Illegal hunters are in the sights of authorities this Easter break, with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Game Licensing Unit (GLU) warning forest users a major compliance campaign, Operation Crosshairs, will focus on those doing the wrong thing.
DPI Game Licensing Unit Compliance Team Leader Troy Hogarth said NSW maintains strict conditions and regulations for public land hunting and enforcement officers, in conjunction with NSW Police, will be out in force during Operation Crosshairs.
"The operation forms part of the DPI's Shut the Gate on Illegal Hunting initiative in partnership with the NSW Police Force," Mr Hogarth said.
"We have a very good rate of compliance in NSW, and we are very pleased to see so many licensed hunters respect the rules and regulations for hunting in State forests.
"NSW State forests are great places to visit during the Easter break, and it is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for hunting.
"But for those hunters who don't follow the rules and continue to break the law, you will be found and prosecuted.
"The DPI Game Licensing Unit will conduct regular patrols and covert surveillance as part of Operation Crosshairs, to catch illegal hunters on the hop.
>"We will be utilising surveillance cameras and regular patrols to keep a close eye on the forests, checking hunting licences and equipment.
"Heavy penalties apply for those doing the wrong thing, and include the seizure of hunting equipment including knives, firearms, dog tracking collars, motor vehicles, as well as court imposed fines."
All hunters must now pass two additional education modules on outdoor navigation and the rules around accessing State forests for hunting and they must ensure that they carry a working GPS device with detailed mapping data installed at all times when hunting in State forests.
Mr Hogarth said the department takes the issue of safety very seriously, and the forests were only re-opened for recreational hunting in 2014 following an extensive safety and risk review.
"We are very proud of our safety record in State forests in NSW and we are certainly committed to ensuring this is maintained," Mr Hogarth said.
"Any suspicions of illegal hunting should be reported to the Shut the Gate on Illegal Hunting report line - 1800 SHUT IT (1800 7488 48), and community members are encouraged to note time and day, location and vehicle registration.
"People should immediately phone 000 if there is a direct threat to the community. At no time should any illegal hunters be approached directly.
"It's vital that we work with other forest users to share and maintain recreation in our State forests." Sorry, only registered users can see this content. Please Login or Register.