Hunters armed with knives and hunting dogs fitted with GPS-tracking devices have been busted by Queensland authorities in a costly rendezvous earlier this month.
Unarmed rangers confronted two men on bright red quad bikes on November 9. Video of the incident shows one with a large knife inside a leather scabbard strapped to his waist. The other can be seen with his tattooed arms firmly crossed as rangers issue an infringement notice to him.
The pair had set out in search of wild pigs but were yet to track any down. They were each fined $717 after making “full admissions” to hunting inside the Lockyer National Park at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, the department of environment (DES) said.
The hunters were stopped during a blitz by rangers, beginning on the first weekend of November. The operation followed days of intelligence gathering inside two national parks and a state forest.
“The safety of visitors and staff in our national parks and state forests is our number one priority, and we have no tolerance for those who jeopardise the safety of others,” senior compliance ranger Luke Male said.
“The hunters were carrying knives, riding unregistered quadbikes without helmets and had brought dogs with them into the national park.”
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It wasn’t just hunters who were caught doing the wrong thing. In total $7,625 worth of penalties were issued within Lockyer State Forest, Lockyer National Park and Crows Nest National Park.
While rangers had previously taken an “educational approach” to enforcement, Mr Male said “the time for that approach is over”. He said “joyriders” on trail bikes continue to be an issue inside Queensland Parks because their presence is causing “erosion and substantial environmental damage”. In total, 21 infringement notices were issued in relation to illegal use of trail bikes and quad bikes.
Illegal acts inside the parks are a danger to both themselves and other visitors, DES warned. Two people were also fined $575 each for swimming in a restricted waterhole.
“People have died or been seriously injured at the falls, and there is a high risk of rock fall which is why they are closed to the public,” Mr Male said.
Anyone with information about illegal activities inside Queensland’s parks is urged to contact DES on 1300 130 372.
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