Two Hawke's Bay men are facing charges of unlawful hunting and are likely to be among the first to face tough new penalties which were introduced last November.

The pair were charged by police under the Wild Animal Control Act after an incident on a Patoka property earlier this year which involved the unlawful taking of a stag.

Police Senior Constable Pete Gimblett said the owner of the property wanted to pursue the complaint to send out the message to unlawful hunters that it was "not on".

Mr Gimblett said the inquiry had been a long and involved one and the arrests came at a time when Hawke's Bay rural property owners were effectively preparing for an increase in hunting incidents as the annual stag "roar" was under way.


What had pleased police and property owners was a review and changes to the Wild Animal Control Act which came into force last November.

The penalties for illegal hunting had been bumped up markedly to a maximum $100,000 fine and up to a year's imprisonment.

The arrested men are expected to make a court appearance in about two weeks.