Sika stag in rut
Rutting Sika stag. The stag’s call, comprised usually of three long shrill “whistles” often followed by a fourth call after several seconds, can be heard during the rut from middle to end September to middle to end October (click to enlarge)

Deer Alliance HCAP finished the 2016 Round of assessments in August 2016. The 2017 Round will commence in March 2017 and details of the 2017 calendar will be published here at the end of January 2017.

Deer Alliance HCAP does not run assessments during the hunting season (September to February inclusive) due to availability of personnel, also due to possible adverse weather conditions for Range Tests.

Application can be made at any time, online or in hard copy by post. A list of eligible candidates, including candidates carried forward as No-Shows from previous MCQs or Range Tests, is published on the website in advance of every MCQ or Range Test. HCAP Fees are non-refundable and candidates must, other than in exceptional circumstances, complete the assessment and certification process within 180 days of making application.


Image result for coillte logo

Wildlife Management Assistant

Coillte Teoranta is a commercial company operating in forestry, land solutions, renewable energy and panel products and offers diverse and exciting career opportunities for the right people.   The company employs nearly 1000 staff and owns over 445000 hectares of land, about 7% of the land cover of Ireland.

Coillte are currently inviting interested candidates to express an interest in Wildlife Management Assistant roles at Coillte. The purpose of this role will be to assist and support Coillte’s Deer Manager while undertaking deer management and control operations on our land across Co.Wicklow.

The role involves responsibility for the safe handling of game meat and candidates must have a very good working knowledge of the locations of our properties across Co. Wicklow and South Co. Dublin.

The ideal candidates will have previous experience of driving on forest roads/tracks with a minimum of 5 years’ experience in safely handling firearms and have a full clean driving license (0 penalty points).

Please see role profile for full details on role responsibilities and competencies required. Competencies include HCAP Certification and other necessary qualifications.

Any interested candidates must submit a completed application form to forestrecruitment@coillte.ie by 4.00 p.m. on Friday 7th October 2016.

Following the closing date a number of candidates will be shortlisted and offered a place on our panel. Membership on the panel will last for two years. When Wildlife Management requirements arise Coillte will offer a short term contract to members of the panel. Each contract will last between two to three months and will include 20 days’ work paid at a rate of €200.00 per day.

Click here for full Role Profile: Wildlife Management Assistant Role Profile

Click here for Application Form: Application Form





Location: Canal Court Hotel & Spa, Merchants Quay, Newry, Co Down, BT35 8HF
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016
Start Time: 8.45 a.m.

The Game Meat Hygiene Course is a well-established National Gamekeepers Organisation course. This is a one day course that covers small and large game meat hygiene from field to larder. Successful candidates will be issued with a unique hunters ID number which authorises them to sell game meat to game handling establishments. This is a legal requirement for all hunters wishing to sell game to game dealers.

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisations game meat hygiene course is now regarded as the industry standard in game meat handling.

The course has a short multiple choice test at the end of the day to ensure competency and is certified and certificated by the NGO and the Food Standards Agency (U.K.) Successful candidates will get a certificate and a credit card type proof of completion.

The cost of this course is Stg.£100 + VAT (£120)

Book Online

CONTACT NAME: Ann Robinson-Ruddock
CONTACT TEL: 01833 660 869



laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin

EXTRACT: “In order to ensure proper inspection of hunted wild game placed on the Community market, bodies of hunted animals and their viscera should be presented for official post-mortem inspection at a game-handling establishment. However, to preserve certain hunting traditions without prejudicing food safety, it is appropriate to provide for training for hunters who place wild game on the market for human consumption. This should enable hunters to undertake an initial examination of wild game on the spot. In these circumstances, it is not necessary to require trained hunters to deliver all viscera to the game-handling establishment for post-mortem examination, if they carry out this initial examination and identify no anomalies or hazards. However, Member States should be allowed to establish stricter rules within their territories to take account of specific risks”.



Sika Deer. Excessive numbers of deer can lead to unacceptable levels of damage to agricultural crops and growing forestry, and demand specific action by licensed and competent hunters working closely with landowners (click photo to enlarge)

The Manor Kilbride Deer Management Group, under the Chairmanship of Irish Deer Management Forum member Sean Eustace, will shortly introduce Guidelines for Landowners and Licensed Deer Hunters working to establish Deer Management Groups. The Guidelines incorporate Codes of Practice for both Landowners and Hunters, working together to create an effective local Deer Management Groups in Deer Conflict Areas, where deer densities demand specific action on a coordinated basis.

The Guidelines can be downloaded here: MKDMG Landowner-Hunter Protocol



Licensed deer hunters will be aware that again this year, there is a delay in the issue of Deer Hunting Licences (DHLs). The issuing authority, National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) earlier this year requested applicants for DHLs for the 2016-2017 Season to make application by 30th June to ensure issue of licences in time or the opening of the Season on 1st September 2016.

However there is a discernible problem with the suggested deadline, insofar as 30th June was the date by which rents on Coillte licensed properties fell due, and the date towards which most individual and group licensees worked in terms of finalising their stalking ground for the Season. Coillte’s payment deadline was then followed by a second round of tenders, which many stalkers looked to for their stalking. Coupled with these factors is the fact that NARGC Compensation Fund Membership, which many stalkers rely on as evidence of insurance in compliance with requirements, runs from 1st August to 31st July each year, and as a consequence NARGC Membership Cards were not available until August. Coillte will not issue Permits, needed by many to support their application for the DHL, until they receive up-to-date evidence of insurance covering the Season through to the end of February.

Arising from these circumstances, there is now what has been described as a massive logjam in the issue of DHLs and anecdotally, many applicants may not receive their licences until well into October, or later.

Meanwhile Coillte have today 29th August 2016 issued a statement in response to enquiries made. The Coillte position is as follows:

“If any individual enters onto Coillte lands to hunt deer without a valid DHL they are doing so illegally, contrary to the Wildlife Acts, and therefore in breach of the licence conditions, automatically invalidating any permissions that they may have to hunt on these lands and may be prosecuted under section 44.”

Coillte’s position is therefore very clear and requires no further comment or clarification. Enquiries have also been made of NPWS centrally and locally and responses are awaited. In the meanwhile advice to stalkers on Coillte forest property is to ensure that at all times they are in full compliance with the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended) and with all relevant regulations and guidelines issued by Coillte Teoranta (including the precise terms of each Coillte licence or permit).


Sika stag in rut

Sika stag during the rut. A rutting Sika stag will normally give three shrill whistles, often followed by a fourth whistle after a short interval (click to enlarge)

With the season for licensed hunting of wild deer opening on 1st September (male deer only), Coillte have circulated important notices to be observed by all licensees and holders of permits to hunt deer on Coillte forest property. These Notices relate to hunting by unauthorised persons and the use of unauthorised firearms, and the erection of warning notices at forest entrances while hunting under licence.

In addition, Coillte also publish a Code of Practice on Sustainable Hunting, which all hunters are recommended to read and to put into practice.

These documents can be accessed at the links below

Coillte Notice to Licencees regarding Signage and Related Matters August 2016

Coillte Notice regarding Unauthorised Hunting August 2016

Coillte Code of Practice on Sustainable Hunting




The following Candidates (22 in number) are deemed to be HCAP-Certified following successful completion of the Range Test stage of the HCAP process held on 20th August 2016.

Date of Certification: 20th August 2016.

Boyden, Owen, 2016/0094
Burke, Eoin, 2016/0085
Butler, Michael, 2016/0008
Carroll, Mark, 2016/0088
Caschera, Sandro, 2016/0090
Cunningham, Brendan, 2016/0091
Curran, Tommy, 2016/0049
Flynn, Allan, 2016/0086
Fox, William, 2016/0051
Galbally, Geoffrey, 2016/0080
Galbally, George, 2016/0081
Geraghty, John, 2016/0077
Kearney, Alan, 2016/0078
Martin, Neal, 2016/0087
McMillan, Gordon, 2016/0089
Mekss, Janis, 2016/0073
Mulvany, David, 2013/0009
O’Sullivan, Anthony, 2016/0060
Strand, Jonas, 2016/0054
Strand, Patrick, 2016/00
Simms, Paul, 2016/0084
Tormay, Martin, 2016/0093

This completes the round of HCAP Assessments for 2016. The next round will commence in March 2017, with MCQs held in March and April 2017 and a Range Test in May 2017. The opening calendar for 2017 will be posted on the News & Updates section of this website in late January 2017.

Deer Alliance HCAP takes this opportunity of congratulating all those HCAP Candidates who successfully participated in the training, assessment and certification process in 2016 and who are now qualified to be either Licensees or Nominated Stalkers on Coillte forest property, as well as having added to their knowledge and competence in the safe, humane and efficient management of wild deer,


 MNSCI-Location-large   Map_MRC_Large


All HCAP Candidates are required to note the following matters in relation to Range Tests conducted at the Midland National Shooting Grounds (“MRC”), at Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly:

1: Only Candidates who have passed the HCAP MCQ may take the HCAP Range Test.

2: Candidates must use a rifle of calibre legal for hunting deer in Ireland, i.e. minimum legal calibre .22/250.

3: All firearms must be transported in sleeves or cases. The firing bolt should be removed and carried separately. Firing bolts should be inserted only when preparing to shoot. At all times when not actually shooting, the bolt should be removed and a breech flag inserted.

4: All Candidates are required to carry fully adequate Shooting Insurance and must provide evidence of insurance to MRC on the day of any Range Test. Current Countryside Alliance, IFA Countryside or NARGC membership all satisfy the insurance requirement.

5: The law requires that a valid firearms certificate must be carried when using or transporting any firearm. The firearm certificate covers the “use, possession or carriage” of the firearm. MRC require HCAP Candidates to exhibit their firearm certificate before proceeding to the Range Test.

6: All Candidates are required to sign in at the main MRC check-in desk on arrival at the Range, and before proceeding to the Windmill Range on which the HCAP Range Tests take place, and to exhibit evidence of insurance and firearm certificate on request. No insurance, no Range Test; no Firearms Certificate, no Range Test.

7: Sound Moderators are permitted only where MRC Range Officials are satisfied that the Moderator is factory-fitted and that the firearm in question is in proof.

8: Following experimentation over a number of Range Tests, Deer Alliance HCAP has adopted the following procedures in respect of Range Tests:

a) All Candidates will be listed alphabetically (surname first) and allocated to firing details accordingly.
b) Each Firing Detail has up to 16 positions (up to 16 Candidates to each Detail).
c) The first Firing Detail will always kick off at 10 a.m. sharp, with approximately 45 minutes allowed for each Detail.
d) All Candidates are urged to arrive at MRC not later than 9.30 a.m. on the day of any Range Test, to allow time for registration procedures as set out above.
e) Thereafter, HCAP Range Officials will allocate positions on each Detail according to alphabetical order and actual presence on the Range.
f) Deferrals must be notified in writing (email or text message) to the Deer Alliance not less than 3 days before any Range Test. “No-shows”, i.e. non-attendance without notification, may result in loss of entitlement to complete the HCAP Certification programme.
g) The Range Test consists of accurate grouping of three shots in a four-inch circle at a distance of 100 metres, taken in the prone position; followed by accurate placement of six shots in the heart/lung area of a life-size deer target (two shots prone or sitting at 100 metres, two shots sitting or kneeling at sixty metres and two shots standing at 40 metres). Normal stalking aids may be used e.g. slings, bipods/tripods or stalking sticks. Candidates are permitted two attempts at the grouping target followed by one attempt at the deer target or one attempt at the grouping target and two attempts at the deer target.
h) After shooting, each Candidate, pass or fail, is given a slip with his or her name on it and indicating pass or fail, and attempts taken. This slip (pass or fail) must be presented to the HCAP Administrator Liam Nolan before leaving the Range in order to receive the HCAP Certificate and/or to register for any subsequent Range Test.
i) Candidates taking two or more attempts at the overall Range Test on any given day are required to pay a Repeat Fee of €25.00. The Repeat Fee if taking the Range Test for a second or further time on any subsequent Range Test day is €50.00. Repeats on the day of the Range Test are entirely at the discretion of the designated HCAP Range Officials.
j) Safety is paramount at all times and any lapse will be severely penalised. All Candidates are issued with the Deer Alliance “Safe Stalking” safety leaflet and. copies will be available at each Range Test. It is the responsibility of each Candidate to ensure that best practice safety procedures are followed at all times.

Enquiries by email to deeralliance@gmail.com.



The following Candidates are eligible to participate in the HCAP Range Test taking place at the Midland Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly on Saturday 20th August 2016 (name, followed by HCAP number). Candidates should register at the Range at 9.30 a.m. and provide evidence of insurance together with Firearms Certificate. The use of a firearm other than a firearm licensed to the individual Candidate is permitted only when the actual firearms certificate holder (third-party owner of the firearm) is present on the Range with the HCAP Candidate at all times and is himself/herself fully insured (and must present evidence both of Firearms Certificate and shooting insurance). The Range Test will commence at 10.00 a.m. sharp. Zeroing of rifles is not permitted on the day of the Range Test.

This list includes Candidates who have been No-Shows without notice at previous Range Tests. All Candidates are reminded of the 180-rule which provides that HCAP must be completed within 180 days of passing the MCQ stage of HCAP. Deferrals are permitted only on notice and by agreement and may involve the payment of an additional fee covering Range costs.

Boyden, Owen, 2016/0094
Burke, Eoin, 2016/0085
Butler, Michael, 2016/0008
Carroll, Mark, 2016/0088
Caschera, Sandro, 2016/0090
Cunningham, Brendan, 2016/0091
Curran, Tommy, 2016/0049
Flynn, Allan, 2016/0086
Fox, William, 2016/0051
Galbally, Geoffrey, 2016/0080
Galbally, George, 2016/0081
Geraghty, John, 2016/0077
Hadbavny, Anton, 2016/0095
Hochstetler, Wendell, 2015/0008
Kearney, Alan, 2016/0078
Lane, Michael, 2016/0075
Martin, Neal, 2016/0087
McMillan, Gordon, 2016/0089
Mekss, Janis, 2016/0073
Moloney, Enda, 2016/0009
Mulvany, David, 2013/0009
O’Sullivan, Anthony, 2016/0060
Strand, Jonas, 2016/0054
Strand, Patrick, 2016/00
Simms, Paul, 2016/0084
Tormay, Martin, 2016/0093


Exam Results image

The following candidates (HCAP numbers, followed by mark achieved) were successful in the HCAP MCQ held in Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny, on Saturday 6th August 2016 and are eligible to participate in the HCAP Range Test to be held at the Midlands Range on Saturday 20th August 2016. Procedures for Range Tests will be posted separately or look for the previous post under the same heading.

2016/0094, 80%, PASS
2016/0085, 98%, PASS
2016/0008, 92%, PASS
2016/0088, 88%, PASS
2016/0090, 88%, PASS
2016/0091, 82%, PASS
2016/0049, 88%, PASS
2016/0086, 84%, PASS
2016/0080, 100%, PASS
2016/0077, 86%, PASS
2016/0095, 90%, PASS
2016/0078, 96%, PASS
2016/0087, 84%, PASS
2016/0089, 96%, PASS
2016/0073, 98%, PASS
2016/0084, 86%, PASS
2016/0093, 84%, PASS

All Candidates who attended this MCQ, 17 in number, were successful. A further 19 Eligible Candidates failed to attend, or deferred attendance. As this was the last MCQ in the 2016 Series, the next opportunity for these and future Candidates to participate in HCAP will be March 2017. Further announcements will be be made here as they arise.