Runaway deer make new home in Nelson cemetery
Gun-toting poachers are being warned not to be tempted by runaway deer that have taken up residence in a Nelson cemetery.
Nelson conservationist Bryce Buckland said he spotted the red deer at Marsden Valley Cemetery on Wednesday morning.
He said up to 16 deer had been seen and there were hoofprints where it's believed they had jumped a fence into the property.
Councillor Brian McGurk said it was understood the deer had been "coming and going" for the past two weeks.
"Reports are that they are moving around the general Marsden Valley area."
It was not yet known where they came from, but there was understood to be a deer farm in the valley.
Council strategy and environment group manager Clare Barton said council had been in touch with local landowners to establish ownership of the deer.
"Council is currently investigating options to deal with the situation."
McGurk said council staff had been speaking with the "probable" owners of the deer about trying to relocate them.
The council had warned hunters that shooting a deer in a populated area was "completely out of the question".
"The deer are roaming in a built up area. It is a significant safety hazard to use firearms and to do so would be a police matter.
"The shooting of deer in an urban or urban fringe area is completely out of the question and is obviously extremely dangerous."
McGurk said the deer could also damage vegetation in the cemetery.
The discovery of deer in the cemetery came after a stag sparked a two-hour hunt through the streets of Stoke on April 1.
Police were able to chase the stag back into the hills.
The council is looking into the possibility that the runaway deer are from the same herd as the stag.