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Wildlife crime officers in the Highlands and Islands have been carrying out anti-deer poaching patrols across the region to clampdown on this illegal activity.
Operation Moon is ongoing and will take place through-out autumn and into the run up to Christmas and will include dedicated patrols in hot-spot areas of known deer poaching, visits to game dealers and targeting out of season and un-authorised shooting of deer.
This follows on from successful initiatives during the summer which resulted in one individual being charged and reported to the Procurator Fiscal for shooting out of season deer.
Deer poaching can be a profitable business, with the potential for venison to end up on the black market.
There is also a question of food preparation hygiene when animals are taken for human consumption.
It is a crime that is usually committed during the night and poachers will often trespass on private land to get to the deer.
Commenting Police Scotland wildlife crime officer Constable Daniel Sutherland said:
"Deer poaching is a national wildlife crime priority for Police Scotland.
"Those involved in poaching are quite often involved in other areas of criminality and this is another avenue to target criminals and disrupt their activities."
Colin Shedden, Scottish director of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation added:
“Those who poach deer care little for their welfare and may resort to inappropriate firearms, illegal snares or even use dogs.
"Nor will they respect the close seasons which are designed to offer protection for dependent young.
"We would encourage all responsible deer stalkers and managers to let Police Scotland know of any suspicious activity or evidence of deer being taken illegally.”
Any information relating to illegal deer poaching can be passed to Police Scotland on 101.
Alternatively, information can be passed to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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