A DEER has been found shot and decapitated on a main road in Ringwood.
The grim discovery was made on the A338 near Blashford Lake on the morning of Wednesday 29th January.
Described as a large fallow buck, the deer had suffered gunshot wounds to its legs and body, and its head had been removed.
A vet who attended the scene alongside Hampshire police Country Watch officers said the animal had probably also been hit by a vehicle.
Although this killing follows a string of others involving Forest livestock in recent months, a Hampshire police spokesperson said it was not currently being linked with any other incidents.
The A&T previously reported how six animals were slain in the district, the latest being three sheep found stabbed to death in Cadnam and Bramshaw in January.
Details of how these sheep were found or whether there were any markings were not revealed by police.
However, these deaths followed previous sinister incidents in which some of the killed or wounded animals were found marked with pentagrams and other symbols associated with devil worship.
Police investigating the deer’s death are urging people to come forward if they can help track down the offenders or if they witnessed any suspicious activity around the time it took place.
A force spokesperson said: “At this time, we are not linking this animal death to any other incident.
“We would like to hear from anybody with information relating to this incident or anyone who saw anything suspicious in this area prior to Wednesday morning.
“We would also like hear from anybody with any information of any illegal poaching happening in the area.”
Anyone with information should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200036518, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.