POLICE are hunting poachers who left a deer to suffer a slow and agonising death on a Moray farm.

The body of the roe buck – one of a herd of deer being raised in woodland – was found on Mr Johnny Bichan’s property near the RAF base at Kinloss.

The animal had been trapped by a wire snare which had cut deeply into its stomach. Mr Bichan, 58, of Cullerne Farm, Findhorn, searched his property and found another five deadly snares.

He said: “The deer would have taken up to a day to die in great pain. It is really dreadful how anybody would want to defile such a beautiful animal like this. They obviously had no feelings.

“It’s a cruel and agonising way for any animal to go. I can’t believe anyone could be so callous.

“The animals are really tame and it’s horrendous to think someone out there is out to snare them like this just for profit or for the pot.”

He said the dead animal was the dominant buck in the herd of more than a dozen which were born on the farm. Mr Bichan, who is also a special constable, added: “They are so tame they come into our garden.”

He described how his daughter-in-law Jenny made the discovery only 50 yards from the farmhouse. She found that the carcass of the trapped animal had been partly eaten by foxes.

The snares had been set on deer paths and anchored to small trees or fenceposts. Mr Bichan said: “Last year, we found a dead deer with its throat torn out by a poacher’s lurcher dog.

“Horrific though that death must have been, being trapped in a snare for many hours with the wire cutting into the stomach must have been even worse.”

Police at Forres confirmed yesterday that the snares were illegal and urged local residents to contact them with any information. They added that they would like to hear from anyone who finds other snares in the Findhorn-Kinloss area.

Inspector Donald Reid said: “Venison prices are apparently high just now and that may be playing a part in this snaring incident.

“If anyone sees anybody acting suspiciously in the area where the incident was reported or knows anything about what happened, we would like to hear from them.

“Apart from anything else, the cruelty factor is serious.”