Illegal duck hunters fined and shotguns confiscated
Four unlicensed hunters firing lead shot illegally on the opening day of duck shooting season have been fined and forced to give up their firearms.
Two of the group also shot protected species, for which Fish and Game says there is no excuse.
On the afternoon of May 4, the four - Ohakune farm worker Jared Luke Baines, 27, Masterton builder Graham Brian Jones, 31, Masterton case manager Kate Jones, 35, and Eketahuna farmer Sam William Jones, 27, were hunting game birds from Bartons Line maimai in Alfredton, Tararua.
A Fish and Game summary says the hunters were approached by three rangers, who found they did not have licences and were using lead ammunition illegally over a waterway, a practice banned a decade ago.
Baines shot a grey teal duck and a harrier hawk, which are both protected species.
Sam Jones shot a scaup duck, which is also protected.
Kate Jones initially said she was not hunting, but later admitted to "putting a few shots off ".
The three men had previously held hunting licences, which cost $90 each, while Kate Jones admitted she knew she needed one to hunt game birds.
In the Palmerston North District Court, all four admitted charges of hunting without a licence and using lead shot in an area where it is banned. Baines and Sam Jones also admitted to hunting protected wildlife.
Fish and Game prosecutor Peter Coles successfully sought the forfeiture of the group's weapons. That means Baines had to give up two 12-gauge shotguns and also pay $1832 in fines and costs.
Graham Jones had to hand over his 12-gauge shotgun and pay $1382, Sam Jones lost his 12-gauge Weatherby semi-automatic gun and must pay $2282, and the 12-gauge gun used by Kate Jones was also handed over. She must pay $1132 in fines and costs.
Fish and Game Wellington regional manager Phil Teal welcomed the prosecution, saying yesterday the penalties imposed by Judge Les Atkins were in the upper range for such charges.
"In this case someone paid over 20 times what it would cost for a season licence. That's quite a costly mistake or oversight.
"For us it's pretty simple, if you want to hunt you've got to get a licence and abide by the rules."
Licensed hunters were sent material informing them which species could not be hunted, so there was no excuse to kill teal ducks or hawks. Lead shot was banned over waterways because of the damage it could do when ingested by water fowl, Mr Teal said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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