Poacher found 'cuddled up to dead deer'

Two hunters and a farmer investigating the sound of a rifle shot found a poacher hiding, cuddled up to a dead deer near Bruce Bay early yesterday.

Constable Rob Manera said two locals heard shots go off near a farm at Jacobs River, about 4am.

They drove to the farm house, roused the farmer from his bed.

They located a suspiciously parked vehicle and spoke to its driver, who offered a "weak explanation", Mr Manera said.

Suspecting a second person nearby, the trio drove across the farm paddock toward the bush edge and found a second man "cuddled up to a dead deer" in the long grass.

He made a quick apology, scrambled over the fence and ran off down the road.

In the morning, police spoke to a Christchurch man, 49, and a Queenstown man, 44, at their hunting camp at Lake Paringa.

Their rifles and firearm licences were seized and charges are pending, along with revocation of their firearms licences.

"The local lads did very good work. They found the car, got the registration number, flushed the poacher and called the police as soon as they got home. Plus, they recovered enough venison to feed their families over the festive season," Mr Manera said.