Firearms Safety

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 GMA 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 www.gma.vic.gov.au for more details.

Hunting with Vehicles

Statistics have shown that the use of vehicles is a significant factor in the number of the people who are injured or killed whilst hunting.

You should NEVER HAVE A LOADED FIREARM IN A VEHICLE – see the previous section on SPOTLIGHTING.

It is against the law to have a loaded firearm in a populous place or on a public road, see current Victorian Legislation.

The practice of riding in the back of a utility, tray vehicle or a – bush basher – [vehicles with the roof cut off and no roll bars or seat belts.] is plain irresponsible and extremely dangerous.

Vehicles in the bush or paddocks often hit rocks, stumps hidden by grass and soft banks and inclines result in many vehicles rolling over.

MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR PASSENGERS ARE SAFE BY ALWAYS WEARING A SEAT BELT.

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