations targeting illegal spotlighting from public roads and on public land.
‘‘Illegal hunting can put people and wildlife at risk, plus it damages the reputation of law-abiding hunters,’’ Mr Hyams said.
‘‘Hunters are generally a law-abiding group but some choose to do the wrong thing, and in doing so, can be prosecuted, have their equipment confiscated and lose their game and firearms licences.’’
■For more information on game hunting in Victoria and how to comply with game hunting laws, visit: www.gma.vic.gov.au
■Hunters and the general public can report any illegal hunting to the GMA by going to the GMA website, phoning Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, phoning the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or contacting Victoria Police.