Canterbury hunters sentenced for poaching

Two men who poached and killed a wild stag and a goat from a Canterbury safari park were sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday.

The hunters broke through a fence to the Coal Creek Station - and the owner of that property says it's only a matter of time till someone's killed.

The station has fences that are nearly two metres high but that wasn't enough to keep two poachers out.

McKenzie Priest and Tamati Nelson were sentenced today to community work and a fine to pay for the beasts they shot and stole from the property.

The pair had been hunting on Department of Conservation land when they broke into the Coal Creek Estate game park in Oxford where they shot a red stag and a goat, collectively worth over $3000.

The co-owner of the station said poaching is a big issue in the area.

"It's not the first time, like to think it'd be the last but not sure about that either," Greg Barnaby told Newshub.

He says the biggest issue is how dangerous it is.

"There's a real risk that one day that one of these poachers might not identify their target and someone gets killed," he warns.

They have a strict policy around use of firearms for anyone working on or using the property.

"We've had to implement security measures which we don't want to do, and we don't have the time to do it and it's just more money," Barnaby says.

Priest told police he was "sorry for being an idiot" but those sentiments were not echoed when questioned outside court, instead telling Newshub to "f**k off".

"To be quite honest I don't think these guys think or care," Barnaby says.

The judge labelled the slaughter of the animals conscious and brazen and said poaching is easy to do but difficult to detect.

He said their punishment should be a warning to any other poachers around the country.