Enforcement during 2014 Spring Hunting Season
A complement of 69 officers, comprising regular ALE units supported by additional police and AFM personnel continued their deployment in the field in various areas around Malta and Gozo between 0500 and 1500 hours. Over and above this deployment, field surveillance during early morning hours was also temporarily boosted with additional daily complement ranging from a minimum of 11 officers up to 24 officers.
Field deployment of 39 officers was maintained between 1300 and 2130, whilst 4 officers were deployed on night patrols until 0500 to monitor significant roosts of protected birds. Since the start of the hunting season on 12th April, an unmanned aerial surveillance vehicle (UAV) flew 22 sorties, the majority of which were conducted during hours when hunting was not permitted. Wild Birds Regulation Unit officials continued to provide assistance in surveillance and investigations on a 24 hour basis.
Since the start of the season until Thursday 24th April, officers carried out 1,469 spot-checks on individual hunters (circa 15% of all licensed hunters) to verify compliance with special spring hunting license conditions. These spot checks were performed in addition to over a thousand routine field patrols and inspections. Up until Thursday 24th April, 40 suspected offenders were apprehended. These persons are being charged with a total of 44 suspected offences that have been disclosed until Thursday 24th April, of which 36 offences were of minor nature as follows:
Nature of the offence
|Number of Cases|
|Hunting within prohibited distances||6|
|Possession of a shotgun with a magazine capable of holding more than 2 rounds of ammunition||5|
|Possession of overloaded shotgun||2|
|Failure to declare shooting of a game bird||4|
|Failure to be in possession of the special license and / or carnet de chasse whilst hunting||6|
|Failure to declare going out hunting on the carnet de chasse booklet.||6|
|Leaving a firearm / ammunition unattended||3|
|Possession of heavy gauge shot||2|
|Possession of pre-recorded bird calls||2|
Eight violations are considered to be more serious as these involved suspected targeting of protected birds, or hunting within a bird sanctuary, as follows:
|Nature of the offence||Number of Cases|
|Illegal trapping of protected birds||3|
|Illegal shooting of a protected bird||2|
|Hunting in a bird sanctuary||1|
|Hunting in a bird sanctuary, the use of illegally manufactured unregistered shotgun fitted with a silencer and possession of a shot protected bird held at a private residence||1|
|Possession of a shotgun during unpermitted hours (case of suspected illegal hunting)||1|
All cases are being prosecuted.