A joint operation, between Victoria Police and the Game Management Authority, has resulted in four men, convicted of illegal hunting offences, having to pay a total of about $6000.
Earlier this year the four pleaded guilty in the Sunshine Magistrates Court to illegal spotlighting, firearm offences and illegally shooting protected wildlife in north east Victoria in April 2019.
The men were ordered to pay a combined total of almost $6,000, were placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds and had their firearms and equipment forfeited and destroyed.
GMA Compliance and Intelligence director Paul Stevens said officers intercepted the offenders in their vehicle at around 11pm, on April 27, last year, in the Buffalo Valley area.
"A total of five firearms, nearly 500 live rounds of ammunition, ten high-powered torches and spotlights, one thermal imaging unit and a number of dead protected animal species, including possums and birds, were found and seized by GMA officers and police," Mr Stevens said.
"When questioned, all four men admitted to hunting the protected wildlife at night and one of them did not have a firearms licence."
As part of a joint agency patrol, the GMA teamed up with police officers from Bright, Whitfield and Wangaratta, to target areas where community members had reported illegal hunting activity occurring at night.
Mr Stevens said hunters needed to make sure they were familiar with Victorian laws, were not hunting illegally and held the appropriate licences.
"Hunting protected wildlife, illegal spotlighting and irresponsible behaviour will not be tolerated. It is dangerous and can put people and wildlife at risk," Mr Stevens said.
"Those who break the law face significant fines and penalties.
"They may be prosecuted, have their equipment confiscated and lose their Game and Firearms licences.
"In some cases, offenders may face jail terms."