An experienced deer stalker fears poachers and coursers could be active locally after a heavily-pregnant doe was mauled and killed.
Bob Smith, who manages the roe deer population on the Dunmore Estate near Airth, discovered the animal with horrific bite wounds lying in a field.
This scene had all the hallmarks of a deer being hunted and coursed by large dogsBob Smith
Meat had also been cut off its rear - something which Bob believes is “too much of a coincidence”.
He said: “The deer was lying in a field just behind the Dunmore Pineapple.
“It was clearly visible in the field and had been dead for a few days.
“It had been savaged by a dog or probably dogs and had several puncture marks in its neck, one ear had been ripped off and the other clearly bitten and torn.
“The meat had been roughly cut from the haunches, and the rest of the carcass had been abandoned to be scavenged by foxes and badgers.
“This scene had all the hallmarks of a deer being hunted and coursed by large dogs.”
Bob, who handles responsibility for the deer with son Brian, added that there had also been incidents recently of fences being cut and folded back, possibly to allow easy access for dogs.
However Bob, who has been stalking for 40 years, is also concerned that dog walkers may not be aware how important it is to keep their pets under control around the animals.
He said: “This is a critical time for the deer population. If deer are chased by dogs, they could panic and run out on the road into traffic. Heavily-pregnant deer will be vulnerable and slow at the moment.”
Police Constable Malcolm O’May, Forth Valley’s Wildlife Officer, said: “We were contacted about possible deer coursing in the area and carrying out investigations at the moment in the area and working with landowners and the deer stalkers, but we are also looking for more information.”
Anyone with any information can contact police on 101.