A farmer was shocked to find dead sheep strewn across a paddock on his North Otago farm.
In all, 200 sheep were shot in two attacks over the weekend, but the offenders left few clues.
''It's quite difficult. They've left no cartridges at all in the paddocks, can't find one. And the vets have opened up a lot of carcasses and can't find any bullets or bullet holes,'' said farmer Peter Stackhouse, who farms at Ngapara, inland from Oamaru.
''I initially thought we must have had dogs in overnight. And then I looked at a few and I thought that it's odd that their legs aren't ripped apart or something,'' Stackhouse told TV3 News.
A vet confirmed the head and leg injures were all from bullet wounds. Many of the animals were still alive and had to be euthanased.
Stackhouse discovered the main carnage on Saturday morning and moved his halfbred hoggets to another paddock, but he returned on Sunday morning to another 90 shot.
Stackhouse said he was not aware of anyone who could have shot his stock, which will cost him about $30,000.
Police are investigating.