The following notice has been circulated by the NPWS concerning an upcoming Forum on deer management, following a recent online survey of opinions of stakeholders:

“Last year a Deer Management Strategy Group, under the chairmanship of Mr Teddy Cashman, was convened to continue the work of the Irish Deer Management Forum (IDMF). The group is tasked with developing a sustainable deer management strategy for Ireland in consultation with stakeholders.

To inform this process, the group launched a public consultation on the sustainable management of deer in Ireland. The views and replies to this public consultation have been collated into a report and the group wish to share the results with stakeholders.

The engagement of key stakeholders and the wider public is key to the development, finalisation and implementation of this Strategy. Therefore – on Thursday 27 April 2023 the group will host a public forum for any interested individuals, groups or organisations to share their views on deer management in order to maintain the work that commenced with last year’s public consultation.

The forum will be hosted at The Killeshin Hotel & Leisure Club, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois between 11am and 1pm on Thursday 27 April 2023.

We look forward to seeing you there on the day.

Niall Feery

On behalf of the Deer Management Strategy Group”

Deer Alliance HCAP has requested sight of the Report referred to above, in advance of the Forum date, so that proper consideration can be given to the Report’s contents and any recommendations or proposals therein.  This is with a view to constructive comment and contribution, and the avoidance of conflict or dissension amongst stakeholders. We will report any response to our request when received.


Minister of State James Browne TD issues statement on publication of reports of Firearms Expert Committee

From Department of Justice

Published on 

“I am pleased to publish the reports of the Firearms Expert Committee. I established the Committee in June 2022 to serve in an advisory capacity to me as Minister by providing guidance and recommendations on a wide range of matters related to firearms licensing in the State.

The reports are the result of the work of the Committee over a nine-month period, during which it held nine in-person meetings, and contain expert opinion and recommendations on a range of firearms matters.

The Committee has now concluded its work and I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Chair and members for their dedication and hard work in producing the reports.

The Committee was made up of five members: an independent Chairperson, a representative of An Garda Síochána, a representative of the Department of Justice, and two non-governmental Ordinary Members having experience of firearms.

This structure was chosen to give balanced representation to both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.

The Committee consisted of individuals with a high level of expertise and this comes across clearly in the comprehensive reports they have produced.

The reports of the Committee are in line with its detailed terms of reference, which my Department made publically available.

The first report of the Committee provides recommendations on the characteristics of the different types of firearms that should be considered acceptable for licensing by An Garda Síochána. The report also provides guidance on the purposes for which these firearms can normally be expected to be used.

The second report includes recommendations in relation to whether conditions be attached to certificates and additional recommendations on specific issues that the Committee identified, in line with its terms of reference, as being pertinent to its work and which I approved.

The Committee also looked specifically at possible improvements to the licensing process, such as a new appeals mechanism and training for both licence-holders and licensing decision-makers.

As I have said throughout the process, I do not intend to bring in any changes on foot of the Committee’s recommendations until firearms stakeholders, and indeed the general public, have been given a chance to give their views on what is recommended.

An online consultation platform is now being developed. Details of the consultation process will be finalised and publicised as soon as possible, and I will be encouraging as many people and organisations as possible to make their voices heard.

I did not, however, wish to delay the publication of these reports, which I know have been the subject of considerable interest in the shooting community. In the interests of transparency, I am also publishing in full the minutes of the Committee’s nine in-person meetings.

Without wanting to pre-empt the consultation process, I believe that there is a great deal in these reports that will be welcomed by stakeholders and I am looking forward to seeing the responses and in due course to engaging personally with interested parties”.

                              James Browne TD, Minister of State, Department of Justice.







The First & Second Reports of the the Firearms Expert Committee, established in 2022 by Minister of State James Browne, were published today Friday 31st March 2023 and can be viewed HERE.

There is a great deal to be considered in the two Reports (84 pages total content) and no doubt there will be much debate amongst firearms users’ groups. In the meanwhile and for the convenience of deer hunters reading this post, we set out below a relevant extract (paragraphs 4.1.3, & 4.1.4, pages 29-30, First Report:

4.1.3 Large mammalian quarry (feral goat, deer, boar, and other similarly-sized quarry)

Types of suitable firearms

The Committee recommends that when firearm is sought for the purpose of hunting deer and
other large quarry, such as feral goat, boar, and other similar sized quarry, the following
firearms would be suitable for this purpose:

• All types of rifles of a calibre between .240 to .308 and of a muzzle energy of over 2300
Joules. For the shooting of larger types of deer, or deer on open terrain rifles of
considerably higher muzzle energy i.e. 3600 Joules should be licenced.

• All types of shotgun with the appropriate ammunition (excluding deer as per S.I. 239
of 1977).

The Committee notes that S.I. 239 of 1977, provides that deer [may] only be hunted with 
centre-fire rifles of not less than .22 calibre with a muzzle energy of not less than 1,700 foot
pounds. The Committee understands from the NPWS that some hunters in Ireland may still
have firearms with these characteristics but recommends that new applicants should be
directed to higher calibres as a .22 may not be humane. The Committee understands that
aspects of deer management are under review by the NPWS and recommends that this issue
be referred to the review group for its consideration.

The Committee recommends it would be preferable, when possible, that one firearm is
licenced for multiple purposes. However, the Committee notes that this is not possible in all circumstances and a person may require firearms of differing energies depending on the purpose sought and the environment for which the firearm is to be used. The Committee notes that the suitability of the firearm will change with the conditions, distance, environment and quarry.

Use of restricted firearms

The Committee understands that certificates for restricted firearms are granted at thediscretion of a Chief Superintendent and that applicants must be demonstrate that the
firearm is the only type of firearm that is appropriate for the purpose for which it is required.

4.1.4 Dangerous quarry (lion, elephant, buffalo, bear, chimpanzee, etc.)

Types of suitable firearms

The Committee recommends that when a firearm is sought for the purpose of hunting or
euthanising dangerous quarry, such as lion, elephant, buffalo, bear and chimpanzee, the
following firearms are suitable:

• All types of rifles – these should be of a calibre above .338”.
• All types of shotgun with the appropriate ammunition such as slug or sabot.

In the Committee’s view, the use of a firearm for this purpose in Ireland would be limited to
animal control at zoos or wildlife parks. The Committee believes that these facilities should
have appropriate policies and arrangements in place for the safe use of these firearms.
The Committee understands that some shooters travelling overseas may seek these firearms
to engage in big game hunting. In these circumstances, the minimum calibre varies depending
on the country the shooter intends to visit, with most countries specifying a minimum calibre
of .375”. Some countries do not specify a minimum energy but it is likely an energy level of
over 5300 joules would be required to engage in this type of hunting.

The Committee notes that some countries require visitors to bring their own firearm for use
in big game hunting and hiring a firearm on arrival may not be an option. In order to use the
firearm safely when abroad these shooters will require access to the firearm in the State in
order to practice using the firearm before they travel abroad with it. Applicants seeking for
firearms for this purpose should be able to demonstrate that they have access to an
authorised shooting range certified for a use by firearms of the correct calibre and that they
travel to engage in these activities.

Use of restricted firearms

The Committee understands that certificates for restricted firearms are granted at the
discretion of a Chief Superintendent, and that applicants must be able to demonstrate that
they have good and sufficient reason for requiring a restricted firearm and demonstrate that
it is the only type of firearm that is appropriate for the purpose for which it is required.


In addition to the foregoing, the Committee looked at the use of sound moderators and thermal imaging equipment, to arrive at certain conclusions set out in the Reports.

Deer Alliance HCAP and the Association of HCAP-Certified Hunters will review the Reports in fuller detail over the coming days and post comment here as necessary or appropriate. The Firearms Users’ Representative Group (FURG) will also review the content of both Reports with a view to consulting with the Minister for Justice, the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and the Garda Siochana in due course.

POSTSCRIPT: It is reported today 1st April 2023 that one of the two independent members appointed to the Firearms Expert Committee by Minister Browne in 2022 has stated that he does NOT support the FEC report, as a number of [changes] that were to be made were not included. He states that he notified the Chair and the Minister of this, their response was to release their non-agreed version (this report is  unverified at the time of writing).










The following update on the UCD SmartDeer Project has been circulated by Simone Ciuti, Project Leader;

Dear Deer Stakeholders,

Thank you very much for your involvement in and contribution to the SMARTDEER project – even little things you have done in the past such as uploading deer observations or simply responding to our emails with feedback and criticism really helped to successfully complete this research program. Here’s a link to a permanent SMARTDEER website: CLICK

This webpage includes some of the key results from the project – this will remain, however, active permanently in order to display new results that will be produced as a result of the SMARTDEER effort. The funding for this program is over now but we have gathered data as well as created a pipeline of data analysis that will allow us to update deer distributions and relative abundances in the near future. In the website you will find up to date sika, red, fallow deer distribution and relative abundances (year 2022). You will also find the change in distribution and abundance of the 3 species in the period 2000-2018 (every 6 years, with new time series estimates available early next year). Updated distributions as well as scenarios of forest damages as a function of deer presence and relative density will be released soon. In short, keep an eye on this website because we will regularly add new results from SMARTDEER and related efforts, including a full list of publications.

As a research unit, we are now looking at the hotspots of deer presence and trying to understand the effects of localized high deer densities on biodiversity and more specifically soil ecology, vegetation diversity, forest damage and mammal/bird diversity. We continue to collect data across the nation to provide an empirical basis that we hope will serve for informed deer adaptive management in the future. Ireland is facing and will face significant land use and climate change in the coming years. Human-wildlife conflicts in this increasingly changing world are inevitable, but up to date information on the spatio-temporal dynamics of deer population will make the country ready to alleviate such conflicts and promote sustainable and healthy deer populations for everybody to enjoy.

A big thank you to DAFM who funded this program but did not interfere with our research in any stage nor dictated any agenda, but rather supported this project which is the first one producing such a high resolution map of the three main deer species in Ireland. A big thanks to NPWS, COILLTE, British Deer Society, DAERA,CEDaR, NBDC, and the British Agri-Food and Biosciences institute who provided invaluable data across borders and support at different stages. Finally, I would like to thank all of you for the help and support: SMARTDEER has been developed to work with stakeholders, for stakeholders. We will continue to work the same way, in the most transparent and inclusive manner, keep in touch with us if you are willing to receive updates about current and future research programs involving deer in Ireland.

All the best

Simone Ciuti, PhD

Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology (twitter: @UCD_Wildlife).Website: Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour. School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College DublinScience Centre – West (office 2.04), Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. Telephone: +353 (0)1 716 2342


Mid-March to mid-April is the optimum time to carry out a census of woodland deer. There is no shooting disturbance, family units are still intact, male deer have usually not removed themselves from the herd for the period of antler growth, and undergrowth is still low.

The next event in the 2023 Series of Deer Alliance HCAP Workshops, MCQs and Range Tests will take place on Saturday 6th May 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 on Saturday 13th May 2023 at the Midland Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, R35 NC58.

Applications are now open for this HCAP event , the second in the 2023 Series. Application can be made online through the Deer Alliance website,, 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 discount price of €120.00 (covering HCAP Application, Stalker Training Manual, Workshop, MCQ, Range Test and certification), generously subsidised by IFA Farm Business Skillnet. Current members of IFA Countryside will have received an email update from IFA Countryside in recent days, new and intending members should call 1800 236 236 or 01 426 0368 for membership information, which includes  insurance cover for all hunting and other countryside activities, compliant with requirements for the HCAP Range Test.

Certification is now mandatory for all first-time applicants for a Deer Hunting Licence. 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 or by ‘phone to 086 1927 845 (office hours).


The following candidates are eligible to participate in this Training Workshop & MCQ (name and HCAP Number):

ANDZELIS, Erikas, 2023/0045
BOLAND, Peter, 2023/0007
CLESHAM, Thomas, 2023/0054
DARCY, John Joe, 2023/0055
FLYNN, Declan, 2022/0113
KEANE, John, 2023/0032
LACEY, Declan, 2023/0063
MALONE, Tony, 2023/0021
MARIN VARGAS, Manuel, 2023/0046
MAY, Eoghan, 2023/0053
MAXWELL, David, 2022/140
McALEER, Dan, 2023/0061
MOLONEY, Michael, 2023/0058
O’BRIEN, Jason, 2022/0098
O’LEARY, Anthony, 2023/0049
PERCIUN, Sergiu, 2023/0060
RIZIJS, Kristaps, 2023/0059
SAVAGE, Sean, 2023/0056
SIČ, Tomislav, 2023/0057
SPAKAUSKAS, Laurynas, 2022/0138
STRAHAN, Graham, 2023/0064
STUART, Martin, 2023/0051
STUART, Peter, 2023/0052
THOMAS, Alan, 2023/0062
THOMSEN, Birthe, 2022/0088
VADANUIC, Mihail, 2023/0047
WHELAN CURTIN, William, 2023/0050

Candidate should make a permanent note of their HCAP Number for future reference.

This list will be updated as applications are received. Last Update 18.4.2023




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 18th March 2023. Thanks go to the Midland Range management and personnel, including J. P. Craven and Tony Saunders, and to Deer Alliance Range Officers Pat Scully and Liam McGarry. Successful candidates received their HCAP Certificates, ID cards and badges from Liam Nolan, Deer Alliance HCAP Course Director.


BURKE, Senan, 2023/0042
BURNS, Niall, 2022/139
BUTLER, Andrew, 2022/0120
CARROLL, Kyran, 2023/0022
COLLINS, Ciaran, 2023/0039
DOYLE, Darragh, 2023/0037
DRÓŻDŻ, Łukasz, 2023/0040
FOLEY, Ryan, 2023/0015
FURNESS, Mark, 2022/0141
GOLAND, Patrick, 2023/0016
GREGORY, Mikey, 2023/0034
HAYES, Martin, 2023/0012
HOARE. Shane, 2023/0013
JACKSON, Noel, 2023/0036
KEANE, Manus, 2023/0006
KELLY, Brian, 2023/0030
LACZKO, Attila, 2023/0043
LITTON, Darryl, 2023/0041
LUNG, Vasile, 2023/000588
MALONEY, John, 2023/0018
McLOUGHLIN, Cian, 2023/0011
McMAHON, John, 2022/0119
MONAHAN, Leslie, 2023/0010
MORRIS, Carl, 2023/0008
NOBLETT, Ciaran 2023/0031
O’CONNOR, Liam, 2023/0029
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
STACK, Stephen, 2023/0028
STAFFORD (Jnr.), Sean, 2013/0014
TIMMINS, Daire, 2023/0033
WALSH, John, 2023/0017









Ireland’s leading shooting and countryside organisations have come together to address widespread concern on direction of the “Firearms Expert Committee” (FEC) and its continued lack of consultation with firearms users and their representatives (see our previous posting on this topic “FIREARMS USERS REPRESENTATIVE GROUP OPPOSE STRUCTURE AND MAKE-UP OF NEW FIREARMS EXPERT COMMITTEE” HERE.There is also growing concern regarding increasing bureaucracy and unnecessary delays within the firearms licencing process, inconsistency in application of firearms law, and the perceived exercise of personal views by Garda Superintendents involved in firearms licencing.

The FEC was formed by the Department of Justice in June 2022 to carry out a comprehensive and potentially far-reaching review of firearms licencing in Ireland. For example, the committee has been tasked with making recommendations on which types of firearms should be licensable in the future, whether firearms certificates should be conditioned to limit the locations where firearms can be used or the purpose for which they may be used. FEC has also been tasked with making recommendations on whether there should be a limit on the number and type of firearms a person may hold.

Working together as an umbrella organisation, the Firearms Users Representative Group (FURG) will engage in high level campaigning to achieve comprehensive and genuine engagement with firearms users during the review with the ultimate aim of achieving a fairer, more efficient and consistent firearms licencing process.

A spokesperson for the FURG said: “Members of our respective organisations are genuinely concerned about the issues being discussed by the Firearms Expert Committee, without any  input from any shooting representatives which could have significant implications for shooting sports. We will insist that our members concerns are heard during this review and will strongly oppose any attempt to unfairly restrict shooting sports.”

Firearms Users Representative Group member organisations include: National Association of Regional Game Councils, Country Sports Ireland. FACE Ireland, Irish Deer Society, Irish Deer Commission, Wild Deer Association of Ireland, Deer Alliance HCAP, Countryside Alliance (Ireland), Irish Firearms Dealers’ Association, Irish Clay Target Shooting Association, National Association of Sporting Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Irish Country Sports Association, Precision Rifles Ireland.








The HCAP Range Test for candidates successful in the MCQ held on 4th March 2023 will take place at the Midland National Shooting Centre of Ireland (“the Midland Range”), Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, R35 NC58, on Saturday 18th March 2023, commencing at 10.00 a.m. sharp.

Candidates should be present on the Range from 9.30 a.m. to register for the Range Test and to sign in with ID and to exhibit their Firearms Certificate and evidence of shooting insurance. Hearing protection is advised and breech flags should be utilised while on the Firing Point.

Candidates will shoot in firing details of fifteen or more depending on circumstances. Any and all instructions issued by Midlands Range Officers and HCAP representatives must be adhered to at all times.

Once the overall course of fire is complete, successful candidates will be issued with a card confirming ‘pass’ status, which they should then present to the HCAP Course Director at the Clubhouse on the Range to receive their HCAP Certificate and other items.


BURKE, Senan
BURNS, Niall
BUTLER, Andrew
DOYLE, Darragh
DRÓŻDŻ, Łukasz
GOLAND, Patrick
HAYES, Martin
HOARE, Shane
KEANE, Manus
KELLY, Brian
LACZKO, Attila
LITTON, Darryl
LUNG, Vasile
POWER, Gavin
SCALES, Michael
SMITH, David
STACK, Stephen
STUART, Joseph
STAFFORD (Jnr.), Sean,







The following candidates (HCAP numbers, followed by mark achieved) were successful in the HCAP MCQ held in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Carlow, on Saturday 4th March 2023 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 18th March 2023. Procedures for Range Tests will be posted here separately.

Candidates who were Deferrals or No-Shows at this MCQ on 4th March 2023 will be carried forward to the next scheduled MCQ, 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

2023/0006, 88%, Pass
2023/0030, 94%, Pass
2023/0043, 96%, Pass
2023/0009, 86%, Pass
2023/0042, 88%, Pass
2022/139, 94%, Pass
2023/0022, 98%, Pass
2023/0027, 82%, Pass
2023/0039, 90%, Pass
2023/0037, 86%, Pass
2023/0040, 86%, Pass
2023/0034, 90%, Pass
2023/0012, 92%, Pass
2023/0013, 86%, Pass
2023/0036, 86%, Pass
2023/0015, 94%, Pass
2022/0141, 88%, Pass
2023/0016, 96%, Pass
2023/0041, 94%, Pass
2023/0005, 80%, Pass
2023/0044, 88%, Pass
2023/0019, 92%, Pass
2022/0142, 88%, Pass
2023/0020, 88%, Pass
2023/0028, 90%, Pass
2023/0003, 80%, Pass
2013/0014, 92%, Pass
2023/0026, 94%, Pass
2023/0033, 94%, Pass
2023/0018, 92%, Pass
2023/0011, 92%, Pass
2023/0010, 94%, Pass
2023/0008, 84%, Pass
2023/0031, 88%, Pass
2023/0029, 90%, Pass
2023/0002, 90%, Pass
2023/0001, 84%, Pass
2023/0004, 98%, Pass
2023/0024, 92%, Pass
2023/0025, 92%, Pass
2023/0038, 90%, Pass
2023/0017, 98%, Pass

The following candidate (HCAP number, followed by mark achieved) was unsuccessful and is required to re-sit the MCQ stage before proceeding to any Range Test. 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.

2023/0023, 74%, Fail