Urban poachers are taking aim at the exploding deer population in a suburb of Victoria, B.C., and police, say that it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

This week, a Saanich homeowner discovered a buck- - shot through the midsection -- lying on the front lawn. Injured and bleeding, it may have stumbled as far as a kilometre before collapsing.

The week before, another large buck was shot and beheaded, its carcass dumped behind a bush on a busy street.

"It does appear to be trophy hunting. It's large bucks that are targeted, particularly ones with large antler configurations," conservation officer Peter Pauwels told CTV News.

The weapon of choice is the high-velocity crossbow and bolts with razor-sharp blades.

In all, there have been four incidents of poaching in five days. On the weekend, a bus driver saw a deer with an arrow in its hindquarters and a woman found a sawed-off deer leg.

Police are hoping to stop the killing spree before a human gets hurt.

"Where these animals have been located is not far away from schools, rec centres and well-travelled areas in Mount Douglas Park, which is a destination for joggers and walkers," Saanich Police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said.

Local residents like Larry Knox are worried.

"It just doesn't register with me. It just doesn't make sense why anyone would want to harm an animal like that," he said.

Investigators have no suspects yet, but are asking for anyone with information to come forward.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty