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Game bird hunters warned to expect ‘friendly’ inspections

Fish & Game: game bird hunters warned to expect ‘friendly’ inspections as season gets underway

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.

Fish & Game communications advisor Andrew Currie says “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.

“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 again 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’s 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.”

Basic Rules for Safe Firearm Handling

1. Treat every firearm as loaded

Check every firearm yourself and pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.

2. Always point firearms in a safe direction

Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.

3. Load a firearm only when ready to fire

Load the magazine only after you reach your shooting area. Load the chamber only when ready to shoot. Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.

4. Identify your target beyond all doubt

Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you. Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise

5. Check your firing zone

Think! What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond? Do not fire when you know others are in your firing zone

6. Store firearms and ammunition safely

When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately. And never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended

7. Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

Ends

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