15 Apr 2024

Deer deliberately targeted by group in vehicle, one killed, police say

7:21 pm on 15 April 2024
Red Deer.

File image. Photo: 123RF

Three men in Nelson are facing charges of unlawful hunting, after videos of running down deer were posted on social media, taken from a vehicle.

The men are facing charges after allegedly hitting a group of deer with a vehicle, killing one deer, on purpose.

Two vehicles were driving on Marsden Valley Road in Stoke on 30 March around 3am when the incident occurred, police said in a statement.

Five people were involved and a group of about eight deer allegedly targeted.

As a result, one stag was hit by a vehicle and killed.

"Police allege the animals were targeted deliberately, while video of the incident was subsequently uploaded online," the statement said.

Police conducted search warrants at a number of properties in Nelson and arrested three men.

Police said a 20-year-old man had been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, reckless driving, reckless ill-treatment of a wild animal, and unlawful hunting.

A 19-year-old man had been charged with unlawful hunting and reckless ill-treatment of a wild animal.

Both were due to reappear in the Nelson District Court on 29 April.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old man had been summonsed to appear in court on 20 May, charged with unlawful hunting.

Two 16-year-olds had been referred to Youth Aid.

"Police would like to thank the members of the community who assisted the investigation and brought the video to our attention.

"As the case is before the court, we are unable to comment further."

It is not the first time people have faced charges for unlawful hunting in Marsden Valley. In 2017, three men were arrested after a stag was killed and another deer wounded in the Marsden Valley Reserve.

Police said at the time, shots from a .22 rifle were fired from the vehicle in the Quail Rise area.

Posts on social media over the years have described residents' frustration with poachers in Marsden Valley, targeting deer and other wildlife.

Police have previously warned people about attempting to shoot animals in the area and said anyone using firearms near people's homes could expect to lose their licences and face prosecution.