Hunting 'enthusiast' caught poaching while intoxicated

The hunters must each pay $600 to replace two red deer they shot in Marlborough. (File photo)

The hunters must each pay $600 to replace two red deer they shot in Marlborough. (File photo)

A hunter has been caught poaching while intoxicated.

Builder Ferguson Michael James Shaw, 26, was on a hunting trip with two friends, including Blenheim meat inspector Joshua Martin Svensson, in Marlborough on August 12.

Shaw was a former member of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, which promoted safe, responsible use of firearms and a code of ethics for hunters.

They were driving down Awatere Valley Rd, about 70 kilometres southwest of Blenheim, when they spotted two red deer in a paddock about midnight, a police summary said.

The men got out of the vehicle and shot the deer from the side of the road.

They were pulling the deer out of the paddock when the farmer who owned the property appeared. His house was nearby and he heard the shots, and came out to investigate.

A third man bolted into some bushes.

The farmer called the police and spoke to Shaw and Svensson, who agreed to wait until police arrived.

Police confiscated Shaw's .270 rifle, some hunting knives, ammunition and headlamps.

Shaw gave a breath test reading between 250 and 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. It is illegal to hunt while intoxicated.

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Shaw told police he did not know the deer were on private property, and did not notice their ear tags.

Police sought the forfeiture of the rifle and hunting equipment, and the farmer sought reparation.

Shaw and Svensson admitted poaching at the Blenheim District Court on Monday. Shaw also admitted using a firearm while intoxicated.

His lawyer Bryony Millar said Shaw was "deeply remorseful".

"He is usually very responsible," Millar said.

"He accepts there is no justification for what he did and he apologises."

He gained his firearms licence three years ago. He knew he would lose his licence, and did not object to the forfeiture of his rifle, worth $800, Millar said.

He preferred to pay a fine instead of community work, she said.

After credit for guilty pleas and his offer of reparation, Judge David Ruth convicted Shaw and ordered him to pay $600 in reparation to the farmer within a month.

He was fined $500 and his rifle and hunting equipment was forfeited to police.

Judge Ruth said he accepted Shaw was "an enthusiast" who had let himself down.

"Hunting while intoxicated is not a good look at all."

Svensson was convicted and fined $300, and would also contribute $600 in reparation.

* An earlier version of this story said Shaw was a member of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association. He had not been a member since 2015.

 - The Marlborough Express

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