Mick Gilliland sits on both sides of the fence as both a hunter and the caretaker of a large Widgee property where poachers regularly trespass to shoot deer.
Mick Gilliland sits on both sides of the fence as both a hunter and the caretaker of a large Widgee property where poachers regularly trespass to shoot deer. Lee Gailer

Blitz on illegal poaching

AS both a hunter and the caretaker of a 6000 property at Widgee, Mick Gilliland has had his fair share of dealings with poachers.

While it is rare, he's caught a couple red-handed and is especially vigilant at this time of year during deer hunting season.

He said graziers Brian Dray, Fabian Webb and Tony Perrett had pushed for a crackdown on illegal hunting on their properties and in nearby state forests because of an increase in the dangerous activity.

"It's become a huge problem," Mr Gilliland said.

"Before the last blitz there was a lot of shooting going on in the mornings.

"We were hearing shots being fired nearly every day and one morning I counted 15 rounds being fired."

In response to this growing problem, Operation Spotlight 6 is underway, involving Stock Squad police and officers from Kilkivan, Goomeri, Gympie and Imbil with the assistance of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services.

Property owners and the Stock Squad have installed surveillance cameras to monitor sites of interest and trail bikes will be used to patrol in rough terrain.

Fabian Webb said the farming community was pleased police and the Stock Squad had taken on illegal poaching.

He said it was un-nerving to hear shots being fired on his property and said members of his family could be hit while out mustering.

He said many graziers had given hunters permission to use their land and licensed shooters just needed to just ask.

Gympie Times


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