Link

Report and recommendation for the Firearms Consultative Panel on the issue of Shooting and Hunting at night.

Following the 3rd Meeting of the Firearms Consultative Panel 5 April 2016 a decision was made to put in place a working group to look at the issue of shooting and hunting at night. This WG was open to all FCP members. However it was felt by those present as more relevant to the deer hunting organisations, Sports Coalition, National Parks & Wildlife Service and An Garda Siochana. This working group was to be chaired by Wesley Atkinson who represents NPWS on the FCP. There was agreement that the issue of unregulated shooting and hunting at night was a potential Health and Safety issue to the farming community, other rural dwellers and the general public.
The WG convened on 3 occasions;

27th May 2016 – Wicklow Garda Station
12th September 2016 – IFA Farm Centre
10th April 2017 – Wicklow Garda Station

The initial meeting on the 27th May was to agree a draft terms of reference for the WG which was to be presented to the FCP on 18th July 2016.

At this meeting a general discussion took place on the issue of shooting and hunting at night in general and the associated safety issues unregulated activity can cause. All present agreed that there is an issue with aspects of this activity but at the same time there was a balance to be struck between curtailing/eliminating illegal dangerous activities versus the need for farmers, foresters and other land managers to manage their enterprise/landholding in a legal and safe manner. Such management would include control of dogs causing damage to stock (particularly sheep), vermin control or the control of protected wildlife causing damage (inc. Deer). Recorded incidents are relatively uncommon but those that are reported pose a real health and safety risk and are a cause of concern. This issue is under reported to AGS or NPWS but anecdotally those present had heard of incidents that for whatever reason had not been reported.
All agreed that education and the provision of simple and accurate information would be hugely beneficial and an outright ban would be neither possible nor enforceable and would be viewed in a very negative light by farming, landowning and hunters groups. Furthermore while the WG issues where primarily around safety concerns arising from firearms usage at night, concern was expressed within the WG that illegal hunting in general on lands at night was a growing concern. This involves mostly the use of dogs and lamps and feeds into the area of rural crime etc. Where possible any outputs from the WG should incorporate this issue.
Recommendations for consideration by FCP meeting of 18th July 2016.

Best practice guidance would be drawn up by the FCP in conjunction with the stakeholders that will provide clear and practical information on this subject. There is already best practice guidance available from the UK in relation to the Night Shooting of deer under licence and much of this guidance is applicable for all types of shooting at night and could easily be adopted. The Irish Deer Management Forum has just negotiated the use of the UK best practice guides from the relevant bodies in the UK and as such may have a role to play here. The additional issue of night hunting without firearms and issues such as trespass by illegal hunters could be easily covered in these guides.

Guidance to Gardaí assessing Firearms licences could be updated to cover the issue of using firearms at night.

The issue of cross communication in relation to firearms relevant to wildlife crime and wildlife act convictions. Inspector Paul Greene said that, subject to AGS clearance, the FPU could act as the conduit for updating information on convictions between AGS and NPWS.
To explore the practicalities of imposing a curfew during hours of darkness (11pm till dawn was discussed) whereby shooting should not take place save in accordance with a licence or permit.
AGS would look the terms and conditions that might practically be applied to firearms certificates to effect some control over night shooting.

These recommendations were accepted by the FCP on 18th July 2016.

The 2nd meeting of the WG was held on 12th September 2016 in the IFA Farm Centre to progress the recommendations to the FCP.
This meeting was attended by the IFA Vice President Richard Kennedy. He gave the IFA perspective in relation to the issues involved. He said a balance had to be struck between dealing with illegality and H & S issues while allowing framers and landowners to use night shooting as a tool to protect their livestock and crops from pest species such as foxes and rabbits and the issue of sheep being worried by dogs etc. The best approach should be through providing information, education and promoting best practice for night shooting. He went on to say many of the issues we were discussing were also the same issues that raised their heads in relation to rural crime and criminality. The Vice President’s attendance clearly demonstrates that this issue is of concern to farmers and landowners and not just those involved in shooting and hunting.

Outputs from Recommendations;

1. Best Practice Guidance

This best practice guidance has been drawn up by a working group of the FCP. The WG comprises of representatives or written inputs from AGS, IFA, NPWS, SC, IDS and WDAI. See Appendix 1.

It is hoped that this guidance will provide clear and practical information on this subject. There is already best practice guidance available from the UK in relation to the Night Shooting of rabbits and foxes (commonly known as pest species) and deer under licence. Much of this guidance is applicable for all types of shooting at night and with the exception of differences in legislation is applicable in Ireland. In addition, the Irish Deer Management Forum has recently negotiated the use of the UK best practice guides from the relevant bodies in the UK and as such may have a role to play here. The issue of night hunting without firearms and issues such as trespass by illegal hunters are also covered in simple terms.

www.bestpracticeguides.org.uk/sites/all/downloads/snh_night.pdf
basc.org.uk/cop/lamping/

The Draft outlined in Appendix 1 can be incorporated in the AGS Commissioner’s Guidelines
or incorporated in a best practice guidance leaflet to be used by the FCPs constituent
stakeholder groups. This could a joint initiative or produced individually tailored to the
constituent members.

2. Guidance to Gardaí assessing Firearms licences

For brevity an edited version of the BPG is included in Appendix 2 to be used to cover the issue of using firearms at night.

3. Cross communication between AGS & NPWS in relation to firearms relevant to wildlife crime and wildlife act convictions.
On the issue of cross communication in relation to firearms relevant to wildlife crime and wildlife act convictions. Inspector Paul Greene said that subject to AGS clearance the FPU could act as the conduit for updating information on convictions between AGS and NPWS. The Chair has written formally to NPWS on this matter and the process is being included in an MOU that is currently being drawn up between AGS and NPWS.

4. To explore the practicalities of imposing a curfew during hours of darkness
Given the fact that dawn changes as the season’s progress, a simple straightforward solution to this issue was somewhat problematic. The WG was acutely conscious for the balance to be struck between curtailing/eliminating illegal dangerous activities versus the need for farmers, foresters and other land managers to manage their enterprise/landholding in a legal and safe manner.
There was agreement that the majority of issues associated with shooting or hunting at night centre around (but not exclusively) the autumn, winter and spring periods.

The solution proposed is that a curfew is in place from 1st Sept until 31st March and operates between the hours of 12 midnight and 6am. During the curfew period no shooting or hunting should take place except in accordance with a licence or permit (e.g. Sec 42).
There will be no curfew in April, May, June, July and August when the nights are very short. If it becomes apparent that these months are indeed problematic they can be reviewed.

5. AGS to examine the conditions that may be applied to firearms certificates to affect some control over night shooting in the interests of public safety.

This matter is incorporated in 2 above.

Wesley Atkinson
Chairman on behalf of Working Group.

HCAP MCQ, SATURDAY 11th MARCH 2017 – RESULTS

 

The following candidates (HCAP numbers, followed by mark achieved) were successful in the HCAP MCQ held in Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny, on Saturday 11th March 2017 and are eligible to participate in the HCAP Range Test to be held at the Midlands Range on Saturday 13th May 2017. Procedures for Range Tests will be posted here separately in due course.

2017/0008, 92%, Pass

2017/0027, 88%, Pass

2017/0029, 90%, Pass

2017/0001, 80%, Pass

2017/0053, 92%, Pass

2017/0005, 86%, Pass

2017/0047, 88%, Pass

2017/0044, 80%, Pass

2017/0040, 90%, Pass

2016/0079, 80%, Pass

2017/0019, 96%, Pass

2017/0046, 90%, Pass

2017/0026, 98%, Pass

2017/0048, 80%, Pass

2017/0033, 82%, Pass

2017/0013, 96%, Pass

2017/0021, 94%, Pass

2017/0017, 96%, Pass

2017/0034, 92%, Pass

2017/0018, 94%, Pass

2017/0003, 88%, Pass

2017/0041, 94%, Pass

2017/0002, 82%, Pass

2017/0006, 92%, Pass

2017/0009, 100%, Pass

2017/0035, 84%, Pass

2017/0036, 84%, Pass

2017/0007, 92%, Pass

2017/0049, 94%, Pass

2017/0004, 92%, Pass

2017/0016, 96%, Pass

2017/0025, 98%, Pass

2017/0022, 94%, Pass

2017/0050, 86%, Pass

2017/0043, 92%, Pass

2017/0020, 96%, Pass

2017/0028, 86%, Pass

2011/0072, 100%, Pass

2017/0038, 94%, Pass

2017/0032, 90%, Pass

2017/0015, 94%, Pass

2017/0031, 90%, Pass

2017/0024, 92%, Pass

2017/0014, 98%, Pass

2015/0018, 94%, Pass

2017/0012, 90%, Pass

2017/0010, 92%, Pass

The following candidates (HCAP numbers, followed by mark achieved) were unsuccessful and is required to re-sit the MCQ stage before proceeding to any Range Test. The next scheduled HCAP MCQ will take place on Saturday 15th April 2017. The application fee for Repeat Candidates is €50.00. “Fail” grades may be appealed to the HCAP Assessment Committee, subject to written application accompanied by re-checking fee, €50.00. Where written application for re-checking is received, it is reviewed by the Committee at the next scheduled Committee meeting following receipt of application. Applications for re-checking must be received within 10 (ten) days of publication of results on this blog.

2017/0052, 74%, Fail

2017/0030, 66%, Fail.

 

 

HCAP MCQ RESULTS & DATES

The Results of the HCAP MCQ held on Saturday 11th Mach 2017 will be posted here on or by 27th March 2017 (HCAP Number and result only).

The next HCAP MCQ will be held at the Ionad Dara Community Centre in Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny on Saturday 15th April 2017 at 4.00 p.m. sharp.

TRAINING WORKSHOP SATURDAY 11th MARCH 2017

Group Training

An optional Training Workshop for HCAP Candidates will be held on Saturday 11th March 2017 in the Ionad Dara Community Centre, Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny.

The Workshop, which is structured to assist Candidates sitting the MCQ at 4.00 p.m. on the same day (same venue) is entirely optional and carries an additional cost of €50.00, payable on the day. The Workshop will commence at 10.00 a.m. sharp and will run to approximately 3.30 p.m. with a break for lunch. Lunch is not provided.

Candidates wishing to participate should text 086 1927 845 or email deeralliance@gmail.com before Friday 10th March 2017.

DEER CULL (HUNTER RETURNS) 1994/95 TO 2014/15, BY COUNTY & DEER SPECIES

723678811-sika-deer-deer-herd-following-running-away

Deer cull figures for the years 1994/95 to 2014/15 based on returns submitted annually by licensed hunters have been made available by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

The figures are broken down by county and by deer species (red deer, fallow deer, sika deer and red/sika hybrids) and by gender.

They show a gradual increase in the annual cull from 4749 deer in 1995 to 31589 deer in 2015.

The data can be downloaded as an Excel Worksheet here Deer Cull Returns 1995-2015

HCAP SCHEDULE, SPRING 2017

Image result for 2017

The first HCAP MCQ of 2017 will take place at 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 11th March 2017 and will be preceded by an optional Training Workshop running from 10.00 to 3.30 p.m. The Workshop carries an additional cost of €50.00 payable on the day.

A second MCQ will take place at 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 15th April 2017 and will also be supported by a Training Workshop.

The venue for both MCQs is confirmed as the Ionad Dara Centre in Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny.

The cost of HCAP is €150.00 (non-refundable), to include MCQ Assessment through to and including Range Test. Repeat Fee cost is €50.00 (if a Candidate needs to repeat the MCQ the cost is €50.00, or if a Candidate, having passed the MCQ, needs to repeat the Range Test, the cost is €50.00).

The Range Test for successful candidates from these MCQs will take place at the Midland National Shooting Centre on Saturday 13th May 2017, commencing at 10.00 a.m.

Applications including payment for HCAP can be made through the Online Application section of the website, www.deeralliance.ie. The Deer Alliance Stalker Training Manual can be purchased through the same channel.

Deer Alliance HCAP is a not-for-profit operation and all revenues are dedicated to ongoing administration and enhancement of the programme. Candidates should note that all communication is done through this “News & Updates” section of the website, individual communication with Candidates is not possible.

IRISH DEER MANAGEMENT FORUM WEBSITE

irish-deer-management-forum

The website of the Irish Deer Management Forum is now live and can be accessed at www.idmf.ie or www.deerforum.ie (either or both URLs will bring visitors to the site).

The site is still a work-in-progress and will be updated regularly over the coming days and weeks, particularly with regard to News and Key Recommendations.

DONEGAL DEER

Donegal

The Donegal News recently carried an informative commentary from the Wild Deer Association of Ireland regarding current controversies relating to wild deer in Donegal. Read the full article below (click to enlarge).

Donegal News 2.12.2016