Rangers ruin duck hunter's day with routine licence check

Hunters use maimais during duck shooting season. (File photo)
BARRY HARCOURT

Hunters use maimais during duck shooting season. (File photo)

A Marlborough man illegally duck hunting in Southland says rangers demanding access to his maimai ruined his day.

Willem Henricus Lampe​, 59, was hunting with three friends at a pond near Tokanui when two rangers approached during routine compliance checks in May.

They knocked on the door of his maimai, or hunting stand, announced who they were and asked the men to open the door, which was locked.

The men refused to open the door, asking if the rangers had a warrant, a summary of facts said.

One of the rangers said they were Fish and Game rangers and did not require a warrant.

If they did not let him in he would have to climb in the front of the maimai, the ranger said.

The men still refused to open the door, so the ranger climbed onto a side rail at the front of the maimai. 

"You've ruined my day. What the hell do you think you're doing?" Lampe shouted.

He put his hands on the ranger's legs and threatened to push him off.

Both the ranger and one of Lampe's friends warned him not to, and another man opened the door and let the rangers inside.

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Lampe continued to shout and curse at the rangers.

He told them he did not have a hunting licence or a firearm's licence, and he hated "pigs" and authority, and the rangers had wrecked his day.

Lampe had been duck shooting for 40 years, but this experience would taint his memories, he told the rangers.

"I'd hit someone if they behaved like this in the pub," he shouted.

He gave the rangers his details, in between shouting abuse, the summary said.

Lampe turned on the female ranger, telling her she should be at home looking after children, and asking if she "got off at night" thinking about how she ruined everyone's day.

The rangers seized Lampe's gun, a Baikal 12-gauge double barrel shotgun, and 40 lead cartridges. 

Lampe had never held a fish or game licence issued by Fish and Game, which cost $93 for the 2017 season.

Fish and Game brought charges against Lampe at the Blenheim District Court, for hunting without a licence and obstructing a ranger.

They also charged him with using lead cartridges within 200 metres of water, which is illegal to prevent ducks from eating poisonous lead grit. Instead duck hunters were to use non-toxic steel cartridges.

Fish and Game's lawyer Nick McKessar said the shotgun and ammunition should be forfeited, and Fish and Game wanted to sell them to raise funds for their work.

Selling the shotgun would help prevent the cost of policing and prosecuting under the Wildlife Act being passed onto hunters in fees, he said.

Blenheim police also laid a charge, of illegally possessing a firearm.

Lampe admitted the charges in court on Wednesday.

He had previous convictions for obstructing police last year, assault in 2012, and his firearm's licence had been revoked.

Judge Chris Tuohy said people who lost their firearm licence and used guns anyway, and confronted authority in such a manner while using them, were a concern.

"I think people need to realise firearm offending is taken very seriously."

He remanded Lampe on bail to September 18 so his home could be assessed for an electronically-monitored sentence.

A decision about the fate of the firearm would be made at sentencing, Judge Tuohy said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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