By Christine McKay
Poaching in the district is on the up and Dannevirke Police will be taking a hard line with offenders.
"Poachers are on our radar," Senior Sergeant Nathan Davis of the Tararua police said. "We don't want to stop people enjoying themselves, but we do want to address this poaching [and trespassing\ issue."
Mr Davis said it was important for hunters to play by the rules, after two reports of poaching late last week, in Dannevirke and Weber.
"I'm appalled by poaching because farmers don't come into town and walk across the backyards here," he said. "It's a farmer's right to say no to people accessing their properties. After all, they're managing significant, multi-million-dollar businesses and hunters don't want to lose the privilege of going on to farmers' land."
With reports of people going on to farms with spotlights without permission, Mr Davis said accidents were more likely to happen. "I've had phone calls from farmers who see suspicious cars parked alongside their properties and I do feel sorry for farmers who get hit up a lot for access," he said.
"Some of them are living with huge mortgages and if you've got people walking through your property which has a million dollars of stock ...
"Farmers deserve the courtesy of a phone call and I've a great deal of sympathy with irate land owners. Remember, it could be tupping on the farm, or dairy farmers drying off their herds, or spring calving and lambing. It's no place to be without permission."
And it seems hunters aren't afraid to boast of their poaching, as Mr Davis, a keen hunter himself, discovered recently.
"I bumped into a man up the Kumeti who said he'd been poaching, but someone else was already there instead this time. So it must be rife to tell a complete stranger you bump into in the bush about it," he said.
Mr Davis said police want people to be safe and enjoy their hunting, but it was important farmers be given a decent amount of respect from hunters.
"We all want to hunt, but we want to come home safely," he said. "If you're caught poaching it will negatively affect your firearms licence."