Wild boar pictured in Kerry. Photograph: Radio Kerry

The Irish Times today 16th June 2021 carries reports of a large male boar running wild in Kerry. According to the report, six of seven of the alien species ‘dispatched humanely’ but one remains on the loose, says wildlife service.

Members of the public in Kerry are asked to report any sightings of a large male boar running wild in the Mount Eagle area and not to approach the animal.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has moved quickly to capture a number of the animals, now an alien species, after a report came in from the area on Tuesday.

However, one large male has not been located and is now running wild.

Once native to Kerry – some well-known placenames, such as Torc near Killarney as well as Muckross, trace their origins to the wild boar which fed on the acorns of the local oak woodlands– boar in the wild are now an invasive species and are brought in illegally.

It is currently an offence without a current licence to release certain species into the wild which may have serious implications for native flora and fauna, the Department of Housing and Heritage has said.

“Such releases are not only illegal, but they also pose a very serious threat to the disease-free status of the national herd. There could be dire consequences if diseases such as blue tongue or African swine flu were to be present or if these highly contagious disease were unintentionally introduced,” it said.

On Tuesday, June 15th NPWS regional staff were made aware of the presence of approximately seven animals fitting the description of feral pig/wild boar by a concerned landowner in the Castleisland area.

Six of the seven were “dispatched humanely” and they included four females and two piglets, regional manager of the NPWS in Kerry, Séamus Hassett, said on Radio Kerry on Wednesday morning. However, the male boar is still at large. Mr Hassett appealed to the public not to approach the animal but to report any sightings directly to the NPWS in Killarney National Park on 064 6635215. The NPWS was very grateful to the landowner for reporting the boar, he said.

(Irish Times, Thursday 16th June 2021)


Above sets out the programme for easing of restrictions effective 5th July 2021.

We are delighted to announce that planned easing of restrictions on numbers gathering indoors effective from 5th July 2021 allow us to finally confirm arrangements for our next scheduled HCAP Training Workshop and MCQ, which will take place on Saturday 17th July 2021 at the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, commencing 10.00 a.m. sharp.

Attendance will be limited to 50 persons, grouped in pods of 6, spaced in line with public health recommendations.

In line with the jointly-agreed Deer Alliance and NPWS Syllabus for training and certification in advance of mandatory certification for all first-time applicants for a Deer Hunting Licence, attendance at the Training Workshop is no longer optional but it must be attended by all candidates. The agreed Syllabus, approved by NPWS, requires that face-to-face training be at least one day long (excluding the Range Test). The MCQ itself will run from 4.00 p.m. (one hour).

In the meanwhile, applications remain open and the following is a list of those candidates currently eligible to participate in this training and assessment.

The list includes all confirmed (paid) applications received since our last MCQ and Range Test in 2020.

Some previous candidates have been de-listed as eligible due to repeated non-attendance at scheduled MCQs in 2019 and 2020. Such candidates can re-apply for assessment and certification, subject to the standard Repeat Fee of €50.00.

Applications for HCAP can be made online from the Home Page of the Deer Alliance website.

A date for the Range Test associated with this MCQ will be announced here shortly.


ARMSTRONG, Robert, 2021/0006
BABBINGTON, Robert, 2021/0015
BEHAN, Conor, 2021/0012
BERGIN, Patrick, 2021/0002
BEWICK, Stuart, 2021/0001
BYRNE, Tommy, 2021/0003
CANTWELL, Ted, 2021/0020
COLOHAN, Donal, 2021/0013
COOKE, Declan, 2020/0056
CORR, Francis, 2021/0011
CULBERT, Trevor, 2021/0018
DEDAJ, Kristian, 2019/0078
DOWLING, Mark, 2021/0014
FOLEY, Ian, 2021/0025
HANNON, Colm, 2020/0067
HAMILL, Michael/2020/0021
HARMAN, Luke, 2021/0024
HARVEY, Brendan, 2020/0008
HARVEY, Stephen, 2021/0023
HEALY, David, 2021/0009
HENDERSON, Simon, 2020/0020
HUTCHINSON, Robert, 2009/0108
KELLY, Joe, 2020/0060
KENNY, Alan, 2020/0066
KENDELLEN, Barry, 2020/0013
LARKIN, Andrea, 2020/0016
LAWLER, Ian, 2021/0016
LAZZARI, Tojo, 2020/0065
LEAVY, Niall, 2021/0007
MANNINGHAM-BULLER, Edward, 2020/0018
MERRIGAN, Ian, 2020/0062
MURPHY, James, 2020/0038
MURPHY, Paddy, 2020/0039
MURPHY, Patrick, 2020/0040
O’CALLAGHAN, Michael, 2019/0079
O’CONNOR, Dean, 2021/0004
O’FLYNN, Declan, 2021/0022
O’FLYNN, Sean, 2021/0005
PAILLARD, Etienne, 2020/0064
REDMOND, Patrick, 2020/0061
ROGERS, Shane, 2021/0019
SCANLON, Callum, 2020/0063
STYNES, Christopher, 2021/0010
TREACHER, Nathan, 2021/0021
WALKER, Ian, 2020/0027
WATSON, Christopher, 2021/0008
WEYRES, Juergen, 2021/0017


This list will be updated as applications are received. Last update 17.6.2021.


The following is an extract from Coillte’s South East Leinster BAU Draft Five Year Forest Plan, available on the Coillte website HERE.

Wild deer on Coillte’s estate is managed in accordance with accepted principles of Sustainable Deer Management (SDM) whereby, the conservation, control and use of the species will be balanced in order to achieve an integrated and collaborative solution to achieving viable deer populations across the Coillte estate at levels which are in harmony with their environment. To this end Coillte maintain Deer Management Plans (DMP) for all areas where deer are present.

Wild deer are present on over 60% of the Coillte estate. Through browsing and bark-stripping trees, deer can have a considerable negative impact on any tree crop and on tree species selection as well as the quality, yield and survival of forest crops. Deer can also impact land use objectives on neighbouring lands and can be a major health and safety hazard, particularly on public roads.

Deer are wild animals free to roam across large areas of multiple land ownerships. They are a protected species, and one which attracts considerable attention and differing views as to how they should be managed. A key aspect of successful deer management is establishing a collaborative approach between all key stakeholders within the deer’s range at landscape level. A considerable element of this process is the acceptance of shared responsibility by all landowners in the area of their role to ensure the effective management of the deer utilising their lands.

Coillte have demonstrated considerable commitment and leadership in recent years in developing collaborative deer management and the establishment of training standards for deer hunters. At National level the company was instrumental in the establishment of the Hunter Competence Assessment Programme (HCAP) and the Irish Deer Management Forum, a group which has been disbanded since the retirement of its Chairperson and which Coillte wish to re-instate (emphasis added). At Regional and local level Coillte are active participants in a number of deer management partnerships and groups.

The impacts to Coillte’s crops are generally localised, predominately in areas with high deer density. A breakdown of deer species abundance has been gathered countrywide coupled with damage inflicted on crops. Damage is mainly confined to the browsing of broadleaved trees and some more palatable conifers such as Scots pine, Douglas fir, larch and Norway spruce. Deer populations are principally controlled through the issue of hunting licences.

Deer management in Coillte is coordinated nationally through a new Deer Oversight Group which was established in 2020. This group is comprised of staff from Estates, Operations, Public Relations and Recreation.

Coillte’s summary deer management policy can be viewed HERE.

As part of planned work for 2021, Coillte’s Deer Oversight Group will review and update the current deer management policy and all supporting documentation.

Coillte Stakeholder Information Notice

Coillte’s Draft Forest Five Year Plans are now published on the Coillte website, www.coillte.ie. Coillte will finalize their forest plans for the period 2021 – 2025 in the coming months.  During this time they invite stakeholders to engage with them and submit their recommendations into this consultation process.  There are 4 stages in this public consultation process as outlined below :-

Phase How it works Timeline
Phase 1 6 week public consultation when initial submissions are received COMPLETE
Phase 2 Coillte review and acknowledge all submissions received during Phase 1 COMPLETE
Phase 3 Draft plans formulated and published.  6 week public consultation when feedback and further submissions are received June-July 2021
Phase 4 Coillte review all stakeholder submissions to draft plan and produce final plan August-September 2021

Coillte’s draft plans are available on their website HERE.

Stakeholders are invited to submit views and recommendations during Phase 3.  This public consultation period runs from Monday 14th June 2021 until Friday 23rd July 2021 (6 weeks).  Submissions may be sent by email to consultation@coillte.ie.  (Please note that due to the current health crisis Coillte offices are currently closed so they cannot accept submissions by post).














The Wildlife Licensing Unit (WLU) of National Parks & Wildlife Service have issued an appeal to stakeholders and potential DHL applicants not to delay in submitting their applications but to get them in NOW to avoid a backlog building up over July and August, which could lead to delays in the issue of licences beyond the Season start date of 1st September.

The WLU have to date issued approximately 3000 licences for the Season 2021-2022, which would leave roughly another 2500 to 3000 applications outstanding. They currently have the capacity to process licences received in an efficient and timely manner. However, if they were to receive all outstanding applications at the last minute in August then they cannot guarantee that appropriate level of customer service.

Hunters intending to make application for DHLs for the coming season are strongly advised not to delay but to get their applications in as soon as possible. The application Form is available on the NPWS website and applications by email are preferred.

Click HERE for a link to the relevant section of the NPWS website.

The need for written landowner permission has been waived for this year for hunters having previously held a licence.

For persons hunting on Coillte forest property there should be no delay in obtaining Coillte Permits for Licensees or Nominated Stalkers as Coillte have waived licence fees for the coming year 2021-2022 where licence holders have met their obligations for the season 2020-2021, provided insurance is in place through to the end of the licence period at end February 2022.

Note that DHLs issued now will be post-dated to 1st August 2021 but DO NOT confer any authority to hunt deer during the Closed Season 1st March to 31st August. A Section 42 licence is required to hunt deer during the Closed Season except for certain narrow circumstances provided for under the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended).

So hunters, don’t delay, get your application in as soon as possible!


Sika calf

Calving season is now upon us. Do not interfere with calving sites or with calves themselves. You may think they have been abandoned but this rarely the case, if ever. The hind or doe will return to the calf regularly to feed and care for new-borne offspring.

Number of legal silencers for firearms up 20% in two years

The following article appeared in the Irish Times Online on Monday 10th May 2021

There are over 15,000 legal silencers for firearms in private hands in the State, according to newly-released figures, a 21 per cent increase in two years.

Silencers, which are sometimes known as “moderators”, are devices fitted to firearms to reduce the noise they make. In some instances they are also used to reduce recoil.

In Ireland they are typically used by farmers and vermin-control workers, and are becoming increasingly popular for the hunting of rabbits, deer and foxes.

Despite strict rules on their ownership there currently are 15,723 active licenses for silencers in Ireland, according to figures released to Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay South Jim O’Callaghan.

In 2019 that figure was 12,953, meaning silencer ownership has increased by 21 per cent in two years. This is against a background of a broad decline in the number of licenses being issued for firearms.

Silencers are defined in law as “any devices fitted or capable of being fitted to firearms for the purpose of moderating or reducing the sound made on their discharge ”.

Anyone wishing to obtain a silencer must apply to their local chief superintendent and show they have good reason for owning one. Legally the devices are regarded as a restricted firearm in their own right, and illegal ownership is a serious criminal offence.

Illegal handgun silencers are sometimes used by criminal gangs in assassinations, including in several murders or planned murders during the Hutch-Kinahan feud.

There were 45 illegal silencers seized by gardaí between 2013 and 2017, according to the most recent figures available.

Licenses for silencers are most commonly granted for small calibre rimfire rifles used for hunting rabbits and other small animals regarded as pests to farmers. “This allows the shooter to shoot other animals who are not alarmed by the low report of the rifle,” a Garda guidance document states.

However, gardaí are discouraged from issuing licenses for less numerous and less social animals such as foxes.

The use of silencers for deer-hunting has become popular in recent years. Their use means a herd is less likely to flee if the hunter misses their first shot.

However, gardaí are advised they must take into consideration the safety implications of a silencer in areas where other people, such as walkers, foresters and farmers, may not be aware a firearm is being used.

According to the Garda guidance, shooters are also increasingly using silencers for target practice to reduce noise pollution. However, as ear protectors can be worn on firing ranges, “it is necessary to weigh the disadvantages of the use of a silencer against this benefit,” the document states.

“Ultimately it is a matter for the issuing person to satisfy him/herself that each applicant has demonstrated ‘good reason’ when seeking an authorisation for a silencer for their firearm.”

There are roughly 190,000 legally-held firearms in Ireland. This is down significantly from a decade ago when there were about 220,000.

Conor Gallagher, Irish Times.



Following on issues of delay in the processing of Deer Hunting Licence Application for the 2020-2021 Season, The Wildlife Licensing Unit of National Parks & Wildlife Service has issued a plea for assistance from stakeholders, to avoid delays arising again in relation to DHLs for the season 2021-2022.

Some applicants have sent in duplicate or multiple licence applications, giving rise to difficulties in processing those applications.

WLU have asked that applicants:

1: Double check that the application is completed in full with no errors before emailing or posting it in to NPWS, sending in two or three versions of an application can lead to the application being issued on foot of the first application received or it being returned to you for amendment when you have already sent in another version.

2: Don’t send the application by post and by email, please choose one method.

3: Don’t send the application in by email more than once. Applicants will receive an automated acknowledgement email, if applicants don’t receive this email they should check other folders first to make sure it didn’t go in there such as spam, promotions etc. Sending in any application four or five times by email is causing confusion, delaying the processing and it may result in errors.








SMARTDEER is a research project developed by Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour at University College Dublin and funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine. Its objective is to lead the first nationally-coordinated initiative for deer monitoring in Ireland by collecting and analysing empirical data across the country that will help landowners and deer managers to make evidence-based decisions in relation to control and management of wild deer. The project is led by Simone Ciuti, UCD assistant professor of Wildlife Biology at UCD.

The starting point for the project is the fact that neither the up-to-date precise distribution nor the population density of the four species of deer is currently known, and no national coordination in the collection of deer data exists. Meanwhile, recent advances with technologies such as smartphone applications or digital deer mapping surveys have not been implemented for Irish deer so far, and the project aims at filling these gaps by introducing tools that will allow national deer monitoring in real time. The survey is intended to produce up-to-date knowledge of deer distribution across Ireland using expert stakeholder and community-based knowledge. The survey aims to fill data gaps from the last five years (2015-2020) by conducting a baseline survey. Once this baseline data has been collected, the survey will be run annually to track changes in deer distribution in real-time.

There are two elements to the project.

The first is a national survey to which anyone can contribute, by recording sightings of wild deer wherever and whenever they may occur. Participants in the survey first provide some basis information and then record sightings on a real-time map, saving information as they along and remitting the completed survey to a central databank of returns. All information provided is protected by General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The second element is the smartphone application, SmartDeer, developed for stakeholders to conduct systematic surveys for deer while outdoors and at home., including a record of deer seen or shot.

The smartphone application is currently collecting deer presence and deer density data, culling returns and random sightings among the others. This is an efficient way to guarantee that deer data are collected throughout Ireland into the future.

The app is available on Google Play and App Store under the name SmartDeer.

For detailed information on the project, click here.

(Resources available include Smartphone application & web survey tutorials, Utube video presenting the project to the broader audience, a Powerpoint presentation that is currently delivered to stakeholders and a short paper with details on the SmartDeer project)

To participate in the survey, click here.

To download the SmartDeer phone app, click here (smartphone) or here (iphone).


The British Deer Society have recently updated the BDS Deer app for iPhones and Android ‘phones, which now includes the addition of What3Words for location tagging and an interesting option for logging locations for tagging of deer sightings (UK only). Users of the app can report deer sightings, road casualties, harvest data and more. The app carries an amount of useful information across jurisdictions including deer species, identification and treatment of ticks and Lyme disease, a deer tracking trail record, location-based sunrise and sunset times, and more besides.

To download the BDS Deer App, click here.

For information on What3Words and to download, click here.