The reward for information leading to a conviction in the shooting deaths of four deer in Franklin and Androscoggin counties has been increased to $3,500.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Cpl. John MacDonald, of the Maine Warden Service, said that the reward was increased through donations to Operation Game Thief, the non-profit organization that offers money in exchange for information that secures a conviction for illegal hunting and fishing.

“These events have created significant public interest, and game wardens and Operation Game Thief feel there is someone who holds the key to unlock this very troubling case of poaching,” MacDonald said in a news release, adding, “Our natural resources and the conservation of those resources are the responsibility of all who love Maine. We need your help and Maine has made this very clear.”

The four does, one pregnant with two fawns, were shot and left in Chesterville, Jay, Livermore and Leeds beginning April 22, when game wardens found a doe with a fatal gunshot wound to the side near the intersection of Bragdon Road and East Road in Chesterville.

Three other does were found over several days that followed. One was found shot on Route 106 in Leeds, another on Route 133 near Dodge Road in Livermore Falls and the third near River Road in Livermore.

Wardens say all four deer were killed in similar circumstances and “left to waste.” Investigators believe the killings are connected and occurred at night.

MacDonald has previously said that it is unusual for someone to be shooting deer in the spring. David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, last week called the killings bizarre and disrespectful.

Following the initial killing, a $1,000 reward was offered. That was raised to $2,500 when the other killings were discovered last week. By raising the reward again, investigators hope a person will come forward with information that can lead to an arrest and conviction.

The Warden Service asks that anyone who has seen suspicious activity in the area where the shootings occured should call 624-7076, Gray at 657-3030 or the anonymous Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-253-7887.