A Riccarton man has admitted illegally using a .22 calibre rifle to shoot swans on Lake Ellesmere.
Christchurch District Court Judge Brian Callaghan remanded Jie He Zhou for sentence on December 4 after he pleaded guilty to the Wildlife Act charge.
The prosecution was brought by the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council, whose general manager, Rod Cullinane, told of a police officer hearing a “barrage” of .22 rifle fire near the end of Drain Road on June 7.
He was taken out onto Lake Ellesmere in a boat where he saw Zhou in a mai-mai with a .22 Ruger rifle and several spent shells were on the floor.
The officer asked Zhou if he had been shooting swans on the water, and Zhou said he had. He said his friend was out on the lake collecting them.
Mr Callinane told the court: “The reason Fish and Game doesn’t allow rifles on or over water for shooting game birds is principally for safety reasons. This was in the middle of the hunting season and there could have been other people around. We regard it as a serious offence for that reason.”
Defence counsel Phillip Allan said Zhou was a holder of a firearm licence and it was legal to shoot the birds. However, language difficulties had led to him using the wrong type of firearm.
The case was remanded for sentencing so that submissions could be heard on whether the rifle should be forfeited. Zhou disputes that the weapon can be forfeited because it was not seized at the time.