By Lucy Ibbotson
A series of deer carcass dumpings by suspected poachers near the Cardrona River took a new twist yesterday when three other species of dead animals were dumped at the same spot.
Over the past year, Riverbank Rd resident Johnny Mayen has discovered about half a dozen headless red deer carcasses on the riverbed behind his property.
The best meat was usually removed from the deer but plenty of ''second-grade meat'' was left behind.
''It stinks of poaching,'' Mr Mayen said.
''Any hunter in their right mind that goes to the trouble of hunting down a deer doesn't just throw that sort of meat away, not handy to town like that. And there's plenty of people who could do with that meat.''
He came across two more carcasses at the weekend while out walking and reported the finding to police.
However, when the Otago Daily Times visited the dumping ground yesterday, a gutted wild pig, a large pile of paradise duck feathers, heads and wings and a goat skin and entrails had also appeared within a few metres of the deer carcasses.
Mr Mayen said he last visited the site on Monday and the other animal remains were not there then.
''There's just no excuse for it ... It's pretty woeful. It's got to stop.''
Constable Martin Barham, who was informed by Mr Mayen of the latest discovery, said finding those responsible would be difficult as the dumping was probably done at night.
However, police planned to increase patrols in the area, carry out ''stop checks'' on any vehicles along the riverbank and potentially install a covert camera.
''If we can find these people we need to know where they're getting the kills from, certainly the deer ... and then take it from there,'' Const Barham said.
''We're going to throw the book at people if we find that they've committed any offence.''
He agreed with Mr Mayen it was likely the work of poachers and said the perpetrators were ''obviously looking at trophies'' because the deer heads had been removed.
''I wouldn't have thought anybody that's been given permission to hunt in that area would treat the animals the way they are. Being wasteful with the meat for one and obviously dumping carcasses ...
"It's not what's normally the behaviour of someone who knows what they're doing in regards to hunting.''
He urged anyone with information to contact him at the Wanaka police station.
Criffel Station owner Jerry Bell said he was unaware of any deer being stolen from his property.