East Gippsland police are setting their sights on illegal hunters and are determined to get them out of the bush.
For the past two weekends, police have been running operations in far East Gippsland focusing on those who recklessly flout the law in the name of hunting.
“We have some real cowboys out there not playing by the rules,” Inspector Mark Edwards said.
Operation Munaji 4 has involved police resources from all over the region infiltrating areas such as Bendoc, McKillops Bridge and Orbost in a bid to catch out those hunting irresponsibly.
Operating in teams, police have been checking vehicles, licences and guns.
Guns must be secured and not loaded while being carried and those in charge of them must be alcohol and drug free.
Police say the operation has so far proved successful with most hunters complying with legislation while others have blatantly flouted it. On the weekend of July 27 and 28, police apprehended two males in Marlo for a series of violations.
The pair, from New South Wales, have been charged with a number of indictable firearms offences, including possessing a loaded firearm in a public place as well as possessing controlled weapons, namely knives and batons.
The two men were also charged with offences under the Wildlife Act, which related to allegedly dismembering two wallabies.
Police have seized the men’s firearms and weapons.
The two, who were staying in Marlo over the weekend, will appear in a court at a later date.
Inspector Edwards said police intend to run these operations consistently.
“The majority of hunters are good and responsible people, but then you have those who will tarnish it for everyone else,” he said.
“We’ve had reports of people shooting from roadways and in the vicinity of houses.
“We will actively target these people ruthlessly, whether it be drug testing them or putting their vehicles off the road, we intend to bring down the full force of the law on them.”
Inspector Edwards said there would be a “zero tolerance approach” to those who defied laws while out hunting”.
“We want to eliminate the rogue element who spoil it for everyone else,” he said.