Illegal deer hunters have been blamed for the deaths of two cows and a baby deer found shot dead on a Helensburgh property.
Heath Blackwell found his 18-month-old cows dead in a back paddock of his Walker St acreage on Wednesday night.
It was not until Thursday morning, when he tried to move the animals, that he found gunshot wounds to their heads.
"I first thought maybe they were bitten by a snake, before I saw the bullet holes," he said.
"They were both shot in the face, up underneath the eyes."
The two cows and a deer were found "within two metres of each other", he said.
Mr Blackwell and his brother, Adam, both said their family regularly found shot deer on their property, and they had had problems with shooters illegally hunting on their land.
"Every year we'll find five or six dead ones in the bush," Adam said.
"This was probably the fourth one this year. We also had our pet dog shot a few years ago too."
Adam said he suspected shooters had been hunting at night, and had mistaken the cows for deer.
"Maybe they see the eyes in the spotlight and think it's a deer," he said.
The Mercury has reported on illegal amateur deer hunting in the northern Illawarra, including the discovery of four shot and beheaded deer carcasses at Sutherland Shire Sports Flying Association grounds near Helensburgh and a man charged over shooting deer in bushland near Figtree.
The Blackwells alerted police to the incident yesterday, as their children often played in the creek and wooded area near where the animals were shot.
"You don't know how far a bullet can travel. They're shooting too close to residential property," Adam said.
"We've got kids that play in that area, it's too dangerous."