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A Note on the Public Consultation Survey on Deer Management in Ireland

Stakeholders across the country will by now be aware that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD have recently jointly launched a public consultation on deer management in Ireland. The purpose of the consultation, which is coordinated by the Deer Management Strategy Group, is to gather views on key issues relating to deer management in Ireland, the impact of increased deer numbers on a variety of issues such as forestry, biodiversity, road safety, animal health and welfare and the welfare of the deer themselves.

The Deer Management Strategy Group is chaired by dairy farmer Teddy Cashman and was convened in 2022 to continue the work of the Irish Deer Management Forum (IDMF). Other members of the Group include officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Notably, the various deer organisations which in the past have always led the way in attempting to deal with issues surrounding wild deer are not represented on the Group, despite having been active on the IDMF.

The Deer Management Strategy Group are now requesting the views of all stakeholders with the aim of creating a sustainable and effective deer management strategy. The consultation takes the form of an online survey under different headings, including Impacts, Solutions, Constraints, and Barriers. Further information including a link to the survey questionnaire can be found HERE .

CONCERNS

Many stakeholders are concerned at the nature and general direction suggested by the format of the online survey. Specifically, the online survey has all the hallmarks of a survey designed to arrive at a predetermined outcome. Many of the questions are leading in their nature and some are based on questionable assumptions. With nine loaded questions, multiple influencing factors and up to five responses available for each question, the opportunity for manipulation of responses is significant. Some of the questions could conceivably lead to unintended consequences, such as that suggesting re-classification of sika and fallow as invasive species. Re-classification could conceivably lead to removal of any protection for sika and fallow deer under the EC Regulation on the Prevention and Management of the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Alien Species [1143/2014]. Another question raises the issue of increased access to education and training for hunters when in fact, the responsible authorities have had a limited role in providing any education or training. Several other questions offer room for an engineered use of responses. Although there is a “Please State Other” box after each question it is difficult to see how “Other” responses can be factored into what is essentially a quantitative rather that a qualitative survey.

Some of the wording of the questionnaire has been described by a specialist research professional as “clumsy and unclear” and overall, it assumes a level of knowledge which uninformed respondents may not possess, and has a potential for bias.

Nonetheless, the survey is now in place and all stakeholders are encouraged to participate on or before the deadline of Friday 10th February 2023.

It is suggested that the different deer organisations whose members are likely to be affected by the outcome of the survey should provide information and leadership in relation to an optimum positive outcome for deer and deer enthusiasts including deer hunters. The outcome of the survey is likely to influence virtually all aspects of deer management, deer control and recreational deer hunting for some time into the future – including all aspects of deer welfare. The matter is too important to be left for “someone else” to deal with so all stakeholders (individuals and groups) are urged to take a pro-active approach and ensure their views are heard, recorded, and acknowledged.

HCAP 2023 SERIES (OPENING DATE SATURDAY 4th MARCH 2023)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer Alliance HCAP will commence the 2023 Series of Workshops, MCQs and Range Tests on Saturday 4th March 2023, at the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Kilkenny Road, Carlow, Co. Carlow, R93 N207 (10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.). The supporting Range Test will be held Saturday 18th March 2023 (Bank Holiday Weekend) at the Midland Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, R35 NC58.

Applications are now open for this first event in the 2023 Series. Application can be made online through the Deer Alliance website, www.deeralliance.ie, with payment through PayPal, using any valid debit card or credit card. Application can also be made in hard copy, by post, to the address shown on the current downloadable application form.

The cost of HCAP (Training Workshop, MCQ, Range Test and Certification) is unchanged and remains at €165.00.

In preparation for HCAP, candidates are recommended to study the Deer Alliance Stalker Training Manual thoroughly in advance. The Manual is available for purchase through the Online Applications section of the website, costing €35.00 inc. p. & p.

Members of IFA Countryside can avail of a special subsidised price of just €120.00 (to include Workshop, MCQ, Range Test & certification), membership enquiries to 0818 924 982

Certification is now mandatory for all first-time applicants for a Deer Hunting Licence (DHL). HCAP is the only training programme in Ireland developed in partnership with Coillte Teoranta, National Parks & Wildlife Service, An Garda Síochána and all principal deer organisations. HCAP enters its twentieth year of operation in 2023 and to date approximately 3600 licensed deer hunters have participated in the programme. Enquiries by email to deeralliance@gmail.com or by ‘phone to 086 1927 845 (office hours).

CURRENTLY ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES (NAME & HCAP NUMBER):

BOLAND, Peter, 2023/0007
BRADBURY, Ross, 2023/0009
BURNS, Niall, 2022/139
BYRNE, Brendan, 2023/0023
CARROLL, Kyran, 2023/0022
COLCLOUGH, Greg, 2023/0027
FLYNN, Declan, 2022/0113
FOLEY, Ryan, 2023/0015
FURNESS, Mark, 2022/0141
GOLAND, Patrick, 2023/0016
HAYES, Martin, 2023/0012
HOARE. Shane, 2023/0013
KEANE, Manus, 2023/0006
KELLY, Brian, 2023/0030
LUNG, Vasile, 2023/0005
MALONE, Tony, 2023/0021
MALONEY, John, 2023/0018
MAXWELL, David, 2022/140
McLOUGHLIN, Cian, 2023/0011
MONAHAN, Leslie, 2023/0010
MORRIS, Carl, 2023/0008
NOBLETT, Ciaran 2023/0031
O’BRIEN, Jason, 2022/0098
O’CONNOR, Liam, 2023/0029
O’CONNOR, Tom, 2022/0106
O’DONOVAN, Conor, 2023/0002
O’RIORDAN, Adam, 2023/0001
PATTON, Shane, 2023/0004
PICKARD, Aaron, 2023/0024
PICKARD, John, 2023/0025
RUXTON, Enda, 2023/0019
SCALES, Michael, 2022/0142
SMITH, David, 2023/0020
SPAKAUSKAS, Laurynas, 2022/0138
STACK, Stephen, 2023/0028
STUART, Joseph, 2023/0003
STAFFORD (Jnr.), Sean, 2013/0014
THOMSEN, Birthe, 2022/0088
TAYLOR, John, 2023/0026
WALSH, John, 2023/0017

Candidates are requested to make a permanent note of their individual HCAP Number for use in any later communication with Deer Alliance HCAP.
This list of eligible candidates will be updated as applications are received. Last update, 3.2.2023

MINISTERS McCONALOGUE AND O’BRIEN LAUNCH PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON DEER MANAGEMENT

 

 

 

 

 

Minister Charlie McConalogue

 

 

 

 

 

Minister Darragh O’Brien

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien T.D, recently jointly launched a new public consultation to inform the next phase of the development of the Deer Management Strategy.

The purpose of the consultation coordinated by the Deer Management Strategy Group is to gather views on key issues relating to deer management in Ireland, the impact of increased deer numbers on a variety of issues such as forestry, biodiversity, road safety, animal health and welfare and the welfare of the deer themselves.

The Deer Management Strategy Group is chaired by Teddy Cashman and was convened in 2022 to continue the work of the Irish Deer Management Forum (IDMF). Information as to other members of the Group has not to date been made available despite a request having been made to Minister McConalgue’s office.

Although never formally dissolved. the IDMF has not met since March 2018 and its re-convening has been called for repeatedly by a number of concerned stakeholders since 2018. The IDMF itself was established in 2015 following a round of public consultations commencing in 2011, during which up to 100 considered submissions were delivered by multiple affected stakeholders, leading to the publication of “Deer Management in Ireland – Framework for Action“, the contents of which remain valid for a majority of stakeholders but very few of which recommendations have yet been adopted.

The Deer Management Strategy Group are now requesting the views of all stakeholders with the aim of creating a sustainable and effective deer management strategy for both now and for the future. The consultation takes the form of an online survey under different headings, including Impacts, Solutions, Constraints, and Barriers.

Participants may find many of the questions set out in the Survey leading in their nature but have the opportunity of submitting their own more detailed submissions by delivering fuller opinions to either or both Ministers by the deadline for submissions.

Interested individuals, groups or organisations can share their views on deer management in Ireland by completing the online survey HERE.

Closing date for submissions is 5.00 p.m. on Friday, 10 February 2023.

 

 

HCAP SCHEDULING 2023

The 2022 Series of HCAP assessments concluded with a Training Workshop an MCQ on 29th October and Range Test on 5th November (the fifth in the 2022 Series), the results of which can be seen on an earlier posting here.

Plans for 2023 are now in hand, with the first Training Workshop and MCQ taking place early in March 2023, for which applications are now open.

Application can be made at any time through the Online Applications section of the Deer Alliance website. The cost of HCAP (Workshop, MCQ, Range Test and Certification) remains at €165.00. The Stalker Training Manual can be purchased in preparation for HCAP at a cost of €35.00 including p. & p., also through the Online Applications section of the website.

The venue for Workshops and MCQs remains the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Kilkenny Road, Carlow, R93 N207, and Range Tests will continue to take place at the Midland Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, R35 NC58.

Dates for these activities (and others) will be posted here early in the New Year.

HCAP Candidates who do not have access to their own deer-legal rifle have two options open to them. If they have a friend who has a deer-legal rifle and is prepared to let the candidate use that rifle for the Range Test, that is permitted, provided that the friend holds a valid Firearm Certificate for the firearm in question, holds valid shooting insurance and is present with the Candidate on the Range at all times.

Alternatively, the candidate can avail of a Club Rifle, usually in calibre .308, available from the Management of the Midland Range. Booking must be made at least two weeks in advance and is subject to Garda vetting. The current cost of rifle hire is €60.00, to include ammunition sufficient for the standard Range Test.

Candidates with no previous experience of full-bore rifle shooting may be required to undertake basic tuition and competency testing on a one-to-one basis at the Midland Range (to include the Range Test Course of Fire but not as part of the Range Test), the current cost of which is €150.00 (one person, one day tuition and test preparation).

Hire of a Club rifle and/or arrangements for tuition and test preparation, including all costs, are entirely a matter between Midland Range management and personnel, are outside the ordinary HCAP process and Deer Alliance HCAP has no responsibility or obligation in this regard.

Membership of IFA Countryside carries with it the shooting insurance required for the purposes of the HCAP Range Test, and may also offer subsidised training opportunities, including HCAP.

Deer Alliance HCAP remains the only such training and certification process developed in full partnership with Coillte Teoranta, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, An Garda Siochana and other key stakeholder organisations and in 2023 enters its twentieth year of operation, with over 3600 licensed deer hunters having participated in HCAP to date.

HCAP RANGE TEST SATURDAY 5th NOVEMBER 2022 – SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES

 

Alan O’Dwyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James O’Brien  

George Burdess

The candidates listed below all completed their Deer Alliance Hunter Competence Assessment Programme with a Range Test at the Midland Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore on Saturday 5th November 2022. Thanks go to the Midland Range management and personnel, including J. P. Craven and Tony Saunders, and to our Deer Alliance Range Officer Pat Scully. Successful candidates received their HCAP Certificates, ID cards and badges from Liam Nolan, Deer Alliance HCAP Course Director.

NEW HCAP-CERTIFIED CANDIDATES, DATE OF CERTIFICATION 5th NOVEMBER 2022

BRADLEY, Conor, 2022/0136
BRENNAN, Anthony, 2022/0110
BROOKS, Val, 2022/0116
BURDESS, George, 2022/0125
CORNISH, Jay, 2022/0118
FITZGERALD, Karl, 2022/0135
GORECKI, Mariusz, 2022/0105
HEFFRON, Eoin, 2022/0108
HEFFRON, Padraic, 2022/0109
McAULIFFE, Con, 2022/0111
McCLOREY, Patrick, 2022/0133
McGLUE, Ian, 2022/0132
MELNYK, Ihor, 2022/0115
O’BRIEN, James, 2022/0124
O’CONNOR, Tommy D., 2022/0114
O’DWYER, Alan, 2022/0127
O’MAHONY, James, 2022/0112
O’MALLEY, Padraig, 2022/0117
PERLAVICIUS, Justas, 2022/0129
QUIRKE, Andrew, 2022/0121
QUIRKE, Edward, 2022/0122
SWEENEY, John, 2022/0130
TROY, Eamon, 2022/0126
VASILIAUSKAS, Nerijus, 2022/0107
WESTON, Paul, 2022/0137
WHYTE, Keith, 2022/0131
ZARZYKA, Robert, 2022/0128

Successful candidates included IFA Countryside Members, Alan O’Dwyer, James O’Brien, George Burdess, Padraig O’Malley and Eamonn Troy, photographed above and below.

 

 Padraig O’Malley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                Eamonn Troy

HCAP MCQ SATURDAY 29th OCTOBER 2022 – RESULTS

The following candidates (HCAP numbers, followed by mark achieved) were successful in the HCAP MCQ held in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Carlow, on Saturday 29th October 2022 and are eligible to participate in the HCAP Range Test to be held at the Midlands Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly R35 NC58 on Saturday 5th November 2022. Procedures for Range Tests will be posted here separately.

Candidates who were Deferrals or No-Shows at this MCQ on 29th October 2022 will be carried forward to the next scheduled MCQ in 2023, except where they have missed two or more MCQs without notice, in which case they are now de-listed as eligible and must re-enter the HCAP process as Repeat Candidates if they wish to complete their HCAP Certification

2022/0135, 92%, Pass
2022/0105, 96%, Pass
2022/0108, 96%, Pass
2022/0109, 92%, Pass
2022/0111, 94%, Pass
2022/0133, 96%, Pass
2022/0132, 94%, Pass
2022/0119, 92%, Pass
2022/0115, 82%, Pass
2022/0124, 92%, Pass
2022/0114, 92%, Pass
2022/0136, 90%, Pass
2022/0110, 86%, Pass
2022/0116, 88%, Pass
2022/0125, 92%, Pass
2022/0120, 96%, Pass
2022/0107, 92%, Pass
2022/0137, 94%, Pass
2022/0131, 94%, Pass
2022/0128, 96%, Pass
2022/0118, 98%, Pass
2022/0134, 98%, Pass
2022/0127, 92%, Pass
2022/0112, 88%, Pass
2022/0117, 92%, Pass
2022/0129, 90%, Pass
2022/0121, 94%, Pass
2022/0122, 94%, Pass
2022/0130, 96%, Pass
2022/0126, 86%, Pass

HCAP TRAINING WORKSHOP & MCQ, SATURDAY 29th OCTOBER 2022

Deer Alliance Hunter Competence Assessment Programme (HCAP) will hold a Training Workshop and Multiple-Choice Question Examination (MCQ) on Saturday 29th October 2022.

Venue: Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Kilkenny Road, Carlow, R93 N207.
Time: 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

The supporting Range Test for candidates successful in the MCQ will be held at the Midland Range, Derrymore, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, R35 NC58 on Saturday 5th November 2022.

This will be the last opportunity to participate in HCAP in 2022. The 2023 Series of HCAP Assessments will commence in March 2023.

Applications are now open and can be made online through the Online Applications section of the website at www.deeralliance.ie. Cost is €165.00 for first-time HCAP Candidates, €50.00 for Repeat Candidates, with payment through PayPal. Application can also be made in hard copy by post, with payment by cheque or postal order. The Deer Alliance Stalker Training Manual, on which the Workshop and MCQ are based, can be purchased through the same Online Applications section of the website, cost €35.00 including p. & p.

CURRENTLY ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES 

NOTE: This list includes names of Candidates who were No-Shows at previous MCQs. Failure to attend the Workshop & MCQ on 29th October will mean such Candidates will be de-listed as eligible and if they wish to complete their HCAP certification process they will have to re-enter the process as Repeat Candidates, subject to the standard Repeat Fee of €50.00.

ANHOLD, Heinrich
BEIRNE, Declan
BRADLEY, Conor
BRENNAN, Anthony
BROOKS, Val
BURDESS, George
BUTLER, Andrew
BYRNE, Brendan
DEEGAN, Paul
FARRELL, Gavin
FENTON, Darren
FITZGERALD, Karl
FLYNN, Declan
GORECKI, Mariusz
HEFFRON, Eoin
HEFFRON, Padraic
KELLY, Alex
McAULIFFE, Con
McCLOREY, Patrick
McGLUE, Ian
McMAHON, John
MELNYK, Ihor
O’BRIEN, James
O’BRIEN, Jason
O’CONNOR, Tom
O’CONNOR, Tommy
O’DONOGHUE, Daniel
O’DWYER, Alan
O’MAHONY, James
O’MALLEY, Padraig
PERLAVICIUS, Justas
QUIRKE, Andrew
QUIRKE, Edward,
SWEENEY, John
SZCZEPANIEC, Artur
THOMSEN, Birthe
TROY, Eamon
VASILIAUSKAS, Nerijus
WESTON, Paul
WHYTE, Keith
ZARZYKA, Robert

Over 51,000 licences issued for shotguns and rifles

Blaser Combination Over & Under Shotgun/Rifle

According to a report published on the Agriland website on 19th August 2022, An Garda Síochána issued 51,508 firearms licences for shotguns, rifles and combination shotgun-rifles in 2021*.

This is a 15% increase in the number of licences issued for these types of firearms compared to 2020, when 43,638 certificates were granted.

Data released to Agriland by An Garda Síochána shows that just under 32,000 shotguns were licensed last year, along with 19,500 rifles and 16 rifle/shotgun combination firearms.

Licences were also issued for crossbows, air guns, pistols and human killers.

Type of firearm    2021 licences
Air gun                  1,457
Crossbow             5
Humane killer     4
Pistol                    1,029
Revolver              129
Rifle                     19,536
Rifle/Shotgun
combined           16
Shotgun              31,956
Spare Barrel     16
Speargun           3
Other                 59

Source: An Garda Síochána

In 2021, a total of 54,201 firearms licences were issued by Gardaí across the country.

At 4,879, Co. Cork had the highest number of licences issued, followed by Dublin with 4,032 and Tipperary at 3,674.

Longford had the lowest number of licences issued with 623.

The following table provides a county-by-county breakdown of the number of licences issued by An Garda Síochána in 2021:

County                   Number of firearms licences issued
Carlow                   1,656
Cavan                    1,478
Clare                      1,778
Cork                       4,879
Donegal                2,318
Dublin                  4,032
Galway                 3,303
Kerry                     1,997
Kildare                  2,213
Kilkenny               1,860
Laois                     1,379
Leitrim                  804
Limerick               1,800
Longford              623
Louth                    1,173
Mayo                    2,498
Meath                  2,406
Monaghan          1,217
Offaly                  1,728
Roscommon      1,425
Sligo                    757
Tipperary           3,674
Waterford          1,709
Westmeath        1,513
Wexford             3,535
Wicklow             2,455

TOTAL 54,201

Source: An Garda Síochána

Gardaí are responsible for licensing and authorising legally held firearms and ammunition.

Anyone wishing to possess, use or carry a firearm or ammunition must apply for a licence to the superintendent of the Garda district in which they reside.

A firearm certificate, if granted, costs €80 and is valid for three years. The holder may then renew the licence up to three months before it is due to expire.

It is mandatory that each applicant includes their doctor’s details on the renewal form.

Under legislation, Gardaí must provide a decision within three months of an application or renewal being submitted.

An Garda Síochána said that every effort is made to ensure that all applications are processed “as soon as is practicable”.

*Firearms Certificates are valid and renewable in three-year cycles.

Hunting Licences for Game and Open Seasons Order 2022

Précis of Statement by Minister Noonan on Hunting Licences for Game and Open Seasons Order 2022

Issued by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, 24 August 2022

The Open Season for wild bird and deer hunting will open on 1 September 2022.

Considerable work has been undertaken by NPWS to set out a range of options available for future Open Seasons Order, and a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders and interest groups in relation to future orders will be undertaken over the coming months. While there is no doubt that this will be a challenging process, the Minister is “keen to listen to the views of all of the interested parties”.

The public are reminded that only certain species may be hunted, and only at certain times, as set out below. The hunting of deer species may only be done with a rifle and still requires a specific Deer Hunting Licence which may be applied for online HERE

The species and dates between which hunting may take place is in keeping with previous orders. Based on the information available, the number of species under conservation threat, and our legal obligations under the Birds Directive, changes in the ambit of the 2023/2024 Order are very likely. In effect, this will mean the likely removal of certain species from the order. The Minister states that he intends consulting with the sector on these changes in advance of their application.

It is known that the conservation status of some of the bird species that may be hunted in Ireland is declining. In order to continue to protect and preserve the conservation status of these species, and to support sustainable hunting practices, a new way forward is required. This must be collaborative and based on scientific evidence.

HUNTING SEASONS FOR DEER SPECIES

Red Male (throughout the State excluding Co. Kerry)

1 September to 31 December

Red Female & Antlerless Deer (throughout the State excluding Co. Kerry)

1 November to 28 February

Sika Male (throughout the State)

1 September to 31 December

Sika Female & Antlerless Deer (throughout the State)

1 November to 28 February

Fallow Male (throughout the State)

1 September to 31 December

Fallow Female & Antlerless Deer (throughout the State)

1 November to 28 February

Muntjac Deer (throughout the State)

1 September to 31 August

NOTES

1: Antlerless deer are construed as including any male deer without antlers, of less than one year, i.e. a calf.
2: The minimum recommended legal calibre for hunting Irish deer species is with a 100 grain bullet with 2100 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, effectively meaning in the range .243 to .308.
3: “Red deer” includes red deer hybrids.

The Open Season Order for game birds and wildfowl can he viewed HERE