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.


Sika The Wild Deer









In the light of the ongoing impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and restrictions on numbers gathering indoors or outdoors, Deer Alliance cannot fix dates or venues for HCAP assessments until restrictions are eased or lifted. Dates and venues will be posted here immediately restrictions are eased.

In the meanwhile, the following is a list of those candidates eligible to participate in the next scheduled HCAP MCQ, date to be fixed.

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.

A date for the next MCQ will be posted here as soon as possible after easing of current Covid 19 restrictions on travel and on numbers gathering indoors or outdoors, as per previous News & Updates posting.

Applications remain open and can be made online from the Home Page of the Deer Alliance website.


ARMSTRONG, Robert, 2021/0006
BABBINGTON, Robert, 2021/0015
BEHAN, Conor, 2021/0012
BERGIN, Patrick, 2021/0002
BEWICK, Stuart, 2021/0001
BYRNE, Tommy, 2021/0003
COLOHAN, Donal, 2021/0013
COOKE, Declan, 2020/0056
CORR, Francis, 2021/0011
DEDAJ, Kristian, 2019/0078
DOWLING, Mark, 2021/0014
HANNON, Colm, 2020/0067
HAMILL, Michael/2020/0021
HARVEY, Brendan, 2020/0008
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
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, Sean, 2021/0005
PAILLARD, Etienne, 2020/0064
REDMOND, Patrick, 2020/0061
SCANLON, Callum, 2020/0063
STYNES, Christopher, 2021/0010
WALKER, Ian, 2020/0027
WATSON, Christopher, 2021/0008

This list will be updated as applications are received. Last update 27.3.2021.

Minister Noonan opens applications for the 2021/2022 Deer Hunting Season and welcomes hunters back to the countryside to support sustainable deer management







The following statement has today 15th March 2021 been published by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

“The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has announced that application forms and guidance notes for the 2021/2022 Deer Hunting Season are now available on the NPWS Website .

The NPWS is striving to ensure that all applications are dealt with in a timely manner and has put in place measures to ensure the least amount of disruption, despite the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Applications can now be emailed or posted using the appropriate application form and, similar to last season, there will be no requirement for a landowner’s signature but landowner details must be provided on the application form.

Commenting on the need for a smoother application process and welcoming hunters back to the countryside, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D., said:

“Last year was extremely challenging in terms of the administration of deer hunting licences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we have made changes to ensure a smoother process and are confident that we will be able to deal with the demand the 2021/2022 season will bring. We’ve all had our movement curtailed due to the pandemic and hunting activity last season was greatly reduced. As restrictions ease, I’d like to welcome hunters back to the countryside and encourage anyone with an interest in hunting to engage with the relevant groups. Deer populations are abundant across much of the country, and in some places can cause extensive damage to habitats, native woodlands, commercial timber forests and arable crops. For many years, I’ve been a committed vegetarian and animal rights activist. However, I also believe that responsible hunting, with the correct training, oversight, equipment and – of course – licence can reduce pressures on biodiversity and have an overall positive impact on nature by helping to manage deer populations at a sustainable level, in the absence of predators.”

Minister Noonan also reaffirmed his commitment to introducing mandatory certification training for first-time hunters:

“My Department is committed to introducing mandatory certification training for first-time hunters. It had been intended to introduce it for the 2021/22 season but unfortunately, this project, like so many others across all sectors of society, has had to be deferred due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Much work has gone on behind the scenes to put the foundations in place for this project and this requirement will be introduced once it is viable and safe to do so for all concerned, and my Department will make sure it is delivered to the highest standard possible.”    

Under the Wildlife Acts, annual licences are required to hunt deer during the Open Season, which is the period during which deer can be legally shot. The Open Season for deer operates generally from 1 September in a given year to 28 February the following year, depending on the species and gender of deer. About 5,500 deer hunting licences are issued each season, of which in the region of 1,000 are first-time applicants”.






Applications for Deer Hunting Licences for the 2021/2022 season, under Section 29 (1) of the Wildlife Act 1976 to 2018, are now available on the National Parks & Wildlife Service website. Application for the DHL can be made online.

Click here for a link to the NPWS website.

The following documents including full instructions can now be accessed:

  • Email Application Form
  • Manual Application form
  • Guidance Note
  • Wild Deer Open Season Dates






The Wildlife Licencing Unit of National Parks & Wildlife Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, has today announced that mandatory certification for first-time applicants for the Deer Hunting Licence (DHL) has been postponed and is now set for the Season 2022-2023 and not for 2021-2022 as previously announced.

The reason given was “the ongoing impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic”. No further explanation has been provided.

This can be seen as a major setback to any question of mandatory certification, and raises a  question mark over official commitment to safe, efficient and humane management of wild deer by competent and certified licensed hunters.

Deer Alliance HCAP has campaigned for training, assessment and certification since establishment in 2003, in partnership and with the support of all relevant stakeholders including NPWS, Coillte, Forest Service and different deer organisations.

Deer Alliance HCAP remains committed to the principle of the safe, efficient and humane management of wild deer by competent and certified licensed hunters, through training, assessment and certification of committed hunters, despite this setback.





National Parks & Wildlife Service have confirmed that Deer Hunting Licence (DHL) application forms will NOT be posted out individually to existing licence holders this year, as would be usual. Instead, application forms will shortly be available to download from the NPWS website.

NPWS have also confirmed that individual landowner permissions will NOT be required this year.

These changes arise from the impact of Covid 19 on the operation of the NPWS Wildlife Licensng Unit.

First-time applicants for the DHL will still be required to provide evidence of landowner permission, as well as evidence of HCAP certification or equivalent.

See NPWS statement here.

See also NPWS statement on mandatory certification for first-time DHL applicants, published on 13th March 2020 here.








The Irish Deer Commission has reported on its recent discussions with Coillte Teoranta, at which Coillte advised on processes now in place in relation to disruption of hunting activities on Coillte forest property as a result of Covid travel and other restrictions.

In what must be seen as a major concession on the part of Coillte, both deer hunting and bird shooting licence holders will benefit from financial relief where they had paid in full or in part for licences held from Coillte for the Season 2020-2021.

The following concessions will apply:

Recreational hunters – not allowed to cross county boundary or limited by 5 km travel restriction: if the 2020-2021 licence fee was paid in 2020, licensees will benefit from no charge for the 2021-2022 season. If the 2020-2021 licence fee was not paid, licensees will pay for the 2021-2022 season in full. This is regardless of whether hunting was limited or restricted at different levels of lockdown.

Licences expiring at end of 2020-2021 season: if Season 2020-2021 was paid in full, licensees will enjoy a one-year extension to the licence for the 2021-2022 season free of charge. If the licensee doe not want an extension to the licence in question, the area will be put up for tender and the outgoing licensee, who paid but could not shoot, will receive a credit on any other tender offer on which they are successful. It would appear that no cash rebates will be made.

Licences expiring at end of 2020-2021 season but not paid: if 2020-2021 was not paid for, the licensee will receive a one-year extension but with no discount. The licence fee must be paid, otherwise the licence will be put up for tender in 2021.

Licensees hunting on licensed areas with Section 42 DHLs: no concessions will be made as such licensees and permit holders could shoot without breach of Covid regulations.

Separate arrangements are in place for holders of commercial licences.
It is assumed that individual licence holders will be communicated with by Coillte.








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.