Spotlighting from a vehicle for vermin

Spotlighting from a vehicle is a common practice on private land, however it has the potential to be one of the most dangerous forms of vermin control. Having shooters in the back of a utility vehicle where there is a potential for a driver to inadvertently run into a culvert or hit a hidden stump, may result in the occupants being thrown out onto the ground with their firearms and an accidental discharge may occur. ( You must not spot light on public roads or in a recognised deer habitat. Please contact the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136 186 for further information. )

If you must spotlight from a vehicle we suggest you follow these rules to ensure your safety:

  • Never have more than one firearm in use at any one time
  • Position the shooter in the front passenger seat of the vehicle with the firearm unloaded (no ammunition in the chamber) and pointing out the front passenger side window. Never shoot from the back seat
  • Load the firearm only when ready to shoot and then unload the firearm after the shot has been taken or when you have lost the opportunity to shoot
  • If you have shot an animal, the shooter should unload the firearm and exit the vehicle before placing the firearm on the ground
  • After attending to the animal, and when everyone else has reentered the vehicle, the shooter should pick up the unloaded firearm and reenter the vehicle
  • Remember - the more people there are, the more potential for a mishap. At all times point the firearm in a safe direction which will depend on where you are at the time
Note that there are significant penalties for being in possession of a firearm and spotlight in recognised deer habitat, unless exempt. Please refer to the Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2012 and the Victorian Hunting Guide for more details.