Monthly Archives: January 2021








Coillte Teoranta have indicated that a roll-out of HAMS to all Coillte Licensees and Permit Holders will begin in March 2021, for implementation during the Season 2021-2022 and beyond.

While primarily aimed at management of hunting on large estates offering commercial shooting, there are crossover benefits for the individual hunter. HAMS collects data from hunters to assist in the management of shooting and thus has implications for licensees and permit holders on Coillte forest property. HAMS operates through a ‘phone app, to be downloaded by the user.

Find more information on HAMS HERE.













Medal quality Red deer stag taken in Connemara, Co. Galway, Season 2020-2021

The Deer Alliance Hunter Competence Assessment Programme, introduced in 2005, is the leading training, assessment and certification programme for deer hunters in Ireland. To date, over 3500 candidates have been processed and we are gearing up for a new season of assessments, subject only to an easing in current Covid 19 restrictions on travel and on numbers gathering indoors or outdoors.

We are working closely to ensure that HCAP complies with NPWS requirements for a new regime of mandatory certification. As we enter our seventeenth year of operation and with over 3500 candidates processed to date, we are confident that HCAP will remain the gold standard for certification in Ireland.



  • Thirty-hours self-study required, based on the Deer Alliance Stalker Training Manual and other reference material including IDMF Best Practice Guides
  • Participation in one-day Training Workshop, required of all candidates (Day 1)
  • 50-question Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) examination (80% to Pass)
  • Range Test based on 12-shot (three position) test of accuracy and safe handling of firearms test (Day 2)
  • Successful Candidates issued with HCAP Certificate, ID card and HCAP badge.


 Principles of deer management

  • aims and objectives
  • current management issues
  • methods of population assessment
  • breeding capacity and size of cull
  • planning the cull; cull selection
  • shooting calendar & shooting plan
  • record keeping
  • landowner relations
  • Public relations
  • risk assessment

Basic Deer Biology

  • Species recognition, species distribution (For Red, Sika, Fallow, Muntjac)
  • Species habits & habitat (For Red, Sika, Fallow, Muntjac)
  • Life cycle of deer
  • The Rut
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Vocalisation, hearing, powers of scent
  • Antler growth
  • Aging deer & tooth eruption and wear
  • Coat change and colouration
  • Scent glands – identification, use and purpose

Deer Impacts

  • Impacts of Deer on forestry, Agriculture and Nature Conservation Habitats – damage recognition and damage limitation.

Carcass Handling & Disease Recognition

  • Bleeding & evisceration (the gralloch)
  • Carcass examination & disease recognition including Anthrax, Bluetongue, Bovine Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Foot & Mouth Disease, Warble Fly Infestation
  • Notifiable diseases
  • Game Meat Directive and other food meat legislation relevant to deer
  • Carcass preparation, venison joints etc.

Deer Stalking Aids and Techniques

  • Use of High Seat
  • Binoculars and other optics
  • Field craft
  • Clothing
  • Knives
  • Use of Dogs
  • Aiming Points
  • Reaction to the shot
  • Dealing with a wounded animal

Deer hunting & the Law

  • Wildlife Act 1976 (As amended)
  • Relevant Regulations and SIs under the Wildlife Act
  • Relevant Sections of Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations
  • Coillte licence requirements regulations
  • Firearms legislation 1925 – 2000
  • Control of Dogs Act (1986)
  • Occupiers Liability Act 1995
  • Sporting rights etc.

Firearms Safety and other Health & Safety

  • Safe storage and transportation of firearms and ammunition including legal requirements
  • Background to shot
  • Loading & unloading
  • Negotiating obstacles
  • Barrel obstructions & misfires
  • Shooting positions
  • Non-firearms risks, knives, dragging carcasses, terrain issues, weather

Firearms, Ballistics and Zeroing

  • Choice of rifle and ammunition
  • Ballistics (internal, external & terminal)
  • Rifle Care, cleaning and maintenance
  • Scope mounts, slings, bipods etc.
  • Zeroing your rifle

Trophy Evaluation

  • Irish Trophy Commission measuring standards

Book Cover






















The Deer Alliance Hunter Competence Assessment Programme, introduced in 2005, is the leading training, assessment and certification programme for deer hunters in Ireland. Unfortunately, activities have been, and continue to be, limited due to Covid 19 travel restrictions and restrictions on numbers of persons gathering together indoors and outdoors.

Notwithstanding, it is hoped and expected that restrictions will ease as the Covid vaccination programme begins to take effect, together with a reduction of the number of Covid-infected cases reported weekly.

Dates and venues for Training Workshops, HCAP MCQs and Range Tests have been drafted, commencing in March 2021, and will finalised and posted here as soon as restrictions ease and we can fix dates with a greater degree of certainty. Applications are now open for intending candidates and can be made online through the Deer Alliance website (Online Applications from the Home Page).

The basic cost of HCAP remains the same @ €165.00, to include MCQ and Range Test.

The Deer Alliance Stalker Training Manual can also be purchased through the Online Applications section of the website, price €35.00 inc. p. & p.

Participation in the Training Workshop is currently booked and charged separately, however, we are currently looking at a bundle cost (Manual, Workshop, MCQ and Range Test), with a reduction in the combined cost. Details will follow here shortly, meanwhile all applications received at the current cost after date of this posting will be honoured at the proposed lower combined cost.











We wish to remind any persons intending to make a first-time application for a Deer Hunting Licence (DHL) that evidence of training and certification from an approved provider will be required by the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) before grant of DHL, in respect of licences to hunt wild deer from commencement of the 2021-2022 Season.

Click HERE to access NPWS statement (13th March 2020) concerning mandatory certification

Gardaí to train park rangers in effort to tackle wildlife crime








From the Irish Times online, 18th January 2021

Gardaí to train park rangers in effort to tackle wildlife crime

Rangers will be taught how to identify and preserve evidence and to pursue cases

Wildlife crime is now regarded as one of the largest areas of criminal activity in the world.

Gardaí are to train park rangers in investigation techniques as part of an effort to clampdown on wildlife crime in the State through the creation of a dedicated unit in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Staff investigating matters such as animal cruelty, illegal hunting, the poisoning of protected species, the trapping of birds and the destruction of nests will be taught how to identify and preserve evidence and to pursue cases.

Wildlife crime is now regarded as one of the largest areas of criminal activity in the world – behind drug trafficking, counterfeiting and human trafficking, said Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan, who has responsibility for the NPWS and is driving the creation of the planned unit.

“What we are really trying to do is establish a consistency of effort right across the country in tackling wildlife crime issues and that would involve a consistency of application: uniformity in reporting, statement writing and presenting case files,” he said.

“It’s very much based on a Garda-type reporting system and getting to a very high level of professionalism.”

‘Cold case’ crimes

The unit will have the ability to investigate “cold case” crimes such as the unsolved poisoning of 23 buzzards in west Cork last year.

A report published in October found that more than 300 birds of prey were poisoned or suffered some form of unnatural death in Ireland between 2007 and 2019. However, there have only been 164 prosecutions of any kind under the Wildlife Acts between 2012 and this year.

Under the plan, rangers who cover large territories across the country will collaborate with their equivalents in the Police Service of Northern Ireland and with similar crime bureaus in other countries in what will be a marked departure from existing approaches to the investigation of wildlife crime.

While gardaí will maintain their role in prosecutions, they have signed a memorandum of understanding with the NPWS on this new approach.

The creation of a beefed-up investigation team will be welcomed by wildlife groups, who have been calling for increased enforcement powers at a time when the State is grappling with a biodiversity crisis and the loss of important species.


Mr Noonan has identified improving staffing levels at the NPWS as a priority, although initially the unit is expected to be modest in size. There are just over 72 conservation ranger posts around the country but efforts are under way to bolster recruitment for these roles.

The aim is to mentor and train rangers in law enforcement techniques, and intelligence-led approaches to investigations, and to produce field manuals to aid them in their work.

“Quite rightly members of the public have been outraged over the poisoning of the buzzards but there is also lots of other issues: persecution of badgers, the illegal hunting of hares, trapping wild birds, destroying nests, and then the persecution of raptors in general,” Mr Noonan said.

“There is a lot of activity out there that is in some cases going unreported or cannot be pursued because we don’t have that standardised approach.”