The incident took place at around 2.45am.
Rajeev Mishra, superintendent of police, told media that the policemen had gone to a forest area near Aron to look for poachers following specific inputs. Poachers started firing as soon as they saw the cops. Police fired in defence but the accused escaped from the spot taking advantage of the dense foliage.
Police said they had information that poachers were around. Hearing the sound of the police vehicle, the poachers got alert and started firing, taking a position. Three of them died on the spot.
The slain cops were identified as sub-inspector Rajkumar Jatav, head constable Sant Kumar Mina and constable Neeraj Bhargav. The driver of the police vehicle was also injured.
Carcasses of four blackbucks and peacock shot by the poachers were seized from the spot later.
State home minister Narottam Mishra consoled the death of the three police personnel and said that instructions had been given to take strict action against the criminals.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has called for an emergency meeting with the DGP Sudhir Saxena and other officers.