One of the country’s most majestic stags, which was set to rival the famous Exmoor Emperor, has been shot dead illegally by poachers.
9:39AM BST 27 Oct 2011
The impressive young animal – dubbed the Goodleigh Giant – was shot in north Devon.
He was expected to become one of the biggest stags in the country when fully mature because he already had an impressive 19 points on its antlers – compared to The Emperor’s 14.
The stag had become less wary as the rutting season approached and local landowners tried to keep him a secret for fear of trophy hunters tracking him down.
But rumour of the 200lb animal’s presence spread and poachers descended on the region to get a glimpse or a shot at the stag, which would fetch thousands of pounds on the black market.
The death follows a series of stag slayings in the area as poachers target the impressive animals as trophies.