Monthly Archives: May 2019



The next HCAP MCQ in the 2019 Series will take place on Saturday 22nd June 2019 (3.30 p.m.) in the Ionad Dara Community Centre, Chapel Street, Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny (eircode R95 D654, GPS Coordinates DD latitude 52.63111, longitude -6.99472 or DMS N 52° 37′ 51.996” W 6° 59′ 40.992”). The Range Test for successful candidates from this MCQ will take place on Saturday 13th July 2019 at the Midland National Shooting Centre, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, commencing at 10.00 a.m.

Candidates unable to participate on 22nd June 2019 will be automatically carried forward to the next scheduled MCQ, the date of which will be fixed and notified here in due course, as soon as confirmed.

This MCQ will be supported by an optional Training Workshop, running from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on the same day as the MCQ (same venue). Bookings for the Workshop can be made by text message to 086 1927 845 or by email to Payment €50.00 is to be made on the day.

Although optional for candidates, it is recommended for all. The Workshop is broken down into a number of modules, covering species recognition, habits & habitat, practical deer management, deer & forestry, recognition of disease in wild shot deer, fieldcraft, safe use and security of firearms, the law concerning hunting of wild deer and best-practice procedures in all aspects of hunting deer in Ireland.

Candidates are expected to prepare fully for the MCQ. Thirty hours of self-study is recommended in order to prepare fully.

The Deer Alliance Stalker Training Manual is an optional purchase and can be purchased online through the Deer Alliance website, cost €35.00 including p. & p.

The Deer Alliance Hunter Competence Assessment Programme (HCAP) is the only training course, assessment and certification programme developed in partnership with Coillte Teoranta, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Garda Siochana, Irish Farmers’ Association and the different national deer organisations (including Irish Deer Society and the Wild Deer Association of Ireland). HCAP is mandatory for all licensed hunters hunting on Coillte forest property, and in line with a Ministerial undertaking to the Irish Deer Management Forum, will shortly be mandatory for all applicants for the annual Deer Hunting Licence (DHL), including persons hunting on private land. HCAP is the gold standard in training and assessment and the standard by which other courses are judged.




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.