Camouflaged, sturdy and painstakingly created – this is the den amateur photographers have built on Cannock Chase in a bid to get pictures of deer.
But they were today warned they are putting themselves in danager of being charged by the animals and gored by their antlers during rutting season. The Rural Policing Liaison Group said people were also leaving potato peelings and other food out for the deer and then hiding away to get a snapshot, and believes large numbers of people are involved.
The den is now set to be taken down by rangers on the chase.
Liaison group spokeswoman Faye Burton, who also helped to establish Poacher Watch in 2010, only last month appealed for spy cameras to catch wildlife poachers targeting farms and beauty spots across Staffordshire. That came after a deer was found shot on Cannock Chase. But now she is also warning people of the dangers of taking photos.
She said: “The deer will charge at people with their antlers.
“People are going out there and chucking leftover bits of lunch there and there are lots of people taking photos as well. These deer can be quite dangerous at the this time of year.
“The stags are trying to keep their herds together and they see people and then charge.”
Ms Burton said it was the rangers who found the wooden hut and it was also posing a danger to the animals themselves.
She added: “The deer are used to getting all their food in one place now. It means poachers can come along and shoot them. I know for a certain fact the rangers are always keeping their eyes open for poachers.”