Poachers blamed for alarming death rate among deer on Crowle moors - and must be stopped
Young deer are being killed on Crowle moors at alarming rates, wildlife experts say.
Poachers are being blamed for some of the deaths of the 90 or so deer that roam around on the moors.
The issue of the welfare of the wild animals was raised at a Crowle and Ealand Town Council meeting by Crowle resident John Carney.
Mr Carney said he was concerned about the area of the moors which had been fenced off by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
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"What's going on is atrocious," he said.
"Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has put fences up to stop the herd from roaming.
"There have also been poachers down there one hour before dawn and an hour after dusk, shooting the wild deer.
"They're decimating the herd. They're being chased from pillar to post.
"Unfortunately the fawns are unable to jump the fence when mothers are fleeing hunters' guns and are often found dead day after day, hanging by their hind legs on the barbed wire and nobody is doing anything about it."
Mr Carney said a high tower, located on land on Will Pitts Road, Crowle was being used by poachers as a shooting range for the deer.
Dave Bromwich, head of nature reserves at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, said the fencing was needed.
"The fencing forms an enclosure for sheep that are grazing and helps us to reinstate the peat bog, as it is the biggest lowland peat bog in Western Europe," he said.
"The deer are wild animals and are free to roam over 8,000 acres at Crowle Moors. Some deer have been getting caught in the fence.
"This happens, but it is a very small number of incidents – more deer get stuck in the drains and ditches.
"It's a problem we are facing all over the county, but any incident of deer being hung on fencing is upsetting."
Mr Bromwich estimated there are around 90 deer on the moors and deer has been on the site since the 1800s.
Mr Bromwich said he was aware of poaching, but advised members of the public to report it to the police instead of confronting the culprits.
He said: "Deer is valuable on the black market and poachers are fairly strong characters who have said they will poach if they want to poach.
"There are people who are legally allowed to shoot deer on their own land because they hold a licence. They are not poachers."
Mr Bromwich said the tower Mr Carney referred to was erected to shoot deer by the previous landowner and is still used legitimately by the current landowner for the same purpose.
But Mr Bromwich agreed that it would not be difficult for poachers to trespass and use the platform to shoot deer.
He said: "We do rely on the honesty of people who have a legal right to shoot up there.
"The deer are regularly counted, so we are aware of how many get killed."