Police in the High Peak are asking residents and visitors to be on the look out for poachers during the run up to Christmas.
While there have not been any incidents reported, officers are concerned that illegal hunters may target a herd of red deer which live in the Goyt Valley area.
It is as the demand for game and venison meat increases in order to fill festive tables.
Officers are increasing patrols to help prevent poaching and other potentially related crimes, such as damage or theft from rural properties.
PCSO Pat Findlay-Wilson of the Buxton Rural Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Every year there are hundreds of deer which are lawfully and professionally culled by trained deer stalkers. Unfortunately, there will be others which may be cruelly killed by poachers, who do not have approved arms or ammunition, looking to sell meat on the black market.
“We urge the public to contact us should see anything suspicious in the countryside such as, lamps being shone from vehicles, or if they hear gun shots in these places at night.”
He added: “Descriptions of any offenders or details about their vehicles can all help with our enquiries.”
People are advised not to approach any offenders but to report any suspicious activity to police on 0345 123 33 33.
Anyone with information about illegal poaching or any other crime can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.