The Irish Farmers’ Association, the Irish Deer Society and the Wild Deer Association have launched a joint deer management project aimed at providing a solution to landowners troubled by excess numbers of deer on their land. The following information is contained in the IFA Press Release annoncing the joint project:
“Following consultations between the IFA, the Irish Deer Society and the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, a Deer Management Programme is to be made available to advise and assist landowners on management of deer while maintaining the herd in a safe and sustainable environment.
IFA Deputy President Derek Deane welcomed the initiative, which has come about after detailed discussions with all stakeholders. “The dramatic rise in deer numbers in the last few years has posed problems for farmers, including fence damage, encroaching on crops, grazing of pastureland and increasing the risk of disease outbreaks. All these have financial implications for farmers. IFA recognises the value of maintaining a healthy herd, but it must be within the natural environment for the deer.”
Mr Deane encouraged farmers to avail of the services that will be provided under the Management Programme. Contacts for co-ordinators approved by the Irish Deer Society will be made available to landowners who have problems with deer numbers.
The Chairman of the Irish Deer Society Paul Wood said the aim of his organisation was the conservation of wild deer. “We also recognise the need for the effective management of deer numbers. Unmanaged deer herds can increase annually by 30%. Proper management conducted during the open season should reduce the need for Section 42 licences, which allow hunting out of season.”
David Wilkinson, Chairman of IFA Countryside, said the rise in deer numbers poses a threat to roadusers and private property. “A successful Deer Management Programme will reduce the risk of accidents and preserve the deer population in their own environment.”
President of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland Pat Scully said there will be an educational element to the Management Programme. “Part of the problem is down to a lack of deer management knowledge. Hunters often concentrate on culling male deer because they want a set of trophy antlers. This does very little to control deer numbers as female numbers escalate. This approach does little for farmers or for the national deer herd.”
IDS and WDAI have established a network of regional co-ordinators (listed below).
A farmer with a deer population problem can contact his local coordinator who will advise the farmer as to the most effective approach and if necessary put
him in direct contact with a nearby qualified and experienced deer
stalker. There will be no charge or cost to the farmer. When a co-ordinator recommends a stalker to a farmer there are a number of requirements that must be
in order. The hunter must have a current firearm certificate, a current
deer hunting license, be qualified, experienced and insured. The hunter must familiarise himself with the area and be aware of any safety considerations or hazards. Qualified means, a hunter who has successfully completed the Hunter
Competence Assessment Programme (HCAP) or equivalent. HCAP-Certified stalkers have passed an exam where the subjects included the Firearms Acts, Ballistics and Safety, Wildlife Act, Diseases in Deer, Management Methods and other practical subjects. The successful HCAP participant will also have passed a firearms range test. Each HCAP qualified hunter should have a certificate of qualification (as issued by HCAP Assessment Committee).
List of Deer Co-ordinators
(Drawn from Irish Deer Society and Wild Deer Association of Ireland)
John Flynn, Roundwood, Co. Wicklowm Tel: 086 225 7658
Simon Martin, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Tel: 087 262 1707
Pat Scully, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Tel: 086 838 1244
Brian Moore, Portnoo, Glenties, Co. Donegal, Tel: 087 290 5006
Vincent Coffey, Waterford, Tel: 087 280 7563
Dominic O’Hea, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Tel: 086 812 0442
Tom Grace, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Tel: 086 252 7723
Michael Cunningham, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Tel: 086 127 4901
Liam O’ Shaughnessey, Oranmore, Co. Galway, Tel: 087 644 1521
Code of Practice for Licensed Hunters Participating in the IDS/WDAI/IFA Deer Management Plan.
1. The aim of this management plan is to reduce the number of female deer in high density areas, therefore reducing the need for out-of-season Section 42 licences
2. The stalker must remember at all times that they are representing the Irish Deer Society or The Wild Deer Association of Ireland and are expected to have a high ethical standard whilst hunting.
3. Remember the priority target is female deer and is not an excuse to shoot trophies.
4. NO Section 42 licences for female deer will be acted on in May and June.
5. Female deer can be taken with a Section 42 after June provided that the calf is taken first.
6. All efforts should be taken to cull deer at the legal time of the year i.e. the hunting season.
7. All stalkers must have third party insurance and be HCAP or BDS level 1 standard*.
8. A DNA sample should be taken (e.g. the tip of an ear) from any deer culled. Sample kits will be supplied.
9. Make certain that there is no conflict between landowners and owners of sporting rights.
*NOTE: BDS BSC Level 1 is not recognised by Coillte Teoranta or the Deer Alliance HCAP Assessment Committee for purposes of meeting Coillte requirements in respect of hunting on Coillte forest property as Licensees or Nominated Stalkers.