A Unanderra resident says she’s been left horrified by the discovery of a dead, dismembered deer in a reserve close to her home.
Joanne Irons was out for a walk with her 12-year-old son, Ethan, and their dog when they made the shocking discovery on Thursday.
What the duo found was a deer, which Ms Irons described as a baby, with its back legs and one foot cut off, its neck sliced open and its spine hanging out.
The animal also appeared to have been shot, with a single bullet hole “straight near the heart” evident on its body.
Ms Irons said the discovery of the animal's carcass in the reserve – which runs between Cummins Street and Staff Road – was “horrific” and left her son in tears.
“It’s just not on. They [the deer] are not causing any problems out the back there and it’s a little bit dangerous – they’ve got bullet holes through them,” she told the Mercury.
Ms Irons said her place backed onto the reserve and the find was made just metres from backyard fences.
“Me and my son walk through there and they’re shooting guns,” she said.
“I know that people think that deer are a problem, and in some areas they are, but here they’ve done a good job of wiping out the lantana and letting the water [in the creek] flow through.
“If they’re going to be culled, you cull them in a humane way; you don’t shoot them and cut their back legs off, and slice their throat.”
It’s not the first time a dead deer has been found in the area under suspicious circumstances.
Ms Irons said her neighbour and his six-year-old grandson had previously found another deer – a doe that had been gutted.
It’s believed the latest deer was killed and dismembered under the cover of darkness on Wednesday night. There was a bit of commotion that night, but Ms Irons said she didn’t hear gunshots.
“I was up at about 2 o’clock in the morning because all of the dogs along the street were going haywire,” she said.
“I went out there with my torch, because I knew what happened to the last deer, but I couldn’t’ see anything.”
Adding another level of sadness was the fact Ms Irons said: “The daddy deer, the buck, is still there trying to find his family.”
Ms Irons said hadn’t seen anything like the deer deaths in the 20 years she has lived on Cummins Street.
“We’ve never had deer here before,” she said. The incident has been reported to police.
Lake Illawarra duty officer Acting Inspector Peter Northey said police were aware of the large deer population and illegal hunting.
“We just ask the community not to be overly concerned, but obviously be vigilant,” Insp Northey said.
“If they see hunters in an area they shouldn’t be, or if they hear gunshots they’re concerned about, certainly ring us and we can investigate.”