Cameras in forests for illicit hunts

Troy Hogarth fixes a sign aimed at illegal hunters. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Troy Hogarth fixes a sign aimed at illegal hunters. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

A CRACKDOWN on illegal hunting in NSW state forests over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend aims to enforce requirements introduced in February.

Cameras have been installed in forests to identify people doing the wrong thing.

In the Albury district, compliance officers and police will be on the lookout for offenders.

Recreational hunters were allowed back into state forests, including Woomargama, in February after the activity was suspended in July last year following a review of the Game Council of NSW.

The ban was lifted but with new safety requirements such as hunters undertaking safety training.

Hunters must also carry a GPS-enabled device that contains hunting and exclusion map data provided by the Department of Primary Industries at all times when hunting.

Compliance officers with the Gaming Licensing Unit and police will be out in force as part of the four-day operation starting Friday.

The unit’s team leader for compliance Troy Hogarth said surveillance cameras in state forests would help officers identify and detect illegal hunters.

“With the reopening of state forests for hunting, there is certainly a focus on safety and education and as part of the weekend’s operations and we will be checking that licensed hunters comply with all the new regulations,” he said.

Mr Hogarth said there were a range of penalties that could apply to illegal hunters.

“There’s penalties that can apply from a verbal warning through to a court attendance notice,” he said.

“We consider illegal hunting as people hunting in a state forest without written permission from the DPI.”

Mr Hogarth said there had been reports of illegal hunting in the region since re-opening in February.

“What we have found is that game hunting licence holders are some of our best informants as they provide information when they see it in the forest and we investigate those complaints,” he said.

If people witness what they believe to be illegal hunting they can report the activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.