Previously secret records obtained from the Game Council show some the organisation’s licensed hunters were excessively drunk and drug affected while in possession of firearms on shooting trips into state forests and, in at least one case, inside a national park.
The documents have emerged during an inquiry into the Game Council, which was due to start issuing permits for shooting in national parks (including several in the northern rivers) this month.
High ranking officials within the organisation have also been implicated.
In one case an amateur hunter was pulled over by police while driving at night in a state forest with a passenger who had a semi automatic rifle fitted with a laser sight and a silencer.
Greens NSW MP and environment spokeperson David Shoebridge said, ‘these documents reveal a culture of booze, drugs and reckless use of firearms which show just how dangerous a growing gun and hunting subculture is’.
‘Whether it is being blind drunk on a hunting trip, offering drugs to passers-by or pulling down warning signs before hunting in a busy forest, what is on display is a reckless hunting subculture that is increasingly out of control.
‘The Game Council’s own records show that in just one year there has been a litany of gross safety breaches by the organisation’s licensed amateur hunters.
‘Now that the extent of the danger from amateur hunting is known, the premier must move to protect the public and our native forests and reserves from these weekend warriors.’
Documents obtained from the Game Council reveal numerous breaches, including one in which hunters set up camp in a sate forest after pulling down warning signs not to hunt because there were loggers operating the forest
In another, an amateur hunter on an expired licence, and two male companions, were found at a hut inside South Eden National Park with a firearm and ammunition. The amateur hunter told rangers that he was told by his licence instructor that he could hunt in national parks.
A later investigation revealed witnesses who described seeing a number of heavily intoxicated young men loudly revving their vehicles’ engines, spinning the wheels and shouting at each other. One was so heavily intoxicated he ‘was seen to fall flat on his face without any attempt to protect himself’.