Spotlight Hunting is Dangerous

( Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson says spotlighting on public land clearly breaches firearms laws and won’t be tolerated following three separate incidents over Labour Weekend, including the death of Rosemary Ives.

“There is a reason hunting at night is prohibited and that’s because it’s dangerous,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“Ms Ives died needlessly and she was very nearly joined only 24 hours later by a Department of Conservation staff member who was camping at Butchers Flat in the Marlborough Sounds when a vehicle drove by firing off rounds.

“It is only by pure luck a second family isn’t grieving today.”

The incident has been referred to police.

Ms Wilkinson says Wairarapa DOC staff had also received complaints of spotlighting within 50m of Totara Flats hut and had referred the matter to police.

“The hut was full of trampers who were quite rightly fearful of the shots being fired very close to them. One stray round is all it takes for someone to be killed or injured.

“DOC takes a no tolerance approach to night hunting and I would encourage legitimate hunters and the public to do the same.

“If you see or hear such activity then report it, either to police or DOC.

“Responsible hunters are being tarnished by the actions of a few cowboys and they need to speak out.”

The Arms Act puts clear responsibility on hunters to stay away from public places such as huts and camping grounds, and to avoid endangering, frightening or annoying other people. DOC refers any breaches of the law to the police.

Spotlighting from vehicles generally occurs in the spring months as the roadside grass growth is attractive to hungry deer.

Media Release 27 October 2010 from Department of Conservation.