A group of illegal hunters were caught by a fencer on a Central Otago farm, prompting police to warn of the dangers of an increase in poaching in the region.
The men were disturbed by the worker “hunting unlawfully” on a sheep station in Matakanui, Central Otago, on December 9, Senior Constable Darren Cox said in a statement today.
“The land owner had not known this group were on his property. As well as the fencers working, the farmer also had a pest controller working in the same vicinity.”
A police spokeswoman said none of the group had yet been charged but investigations were continuing.
It is not the first time unlawful hunters have been spotted in the Central Otago region in recent months.
Cox said there have been several incidents of poaching, with police taking these each “extremely seriously”.
Police were concerned about the “extremely dangerous” offending, Cox added.
“Unlawful hunting puts other people who may be in the area at risk and could have potentially fatal consequences,” he said.
It also carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.
All hunting related items including firearms, knives, dogs, GPS units, and vehicles could also be seized.
Police urged all landowners and station managers to call police immediately if they discover people unlawfully on their land.
“They can be assured appropriate action will be taken against anyone carrying out this type of offending,” Cox said.
Hunters are obliged to obtain permission from the landowner or permits from the Department of Conservation.