Illegal national park hunters catch heavy fines in court

Two men hunting illegally in Yanga National Park have been fined a total of $4500 in the Hay Local Court.

River red gums on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River

The pair, Travis Clare and Dylan Thomas, claimed to have been helping to reduce the feral pig population in the area but this was rejected by the magistrate who fined Clare $2500 and Thomas $2000 on 5 July.

They were also warned that a repeat offence would lead to the seizure of their vehicle.

The court was told that in December last year, NPWS rangers were alerted to a ute with pig dogs and a pig carcass on board heading into Yanga National Park.

After finding the gate chain cut, rangers followed tracks along the Murrumbidgee River until they saw a white Toyota ute with hunting equipment and pig dogs.

A campfire was burning beside the ute despite local fire bans and the ute’s number plates were covered with tape.

Rangers challenged the men, who drove away forcing their way clear of park officers.

The pair were intercepted by the National Park officers and police and charged with a several offences including illegal park entry, driving with obscured number plates, carrying hunting equipment unlicenced hunting and lighting a fire where prohibited.

“Hunting in National Parks is dangerous for park staff, visitors and wildlife and this sends a strong message to people who don’t respect our parks,” Lower Darling Area Manager, Jo Gorman, said.

“Our rangers have a range of legal powers, are always on the lookout and working closely with NSW Police. We’re asking anyone who sees things like this to contact their nearest National Parks and Wildlife Service Office, Police or Crime Stoppers.”

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