An uncle and his nephew have been convicted of unlawful hunting, even though the rifle they were allegedly seen with has disappeared.
Sabin Barry Brewer and his nephew Matthew Dylan Brewer were observed pointing out areas of interest and looking through the scope of a hunting rifle on a rural block of land in Whanganui.
When confronted a while later no gun was found.
"While working on a puncture, the defendants were located by the witness," police prosecutor Drew Morrison said in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.
"They became evasive when asked about being at the property. Police were called and the defendants were located. A subsequent search by the police did not locate the firearm."
When spoken to, both defendants denied hunting deer on the property, claiming they were out for a drive when one of their vehicles tyres was punctured.
Duty solicitor Anna Brosnahan said Sabin Brewer pleaded guilty to get the matter dealt with as quickly and as easily as possible.
"My instructions are that there was no firearm," Brosnahan said.
"They were out scoping the place, but there was no firearm found."
Judge Philip Crayton imposed a fine on both uncle and nephew of $600. He also ordered them to pay $130 in court costs each.
"You know you shouldn't have been on that land whether you were scoping or were just unsuccessful in hunting," he said.
"If you want permission to be on land, ask. Otherwise, stay away from it."