Deer hunters targeted in fatal Jamieson hit run

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POLICE believe they are closing in on those responsible for the death of Jamieson man, Bryce Airs, after he was killed in a hit and run incident last November.

Police have said a splinter group of rogue hunters hold vital information, with Road Crime Investigations Detective Inspector, Stuart McGregor, describing those involved as being “a person who has no morals.”

Bryce Airs was walking home from a nearby hotel when he was struck and killed by a vehicle on the Mansfield-Woods Point Road around midnight on November 25.

“Our investigation has very clearly led us to a small rogue group of illegal hunters who break the law; they hunt during the night and they hunt for deer,” Det Insp McGregor said.

“Some of Bryce’s last words were that he thought he may have been struck by lightning.

“We believe that Bryce may have mistaken the flash of spotlights for the flash of lightening.”

The post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Airs was standing at the time he was hit – and that he was most likely struck by a high vehicle with a bull bar.

“We are coming – we are going to be knocking on the door sooner than you think,” Det Insp McGregor warned.

Detectives received information that in a reserve adjacent to where the collision occurred, Matthews Reserve, a large stag was known to be grazing.

It is believed that prior to Bryce’s death, this information was also brought to the attention of spot-lighters, and that they had been looking for it.

“It’s a known fact that you’re not allowed to hunt between sunset and sunrise around Jamieson, however we know illegal hunters operate in that area,” Det Insp McGregor said.

“After a recent operation, where we travelled up to the area to see who would be moving around during the night at a similar time to when Bryce was hit, there was not a lot of traffic.

“It is a remote, quiet location with the vast majority of traffic made up of illegal hunters.

“What ties into our investigation is that we are aware of some of the practises used by hunters when targeting deer.

“Sometimes, they will shoot them and sometimes they will run them down and kill them, often driving with lights off before startling them with spotlights.”

Det Insp McGregor said it was time the Airs family had closure.

“I have no doubt there are other people who know what happened that night – I see this as an opportunity for you to come forward.

“We want to hear your side of the story, come and tell us what happened, maybe panic kicked in, maybe alcohol was involved, maybe people were scared because they knew they were hunting illegally.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit an online report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.


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