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It only takes a ricochet for pest control to turn into human tragedy and Alexandra police are urging people to be cautious when shooting near built-up areas.
Acting Sergeant Graham Perkins said the use of firearms near residential areas was an ongoing issue in Central Otago, and many would-be hunters were unaware discharging a firearm in a built-up area was an offence.
"People think they have a right to go into areas close to buildings but they just don’t know who is around. There could be people out walking or biking for example."
The face of Central Otago was rapidly changing; housing and lifestyle blocks were cropping up in areas once used for recreational hunting or pest control.
"The responsibility for safety is with the person using the firearm," he said.
"They need to check their firing zone and to always identify their target beyond all doubt.
"This means firearms licence holders also need to adapt to the change in our local landscape and how people are now using it."
In some cases it would be wiser for people to consider heading further out of Alexandra when they wanted to go hunting.
Acting Sgt Perkins said land owners should also be aware and considerate of who was using land adjacent to their own.