Lancashire Police has launched an operation to clamp down on deer-poaching after a stag starved to death after being shot.
One stag had been shot in the shoulder and mouth
In the past three months, there have been reports of three stags being shot and left to die in the Silverdale and Warton areas, say police.
It is not known how many other animals have been taken away.
The Environment Agency, gamekeepers and local landowners are helping police who are also acting on tip-offs.
"In the last three months we have had reports of three stags being shot and left to die in the area," said Pc John Bassinder, who organised Operation Scarborough.
"One of the stags was left to starve to death in a particularly distressing case.
"It had been shot through the shoulder and mouth, and had not been killed straight away. It couldn't feed due to the injury.
"We will be continuing to monitor the situation extremely closely over the next few months and will be working on some good information received already."