Amongst some of the land i shoot over (only i have permission) are 2 adjacent farms of 230 acres each,split down the middle by a road, both surrounded by woodland.
Last spring i noticed 4 red deer stags, consisting of 1 large beautiful 12 point stag and 3 young stags (prickets) i took out 1 of the prickets as they were chewing up the crops too much, this dispersed them for a while but they returned a few weeks later and settled down again.
They had the rut in October and reformed their little group afterwards, it was fantastic listening to them roar in the middle of the night, it echoed all down the valley.
I decided i would take another pricket but leave the trophy animal well alone.
So i went out yesterday, walked about 400 yards from the road and caught a whiff of dead animal, i'm sure you all know what i mean, once you smell something rotting you never forget it.
Walked a few yards further and there lay my beautiful stag, shot through the back with just its head removed,crawling with maggots, shot just for the antlers, they couldn't even be bothered to remove the evidence by dragging it away.
It was alive 10 days ago, i left a warning note to the poachers and informed the police but in the end it will down to me to catch them, and to be honest if i laid a hand on them its me who would get into trouble with the police and lose my guns, and more than likely me who would end up in hospital anyway!
So now i take my camera with me every time, when I do find out who it was i will update you but don't hold your breath!
The worrying thing is these toe rags have passed all the checks done by the police and are running around the countryside with a high powered rifle,unless of course they are not licensed.
I have heard that a farm manager blocked a couple of poachers in using his vehicle near Crediton, but before the police got there he got a pasting for his trouble.
Cheers for now