Peoples lives are being put at risk by the ''stupidity and
recklessness'' of hunters, and in some cases poachers, police
Incidents in recent weeks have frightened people in rural
areas. A landowner, who was irrigating at night, took cover
in a ditch after a person shooting rabbits from the roadside
fired into the paddock he was working in.
In another incident, an employed night shooter was
spotlighted by a poacher.
This week, a Waikerikeri Valley couple expressed concern for
their young sons' lives after shots were fired near the
family home. The couple, who wish to remain anonymous for
their own safety, are new to the area and say, though they
are no strangers to rural life, they think people shooting
close to their house and from a moving vehicle are being
The hunters have to go through a gate about 50m from the
couple's house to get to the area where they have permission
Often, as they are approaching or leaving the gate, the
hunters shoot from their moving quad bikes. While sometimes
they shoot away from the couple's house, at other times they
shoot across their section towards a paddock on the other
This week, as their sons, aged 4 and 9, went outside to
welcome their mother home about 9pm, a shot was fired from a
neighbouring paddock. The couple assume the shot was directed
at a flock of birds near their house and in the direction of
''And that was it for me ... They're just reckless.''
The couple have since heard from other valley residents who
have experienced similar incidents.
Detective Sergeant Liz Williams, of Alexandra, said such
incidents had been ongoing and seemed to be becoming more
common, though that could be because they were being reported
''The offenders who are stopped for shooting rabbits from the
roadside are often known members of your communities who see
no harm in their actions ... despite the fact the person
standing in their paddock is out of torch view but well
within the bullet's range,'' she said.
''Their stupidity and recklessness often defies belief.''
Three young fallow deer were shot in a roadside paddock in
Galloway this week. A nearby landowner reported hearing shots
about 10.30pm and the following morning, evidence of gutted
deer was found.
''The thief had shot them from the roadside then dragged the
carcasses over the fence to gut them,'' Det Sgt Williams
Another issue facing farmers was large-scale stock thefts,
Two recent sheep thefts in Central Otago cost the farmers
concerned more than $100,000.
''This is a massive financial blow to those targeted, and an
incredibly self-absorbed action by some greedy individual,''
Det Sgt Williams said.
In November, eight poachers were trespassed from 96 farms in
the wider Central Otago area under an anti-poaching scheme.