Summer scene – Sika hind and calf
(Click to enlarge)

The next HCAP MCQ in the 2019 Series will take place on Saturday 22nd June 2019 (3.30 p.m., preceded by an optional Training Workshop, 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.).

Applications can be made online (Online Applications from the Home Page), with payment €165.00 through PayPal using any valid debit card or credit card. The Deer Alliance Stalker Training Manual, a unique resource for HCAP Candidates, is available for purchase also through the Online Applications section of the website, cost €35.00.

Further details will be posted here shortly.


Coillte Teoranta have opened their 2019 Primary Tender Competition to hunt wild deer on their forest lands for periods of up to five years from the coming Season, 2019-2020.

Click here to access the Catalogue.

The Closing Date for delivery of tenders is 5.00 p.m. on Friday 31st May 2019.

Coillte’s forest estate is administered across eight BAUs (Business Administration Areas) although not all BAUs offer forests in this competition round.

The Catalogue lists approximately 76 licensed areas across six BAUs, totalling approximately 69505 hectares of forested land (less than 16% of Coillte’s total estate). Areas offered range in size from 2102.2 hectares (BAU 1) with a nominated cull of 8 red deer, down to a single one-hectare offering in BAU 5 with a nominated cull of 12 fallow deer.

Coillte stipulate a target cull to be achieved on each forest block. This tender round stipulates a total target cull of just 740 deer (53 red deer, 362 fallow deer, 322 sika deer and 3 red/sika hybrid deer). The target cull is a tiny percentage (less than 3%) of hunters’ declared annual cull of wild deer.

Tender values (calculated on a cost-per-cull basis) vary widely across the country, depending on demand from hunters locally, distance from centres of population (Wicklow being the obvious high-demand centre) and importantly, known populations of deer.



The following Candidates are deemed to be HCAP-Certified following successful completion of their HCAP Assessment after the Range Test held on 4th May 2019 (names, followed by HCAP Number).

Date of Certification: 4th May 2019.

Buckley, Brendan, 2019/0032
Burke, Brian, 2019/0018
Burke, Ronan, 2018/0128
Breslin, Charles, 2018/0075
Byrne, Brian Patrick, 2019/0023
Byrne, Michael, 2019/0011
Ciobirca, Andrei, 2019/0037
Corcoran, Jonathan, 2019/0026
Dalton, John, 2019/0030
Davitt, Michael, 2019/0006
Delaney, Conor, 2019/0019
Douglas, Conor, 2019/0022
Dunne, Philip, 2018/0099
Durnin, David, 2018/0123
Hall, Kenneth, 2019/0021
Heffernan, Clive, 2019/0017
Holmes, John, 2019/0020
Hussey, Fergus, 2018/0125
Jackson, Greg, 2019/0002
Kavanagh, Richard, 2019/0029
Kelleher, Jason, 2019/0005
Kelly, Gavin, 2018/0126
Lucas, Nik, 2019/0013
Lucas, Timothy, 2019/0012
Mahon, Sean, 2019/0009
Martin, David, 2018/0122
McDaid, Patrick, 2019/0015
Moore, Ordhran, 2019/0016
Mullen, Gary, 2019/0025
Mulligan, Padraig, 2019/0028
O’Brien, Kieran, 2019/0035
O’Driscoll, Darren, 2019/0034
Sweeney, John, 2019/0004
Toomey, Ian, 2019/0007
Vicol, Tudor, 2019/0033
Yavtushenko, Valeriy, 2019/0003

All Candidates in attendance were successful on this occasion and were presented with their HCAP Certificates, ID Cards and Badges at the conclusion of their successful Range Test. A high standard of marksmanship was evident from all candidates. Thanks go to HCAP Range Officers Pat Scully and John Manley for their able administration of the Range Test, also to Tony Saunders and all at Midland National Shooting Centre of Ireland for their usual very professional management of the Test on the Range.

Candidates who were No-Shows on this occasion will be carried forward to the next scheduled Range Test in 2019, except where they have missed two or more Range Tests, in which cases they are automatically de-listed as eligible and can complete their HCAP only on payment of the standard HCAP Repeat Fee.

Megaloceros giganteus – Giant Irish Deer Antlers

Megaloceros giganteus
The above pair of Giant Irish Deer antlers was sold for £31312.00 (€36305.00) inc. premium at Bonham’s Sporting Sale held in Edinburgh on 1st May 2019

(click on images to enlarge)

This example, with 18 points and skull, (restorations), measured 224 cm wide, 126c m deep, 87 cm high (88 in wide, 49 1/2 in deep, 34 in high) and came from the Collection of the Late Sir Sidney & Lady Nolan at The Rodd, Presteigne, North Wales.

Description from the Bonham’s Catalogue: “The ‘Irish Elk’ or Giant Deer lived during the Pleistocene Period of the Great Ice Age (starting 2.6 million years ago and ending 11,700 years ago). Now extinct, the Irish Elk is one of the largest deer that has ever lived.

The Giant Deer stood around 2.1mtrs tall at the shoulders, carrying antlers weighing up to 40kg and spanning up to 3.65 mtrs. Whilst called the ‘Irish Elk’, the species is neither exclusively Irish – or even an elk but probably related to Red or Fallow deer. While the majority of the skeletons have been found in Ireland, their habitat was vast, spreading across Europe, Africa and China. The name itself stems from the fact that most of the remains have been found in the marl underlying bog of Ireland.

There are numerous theories regarding the extinction of the species – over-hunting by humans, as well as loss of habitat and vegetation due to climate change at the end of the last Ice Age are both cited as potential causes. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the antlers themselves became so large that they leached minerals and calcium from the animal’s bones, effectively causing what we know as osteoporosis”.

Powerscourt Head (largest known sold at auction)

The largest known pair sold at auction, described as “The Property of a Gentleman”,  measured 292cm wide, and came from Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow (sold at Christie’s, London, 14 June 2001, for Stg£52875.00 (€61543.00). Described as with fifteen points and skull, restorations, five points with restored breaks, one antler with restored break near the skull, span: 115 in. (292 cm.); 41 in. (104 cm.) high; 48 in. (122 cm.) deep (2). Provenance: By repute, excavated from a bog near Limerick. The Viscounts Powerscourt, Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow. Originally sold by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Slazenger of Powerscourt at a Christie’s house sale on 24-25 September 1984.

Sir Robert Peel’s “Cervus Giganteus”

A pair with fifteen points and with skull was sold at Christie’s of London on 6th April 2000 for Stg£47000.00 (€54728.00), described in their catalogue as “on an oak shield inscribed ‘Cervus Giganteus, Presented by the People of Ireland to Sir Robert Peel, Bart. With restorations, one point replaced in horn 40½ in. (103 cm.) high; 112½ in. (286 cm.) wide; 39 in. (99 cm.) deep (2).

Given to Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Bt. (1788-1850) Chief Secretary to Ireland 1812 – 1818, by the people of Ireland”

Another pair originally belonging to the Cobbe family of Newbridge, Co. Dublin was sold anonymously, also by Christie’s in London on 10th April 2003, for Stg£57360 (€66805.00).

The pair below, with approximate span 290 cm. sold in Adam’s, Dublin, on 11th October 2016 for €17000.00.





All HCAP Candidates are required to note the following matters in relation to Range Tests conducted at the Midland National Shooting Grounds (“MRC”), at Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly:

1: Only Candidates who have passed the HCAP MCQ may take the HCAP Range Test.

2: Candidates must use a rifle of calibre legal for hunting deer in Ireland, i.e. minimum legal calibre .22/250 (Candidates using the .220 Swift must use a Winchester 60 gr. bullet to achieve the minimum legal muzzle energy and should notify their intentions beforehand).

3: All firearms must be transported in sleeves or cases. The firing bolt should be removed and carried separately. Firing bolts should be inserted only when preparing to shoot. At all times when not actually shooting, the bolt should be removed and a breech flag inserted.

4: All Candidates are required to carry fully adequate Shooting Insurance and must provide evidence of insurance to MRC on the day of any Range Test. NARGC, Countryside Alliance and IFA Countryside membership all satisfy the insurance requirement.

5: The law requires that a valid firearms certificate must be carried when using or transporting any firearm. The firearm certificate covers the “use, possession or carriage” of the firearm. MRC require HCAP Candidates to exhibit their firearm certificate before proceeding to the Range Test. In certain limited circumstances and always subject to prior notification, Candidates may use a firearm which they do not themselves own, provided that the certificate holder is present with the Candidate at all times.

6: All Candidates are therefore required to sign in at the main MRC check-in desk on arrival at the Range, and before proceeding to the Windmill Range on which the HCAP Range Tests take place, and to exhibit evidence of insurance and firearm certificate on request.

7: The following  procedures in respect of all Range Tests:

a) All Candidates will be listed alphabetically (surname first) and allocated to firing details accordingly.

b) Each Firing Detail has a minimum of 20 positions.

c) The first Firing Detail will always kick off at 10 a.m. sharp, with approximately 45 minutes allowed for each Detail.

d) All Candidates are urged to arrive at MRC not later than 9.30 a.m. on the day of any Range Test, to allow time for registration procedures as set out above.

e) Thereafter, HCAP Range Officials will allocate positions on each Detail according to alphabetical order and actual presence on the Range.

f) Deferrals must be notified in writing (email or text message) to the Deer Alliance not less than 3 days before any Range Test. “No-shows”, i.e. non-attendance without notification, may result in loss of entitlement to complete the HCAP Certification programme.

g) After shooting, each Candidate, pass or fail, is given a slip with his or her name on it and indicating pass or fail, and attempts taken. This slip (pass or fail) must be presented to the HCAP Administrator Liam Nolan in the Main MRC Clubhouse before leaving the Range in order to receive the HCAP Certificate. Certificates, ID cards and badges are issued to successful candidates.

h) Candidates taking two or more attempts at the Range Test on any given day may be required to pay a Repeat Fee of €25.00. The Repeat Fee if taking the Range Test for a second or further attempt on any subsequent Range Test day is €50.00.

i) Safety is paramount at all times and any lapse will be severely penalised. All Candidates are issued with the Deer Alliance “Safe Stalking” safety leaflet when participating in the Programme.  It is the responsibility of each Candidate to ensure that best practice safety procedures are followed at all times. Hearing protection should be worn while on the Range.

Enquiries by email to deeralliance@gmail.com.





Neil Gatward, UKDTR at Kilcoran Lodge with GWHP Ross

(click pics to enlarge)

A large and attentive attendance enjoying an informative day

Kudos to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland and the Irish Deer Society for the jointly-organised visit to Tipperary by the UK Deer Track & Recovery team at the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, Co. Tipperary on Saturday 27th April 2019. Mixed weather, with blue skies fighting with occasional showers of hailstones, saw a large attendance treated to an informative series of indoor presentations on best practice in tracking and recovery of shot or injured deer by guest speakers Frank Byrne and Neil Gatward, including guidance on shot site analysis and assessment. This was followed by an excellent live demonstration, with Neil’s German Pointer Ross in action on an 18-hour old trail through heavy cover and through many competing scents. It was good to see so many hunters taking an interest in dog work, an excellent support for the active stalker.

Tom O’Donnell, WDAI and John Manley, IDS, thank members of the UKDTR Team

on behalf of an appreciative audience.


Bavarian Mountain Hound (click to enlarge)

The Irish Deer Society and the Wild Deer Association of Ireland jointly are pleased to announce that a Team from UK Deer Track and Recovery (UKDTR) will be in Tipperary this coming weekend to demonstrate effective methods of tracking and recovering injured and lost deer.

Date: Saturday 27th April 2019
Time: 09:30 am sharp
Venue: Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, Co Tipperary
Cost: €10 per person

Guest speakers Frank Byrne and Neil Gatward will discuss the best practice in the event of a recovery.


• Introduction to UKDTR and tracking deer.
• Break for lunch (not included in the cost)
• Shot site examination
• Various shot sites, what to look for! Shot sites are located in the wood adjacent to the hotel
• Finishing the afternoon with a free BBQ including tea and coffee.

This event is open to everyone interested in the subject – to register, please text Tracking along with your name to 087 6878228

This is a joint venture between The Wild Deer Association Of Ireland and The Irish Deer Society to promote the recovery of injured deer.


The Range Test for HCAP Candidates having successfully completed their MCQs on 9th March & 20th April 2019 will take place on Saturday 4th May 2019 at the Midland National Shooting Ground, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, commencing at 10.00 a.m. sharp. The list includes candidates eligible for the Range Test following qualification at previous MCQs but having deferred their Range Test on previous occasions. Such candidates are reminded that if having deferred two or more Range Tests, they miss the Range Test on 4th May 2019 they will be delisted as eligible and may complete their HCAP only by re-entering for the Range Test stage and paying a Repeat Fee of €50.00.

Candidates should be present from 9.30 a.m. in order to sign in and to exhibit their current Firearms Certificate and evidence of insurance. Candidates are listed alphabetically and will shoot in firing details of multiple shooters (usually twenty shooters in each detail). Procedures to be followed at each Range Test are posted separately.


Buckley, Brendan
Burke, Brian
Burke, Ronan
Breslin, Charles
Byrne, Brian Patrick
Byrne, Michael
Casey, John
Ciobirca, Andrei
Condren, Sean
Corcoran, Jonathan
Dalton, John
Davitt, Michael
Delaney, Conor
Douglas, Conor
Dunne, Philip
Durnin, David
Hall, Kenneth
Heffernan, Clive
Holmes, John
Hussey, Fergus
Ivanoff, Eftim
Jackson, Greg
Kavanagh, Richard
Kelleher, Jason
Kelly, Gavin
Kerr, Victor
Kirby, Colm
Lucas, Nik
Lucas, Timothy
Mahon, Sean
Martin, David
McDaid, Patrick
Moore, Ordhran
Mullen, Gary
Mulligan, Padraig
O’Brien, Kieran
O’Driscoll, Darren
O’Toole, Niall
Robertson, Drew
Shanahan, Maurice
Sweeney, John
Toomey, Ian
Venables, Aaron
Vicol, Tudor
Webbon, Peter
Yavtushenko, Valeriy


The following candidates (HCAP numbers, followed by mark achieved) were successful in the HCAP MCQ held in Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny, on Saturday 20th April 2019 and are eligible to participate in the HCAP Range Test to be held at the Midlands Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly on Saturday 4th May 2019. Procedures for Range Tests will be posted here separately in due course.

Candidates who were Deferrals or No-Shows at this MCQ on 20th April 2019 will be carried forward to the next scheduled MCQ in 2019, except where they have missed two or more MCQs without notice (date to be announced here when finalised).

2019/0034, 94%, Pass
2019/0033, 88%, Pass
2019/0014, 100%, Pass
2019/0023, 94%, Pass
2019/0037, 90%, Pass
2019/0026, 80%, Pass
2019/0019, 100%, Pass
2019/0032, 96%, Pass
2018/0075, 98%, Pass
2019/0022, 96%, Pass
2019/0036, 80%, Pass
2019/0035, 96%, Pass

(Successful Candidates from the HCAP MCQ on Saturday 20th March 2019 are also eligible for the same Range Test)