In the light of sometimes conflicting advice and contradictory statements circulating around the “five kilometres” rule and hunters’ right to travel in connection with deer control activities, Deer Alliance HCAP has today communicated with Minister Charlie McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture, also with Ministers Pippa Hackett TD and Malcolm Noonan TD. Our email communication is set out below.

We have also invited the Irish Farmers’ Association to support the proposal to designate deer control for stated purposes as an essential service to agriculture and forestry

TO: Minister Charlie McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture.

Dear Minister,

The purpose of this letter is to briefly make the case for designation of deer control as an essential service in the context of current Covid 19 regulations.

The control of wild deer is accepted as a priority objective by most stakeholders in the agriculture and forestry sectors. Wild deer, if not properly controlled and managed by competent, trained and certified hunters, offer the potential for serious damage and loss to agriculture and forestry. Coillte’s deer management strategy across their entire forest estate is predicated on containment of damage from excess numbers of wild deer. The question of possible inter-species cross-infection of disease is also a concern for farmers as well as for groups concerned with deer welfare.

Deer control for purposes of crop protection is not to be confused with recreational deer hunting but instead should be seen as an essential support service for agriculture and forestry provided it is carried out by licensed, trained, certified and competent persons working towards a coherent management plan for local populations of deer.

Deer control is not currently identified as an essential support service and consequently, licensed persons are curtailed in their activities by the current “five kilometres” rule. An unwelcome increase in populations can be predicted if culling is not carried out in-season and with the female hunting opening on 1st November, it is critically important that travel restrictions be eased. This can be achieved by designating deer control for stated purposes as an essential service to agriculture and forestry.

Deer Alliance HCAP now calls for the immediate designation of deer control for stated purposes as an essential support service for agriculture and forestry.

The safe, humane and efficient management of wild deer by trained, competent and certified persons, leading to a working balance between sometimes conflicting stakeholder interests while ensuring the welfare of wild deer, remains a priority objective for Deer Alliance HCAP.

Yours sincerely,



30th October 2020.