Fines for duck hunt protesters

TWO duck hunting protesters have been convicted on 40 charges between them relating to incidents on the opening weekend of duck hunting season in 2010 at Dowds Morass State Game Reserve near Sale.

A 33-year-old woman from Burwood was fined $2100 and a 32-year-old man from Watsonia was fined $1600 in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on January 29.

Each was also ordered to pay $7574 in costs to the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

The charges, filed by DSE, arose out of a series of incidents involving interactions between the accused and three groups of hunters.

They included continuously hindering and harassing of hunters and being on the wetland at restricted times.

Victoria Police also issued charges against the two, concerning use of offensive language and theft of signs on public land concerning the same three groups of hunters.

The hearing was held over 16 days because of a large number of witnesses.

In passing his judgement, the Magistrate said their actions were illegal, which they knew was the case.

“In all respects they should have been aware they were at risk of acting contrary to the law.”

The responsibility for managing Victoria’s games species, including the management of duck hunting was transferred over to the Department of Primary Industries in 2012.

DPI Game Victoria director Simon Toop welcomed the court findings.

Mr Toop said new regulations which came into force late last year aimed to create a safer situation on wetlands during the duck hunting season.

“Hunters should be allowed to go about their lawful activity without being hindered, harassed, abused and having their property stolen,” he said.

“The new regulations strengthen the previous laws and protestors should abide by them to ensure everyone’s safety.”

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