Members of the public are being asked for help in a crackdown on the illegal hunting of Exmor's red deer.
A free public seminar is being held next month as part of the Exmoor Rural Crime Initiative on the subject of poaching.
It follows the formation of the initiative earlier this year and a further meeting which took place recently to discuss a way forward for the coming autumn, with particular focus on the illegal shooting and poaching of deer in the Greater Exmoor area. In addition to Devon and Cornwall Police and the Avon and Somerset force, the relatively new group comprises Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA), the National Trust, the Environment Agency, The Crown Estate, River Exe Tributaries Association, Forestry Commission and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
The public seminar will take place in Exford Village Hall on Wednesday, October 15 from 7:30pm.
There is no need to book and anyone with an interest in the welfare of Exmoor's red deer is welcome.
The seminar, at 7.30pm at Exford Village Hall on Wednesday, October 15, will feature presentations focusing on poaching and illegal shooting of deer on the moor.
Presentations will include discussions on firearms law, deer law, best practice and what can be done to help.
ENPA Ranger Richard Eales said: "It is very important the group works together with Exmoor residents so as soon as they see or suspect that poaching or the illegal killing of deer is taking place they can notify the police."
It was apparent after a similar seminar at Lynton last year that many local people are not aware of the Deer Act 1991 which creates offences of poaching specific to deer. The poaching offences involve entering land without consent in pursuit of deer.
There are however further offences of taking/killing deer at night, taking/killing deer in the close season and taking/killing deer with prohibited weapons, that do not necessarily involve trespass or poaching.
Sergeant Andy Whysall, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "If you have people shooting on your land without permission or you suspect someone is shooting deer at night and the act is taking place call 999 immediately."
The public are asked to report any incidents relating to wildlife crime by phoning 101.