McCurdy recounts Harrietville deer shooting in parliament
A DISTURBING tale of a deer that was shot, butchered and left headless by a hunter in a Harrietville town resident’s yard has been recounted in Victoria’s Parliament by Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley).
The worrying incident has also sparked concerns on Harrietville community forum’s website, prompted Alpine mayor Ron Janas to speak with police and led Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) to encourage people to contact Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville.
One community source confirmed that shots were heard at about 1:45am on August 27.
Another resident, Fiona Hammond, wrote on the community forum site that the incident occurred next to Harrietville Primary School.
“(The shooter) took the head for a trophy and left the body in the yard where they shot it,” she said.
“The resident woke that morning with his grandchildren in tow to be greeted by this horrendous sight in the front yard.
“The police say they can do nothing, yet they did not even approach the Harrietville hotel motel to view CCTV footage, which would have captured the vehicle driving about.”
But Alpine mayor Ron Janas has confirmed that he discussed the incident with Bright police Sen- ior Sergeant Doug Incoll and had also taken a call from Wangaratta local area commander Inspector Kerry Hicks.
Mr McCurdy told parliament he had been contacted by a resident with concerns about the number of sambar deer entering the town and people’s properties.
“…But more recently (the resident) has developed a greater concern with the deer hunters,” he said.
“They use high- powered weapons in close proximity to Harrietville, around homes.
“The resident cited a recent example of a sambar deer that was shot next to Harrietville Primary School, which is right in the centre of town, during the middle of the night.”
He said the head was taken as a trophy.
Mr McCurdy also said four sambar deer had been shot at Smoko.
“Again the heads were removed as trophies and the bodies left to rot,” he said.
Mr McCurdy said local people understood that recreational hunting was a method of reducing the sambar deer population but illegal hunters were breaking the rules and making them feel unsafe.
He said there were two important recommendations from the Victorian parliament’s recent feral animal inquiry that he would pursue on behalf of residents affected by illegal deer hunting.
He said Victoria Police and the Game Management Authority should work collaboratively to better monitor and educate the community on reporting mechanisms for illegal hunting activity.
The government should also ensure that all coordinated recreational hunting programs were appropriately supervised, involve wide consultation, are well advertised, are rigorously evaluated and are transparent to ensure the concerns and needs of communities are addressed.