Dublin man arrested and charged following investigation into deer poaching with dogs

We received the following Garda statement as part of the highly successful and ongoing “Operation Bambi” targeting deer poaching. It should be noted, conviction on indictment under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, carry fines and imprisonment up to a fine not exceeding €250,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or to both. This powerful legislation is a new development in tackling such crimes.

We would urge hunters and members of the public to be vigilant over the coming weeks as poaching tends to increase in February. All suspected activity should be reported to your local Garda station, NPWS conservation ranger or you can contact us in confidence.

Issue Date: 05/02/2015

Glen Carney, of 52, Cloonmore Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24 appeared in custody at Naas District Court on Wednesday 4th. February 2015.

Evidence of Arrest, Charge and Caution were formally tendered by Detective Garda Niall Moloney of Carlow Detective Unit in front of Judge Desmond Zaidan.

The charges related to;

1.  The offence of cruelty as enshrined under Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013...hunting a deer at night time using a lamp and hounds.

2. Hunting deer during prohibited hours. Section 37 Wildlife Act 77/2000.

3. Lamping deer at night time. Section 38 Wildlife Act 77/2000.

He was granted bail and was remanded back to Naas District Court on 25/2/2015


Wild Deer Association of Ireland to address joint Oireachtas Committee

Having sought the views of our members regarding the proposals contained in the joint An Garda Síochána/Department of Justice and Equality working group report, on the review of firearms licensing, the association made a comprehensive submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.


The report cites public safety as the basis for the proposed changes.  Whilst public safety is to the fore of our Association’s objectives, we strongly disagree with this aspect of the report, as there is no evidence to show any link between legally held, sporting firearms and a risk to the safety of the general public.

As a responsible hunting organisation, we welcome any attempt to end the criminal misuse of firearms.  However, there is no relationship between the ownership of legally held, sporting firearms and criminal activity and to suggest so is highly offensive to Ireland’s responsible sporting shooters.  

We highlighted these and other concerns in our submission to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. Subsequently, Mr. David Stanton TD, Chairman of the Joint Committee , has invited the association to a meeting of the Committee to brief/discuss our submission in relation to the Review of Firearms Licensing. The meeting takes place on Wednesday 21 January 2015 in Leinster House and will be televised.

Over 200 submissions were received by the committee and we look forward to representing the views of our members.


Deer poacher convicted and prosecuted

We received the following Garda statement as part of the ongoing “Operation Bambi” targeting deer poaching.

Issue Date: 10/12/2014

Craig O’Neill, 4 Carrig Rua, Tullow Road, Carlow appeared in custody at Carlow District Court today 10th December 2014 where he faced 19 charges relating to various offences under the Wildlife Act 1976/2000 and associated matters under the Firearms Act. The charges all have their genesis in Operation Bambi and are predicated on alleged poaching of deer in the area of West Wicklow. 

The defendant pleaded guilty in court to the offences which were detected in 2014 under Operation Bambi.

In addition to the forfeiture of firearms, lamps, knives, binoculars and other items, the defendant was ordered to make a donation of €2,000 for the exclusive use of Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland.


Submissions sought on firearm licensing

We received the following statement this evening from Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality. Following the publication of a report on firearm licensing, Minister Fitzgerald is seeking submissions regarding proposed amendments to the current firearm licensing system.

The main points are; 1. the licensing of handguns be confined to specified Olympic handguns. 2. The licensing of centre-fire semi-automatic rifles be prohibited. 3. The licensing of semi-automatic shotguns with a capacity of greater than three cartridges be prohibited. 4. The grounds for disentitlement to hold firearms be expanded to include persons convicted of certain additional offences. 5. That the grounds for an appeal to the District Court against a refusal to grant a firearms certificate be extended. 6. That the reloading of ammunition be permitted in a controlled manner.

Previous statements on this matter claimed “a great many deer stalkers would be affected” by proposed changes to the firearm licensing system these statements have now been proven to be misleading.

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland is a key stakeholder in the consultation process and we will seek the views of our members over the coming weeks before making a comprehensive submission.  


Minister Fitzgerald announces publication of report on firearms licensing

Minister seeks submissions from public on proposed changes to licensing                                    system

Thursday 13 November, 2014

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, has today published the report of the Garda Síochána / Department of Justice and Equality Working Group established to conduct a review of firearms licensing.
The Minister said: “A key objective of firearms legislation is to protect society from the dangers associated with the misuse of firearms. While the great majority of licensed firearms do not give rise to specific concerns, the question has to be addressed whether specific categories of firearms
pose risks to the extent that their ownership by private individuals should not be considered. This has to be seen against the background that An Garda Síochána is largely an unarmed police force.”

The main recommendations in the report are:

      o That the licensing of handguns be confined to specified Olympic

      o That the licensing of centre-fire semi-automatic rifles be

      o That the licensing of semi-automatic shotguns with a capacity of
      greater than three cartridges be prohibited

    o That the grounds for disentitlement to hold firearms be expanded to
      include persons convicted of certain additional offences

    o That the grounds for an appeal to the District Court against a
      refusal to grant a firearms certificate be extended
  o That the reloading of ammunition be permitted in a controlled

The Minister added: “Mass shootings have happened in other jurisdictions over the past number of years with tragic consequences. A common theme in some of these shootings is that the firearms used are legally owned. I think it is only right that we consider options now, rather than endure a
similar tragedy here”.

The Minister has invited interested parties to make submissions on this Working Group Report. This process gives individuals and groups an opportunity to contribute to the development of firearms policy and legislation and will enable the Minister to consider the future direction
of such legislation.

The Minister concluded: "I have previously committed to consulting with all parties, including user-groups, before deciding on changes to firearms licensing. I would encourage all those with views on this matter to now take this opportunity to make a submission."

The report is available on the Department’s website under recent publications at



Gardai investigate deer poaching

We received the following Garda statement as part of the ongoing “Operation Bambi” targeting deer poaching.

Issue Date: 03/11/2014

In recent days Gardaí operated a number of checkpoints and surveillance operations investigating deer poaching in the Carlow, Wicklow and Kildare area. The operation is an extension of the highly successful “Operation Bambi” which has been extended and progressed for 2014 - 2015 with particular emphasis being placed upon the unlawful and illegal killing of wild deer.

The operation was supported by members of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) and involved a number of unmarked Garda vehicles. WDAI have actively supported Gardaí in highlighting and combating this crime through its national membership. Further operations are planned over the coming weeks. 


We welcome this initiative and would urge landowners, hunters and members of the public to be vigilant over the coming days and weeks when this criminal activity will peak. These criminals are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn, if you suspect deer poaching is taking place, never approach, take note of all relevant details including vehicle registration and contact your local Garda station immediately. For further tips on what to do if you suspect deer poaching click here to view our Shine a light on Poaching campaign poster.

Warning! Approaches by Approved Game Handling Establishment (Game Dealer) to become buying agent for deer 

We have received a number of complaints alleging members have been approached to act as buying agents for an Approved Game Handling Establishment (AGHE). The approach involves the AGHE suggesting to the hunter that they buy deer carcasses from local hunters and friends on their behalf at a low price and the AGHE in turn remunerates the hunter at a higher price for the same deer carcasses.

Any individual who partakes or supports such an arrangement is committing a crime as the sale and purchase of wildlife is strictly licensed. In addition income arising from such an arrangement would need to be declared to the revenue commissioners resulting in a likely tax liability.

It is also alleged the AGHE as part of their approach suggest that once the individual has completed their Trained Person/Hunter requirements for the sale of game to AGHE’s, they can sign off on the carcasses they purchase as having met the necessary inspection requirements. Again this is incorrect and an offence as the requirements state “person (trained person/hunter) was present when the animal was shot”.

Such illegal practices ultimately encourage poaching and the illegal trading of game in Ireland. This is nothing short of black-market economics on game that is already threatened.

 If you have received any such approach or are aware of an individual involved in this illegal practice please contact the Dept of Agriculture, Meat Hygiene 057 869 4479 or your local NPWS Conservation Ranger, alternatively you can email us on wilddeerireland@gmail.com

All-island survey of viral diseases in wild deer - request for assistance

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland is supporting a collaborative research study on the prevalence of certain viral diseases that may be transmitted from domesticated livestock into wild deer populations.

The study group are seeking assistance from deer hunters for the 2014/15 open deer season and we would be very grateful of your help in collecting blood samples. This collaboration is between Animal Health Ireland, the Department of Agriculture – Veterinary Division and Dr Ruth Carden.

We are seeking the collection of fresh blood samples, kits are provided with a postage paid self addressed small box to post the sample back to the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary labs in Backweston, Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

The fresh blood samples are required for all deer species, all ages and males and females from throughout the island of Ireland.

To request sampling kits, please contact Clare Gallagher Animal Health Ireland Tel: 01 615 7264 Email: clare.gallagher@agriculture.gov.ie  who will post out kits to individuals or alternatively, members may contact us at wilddeerireland@gmail.com
We have attached further details on how to use the sampling kits.

Background and context

Deer are an important wildlife species in Ireland, with several species having expanded their ranges in recent years. While some such as red deer (Cervus elaphus) have been present on the island for an extended period, others such as Muntjac (Muntiacius sp) are believed to have been introduced relatively recently.

Little is currently known about the prevalence or distribution of a range of diseases that have the potential to adversely impact deer populations. As ruminants, deer share susceptibility to a range of infectious diseases that affect farmed ruminants including cattle, sheep and goats. As such, deer are at risk of acquiring such infections by spill-over from farm animals with which they come into contact (with such contacts likely to occur with increasing frequency as ranges expand). Deer are also at potential risk of acquiring diseases of farmed ruminants that are transmitted indirectly by insect vectors. Finally, enhance disease transmission between deer is a potential outcome of increased levels of contact between different populations and/or species of deer. A knowledge gap exists for informed decision-making.

The purpose of this work is to conduct the first survey for selected diseases in wild ranging deer in Ireland. The primary focus will be on testing of blood samples provided by hunters for evidence of exposure to these diseases.

The diseases for which the samples will be screened in the first instance include bacterial and viral conditions which have been established in farmed ruminant populations (particularly cattle) for extended periods. Others have only recently been introduced onto the island or are believed to remain exotic. These include:

  1. Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVD). This infection is currently widespread within Irish cattle, with deer believed to be a spill-over host. BVD virus can cause a range of reproductive problems including abortion, mummification and congenital birth defects. Widespread evidence of infection with this virus was recently found in deer in the west of Ireland.
  2. Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BoHV-1). This virus is also widespread in Irish cattle populations. It is capable of causing significant respiratory disease and less commonly is a cause of reduced fertility and abortion.
  3. Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) causes Johne’s disease in cattle. This disease is characterised by chronic weight loss, diarrhoea and death and again is established in the Irish cattle population
  4. Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is an emerging disease characterized by abortion and congenital defects in ruminants that was described for the first time in Germany in 2011. The first case in Ireland was reported in cattle on 30th October 2012. Unlike the preceding diseases, it relies for transmission on biting insect vectors such as the Culicoides midge.
  5. Blue tongue virus (BTV) is another insect-borne disease that is transmitted by biting midges of the Culicoides species. The disease emerged for the first time in Europe in the past decade and is known to infect farmed and wild ruminant species, resulting in illness (including ulceration of nose, mouth and teats, weight loss) and death. An intensive campaign by DAFM in the Republic of Ireland and DARD in Northern Ireland has thus far been successful in preventing it becoming established in cattle on the island.

Outputs. This survey will for the first time provide an indication of the prevalence and distribution of these existing and emerging pathogens in wild-ranging deer in Ireland and provide initial indications of the potential impact they may have on the ecology of these species. In addition it will provide baseline data against which the results of future surveys can be benchmarked. The results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Study Participants
Dr Ruth Carden (Research Associate, National Museum of Ireland – Natural History)
Dr Ronan O’Neill (Veterinary Laboratory Service, DAFM)
Dr David Graham (Animal Health Ireland)
Clare Gallagher (Animal Health Ireland)

Click here for sampling kit guidlines

Thank you for your assistance.

Read our statement on claims "Major wild deer cull 'urgently needed' to combat TB - IFA"


The Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) attended a meeting with senior officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) on April 30th 2014 following claims by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) that a "major wild deer cull was urgently needed to combat TB". At the meeting DAFM confirmed they were satisfied there was no connection between the spread of Bovine TB and wild deer and had made this known to the IFA..

Data produced by WDAI matched that of DAFM with less than 2% of deer carcasses testing postive for Bovine TB, which was in line with most other animals. It is understood an isolated area in Co Wicklow has shown high rates of Bovine TB amongst livestock and the IFA are blaming local wild deer for the higher rates of the disease.

A spokesperson for the WDAI stated "while we sympathise with landowners who are affected by Bovine TB to suggest wild deer are the cause is misleading and only serves to unnecessarily vilify our already decimated wild deer herds".

A paper published in a prestigious scientific journal on July 2nd in the UK highlights groundbreaking new research showing how infected cattle missed by testing are key spreaders of the disease.

Information recently released by NPWS show a continuous decline in Ireland's national deer cull since 2010 undertaken by licensed hunters, the decrease is despite a significant increase in the number of hunting licensed granted to hunters during the same period. In Co Tipperary the deer cull declined by over 20% in 2012 and for the first time NPWS have begun to refuse deer hunting licenses to hunters due to low deer numbers.

It is understood wild deer herds have been decimated in many areas as a result of illegal deer poaching.

Clarification on the suggestion that proposals to amend firearm licensing in Ireland have been made


In recent weeks we received numerous queries from our deer stalkers regarding claims that proposals on firearm licensing had been made by An Garda Síochána to Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter TD, requesting the banning of almost all currently licensed handguns and all semi-automatic shotguns, pump action shotguns, centre fire semi-automatic rifles, 30 calibre rifles. Further claims included that these proposals would affect a “great many game hunters and deer stalkers”.

We consulted with other national hunting organisations, none of whom had any knowledge of the alleged proposals. We then contacted the relevant persons in An Garda Síochánaand Department of Justice. From our discussions with them we understand at least six other national hunting organisations made similar enquiries. An Garda Síochána confirmed, while they are regularly in contact with Minister Shatter and the Department of Justice, Equality as is required under the Firearms Acts 1925 to 2009 3e, no proposals had been made by them.

The firearms policy unit of An Garda Síochána also informed us they were aware of a review by the Department of Justice on the licensing of restricted firearms. Both An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice confirmed if any amendments were to be made to current firearm licensing this would involve a full consultation with all relevant stakeholders. Marion Walsh Executive Director at the Department of Justice & Equality and Minister Shatter also confirmed this in writing.

It is expected recommendations as a result of the current review will be made in due course regarding restricted firearms (Shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than three cartridges, long guns over .308 (7.62mm) calibre, rimfire rifles holding more than 10 rounds, all handguns other than air-operated firearms of 4.5mm (.177) calibre and those using .22 rimfire percussion ammunition and designed for use in connection with competitions governed by International Olympic Committee regulations as well as penetrating, explosive or incendiary ammunition, shotgun slugs and sabots were also declared restricted), which represents approx 1% of all licensed firearms. While we understand the distrust and issues that exist regarding our current firearm licensing, resulting in numerous court cases against An Garda Síochána and the ongoing ad hoc approach to the granting of firearm licenses to law abiding people, until such time as actual or any proposals are known it is a pointless exercise lobbying and only serves to unduly scare the hunting and shooting community, a view held by other national hunting organisations. Statements to suggest proposals have been made are causing further financial hardship to firearm dealers, as we are aware of a number of individuals who have put on hold or cancelled decisions to purchase firearms as a result of the alleging statements.

It should be noted there are a number of wide ranging proposals at an EU level regarding firearm licensing that will require a united approach from all hunting and shooting people, if adopted. When proposals are made, which we expect, that restrict or amend current licensed hunting or competition shooting our association will not be found wanting in our  support for our fellow hunting and shooting organisations as part of our continued strong representation of our members and sport. Based on the responses we received and enquiries made, at this time we are satisfied no proposals have been made regarding firearm licensing and there is no threat to deer stalking or game hunting. 

Significant decline in permits for deer damage a further sign of falling deer numbers

Information released by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) show a 36% fall year on year in the number of permits requested under section 42 of the wildlife acts. Permits are requested by landowners who suffer crop damage from deer, following an inspection by NPWS rangers the number of deer to be culled is agreed and the landowner nominates a hunter to undertake the cull.

Controversially Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan issued over 200 permits during the months of June, July and August when female deer have dependent young. The female normally hides its young while feeding and if culled the hidden fawn will suffer a horrendous death from starvation.

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) the representative body for deer hunters has asked Minister Deenihan to review the current process for the granting of these permits as there is evidence of widespread abuse mainly for financial gain. A spokesperson for WDAI said the decline in these permits is a further indication of the decline in wild deer numbers nationally due to illegal hunting by poachers, some areas have seen deer numbers decimated or wiped out.

Click here for further details by county



Statement by by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on illegal deer hunting

We just received the following statement from Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD regarding the successful prosecution of Martin Byrne, Ballygannon, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow for a number of offences under the Wildlife Acts relating to deer poaching.

In addition to the fine and seizure of a firearm, a total of three firearms licenses were revoked by An Garda Síochána.

We welcome this prosecution and would encourage members to continue reporting suspected incidents of deer poaching.

Statement by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on illegal deer hunting

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., has noted the recent prosecution in Bray District Court on 14 January, 2014 of a person convicted and fined a total of €1,350 for a variety of offences under the Wildlife Acts including hunting deer without a licence. The person’s firearm was also confiscated.

This prosecution follows on from other convictions in recent months involving illegal deer hunting outside the Open Season in Carlow and Kerry.   Deer hunting is regulated under the Open Season Order which set outs the dates which allow the hunting of deer species.     Persons are required to be in a possession of a licence from the Department in order to hunt deer during the Open Season.  

The Department is aware of the illegal killing of deer in certain areas of the country and officials from the Department have carried out increased number of patrols, including night patrols, in such cases. 

The Minister said “I know the vast majority of deer hunters are law abiding but it is not acceptable that certain hunters are flouting the law.  My Department will pursue those hunters who are acting illegally and bring them to court.”

There are a number of on-going cases and investigations involving officers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department and An Garda Síochána relating to illegal deer hunting.

Two deer poachers convicted at Portlaoise District Court


The Wild Deer Association of Ireland welcomes the prosecution of two men, Robert Talbot, Pike of Russell, Co Laois & Declan Hyland, Coolrain, Camross, Co Laois under the Wildlife Acts at Portlaoise District court on December 3rd 2013 & September 17th 2013. We would encourage members and fellow hunters to continue to report suspected incidents of deer poaching, which result in such prosecutions.

We received the following National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) statement - 

This case arose from events on the 19th January 2013 in the Slieve Bloom Mountains when a vehicle (VW Caddy Van) owned and driven by Mr. Robert Talbot was stopped by Noel Bugler Conservation Ranger and Padraig Comerford Divisional Manager. An effort was made to conceal a shot deer in the back of the van from the authorised officers. Two lamps and a rifle were seized along with the deer. The judge was anxious that the NPWS would implement policy on granting licenses/permits following a prosecution i.e. policy as set out in the Rules and Practices in 1998 under FOI Act. i.e. no licence/permit to issue for at least two years from the date of prosecution of a person.

Declan Hyland defendant in the case pleaded guilty on the 17th of September 2013 at Portlaoise District Court and after hearing evidence from Noel Bugler on behalf of the prosecution and submissions on behalf of the accused Judge Staines directed the payment of €300 to the Kildare Animal Welfare Foundation thereafter applied the Probation Act.

Robert Talbot wished to contest the matter and a hearing date was fixed for the 3rd of December 2013. A consultation was held with Mr. Comerford and Mr. Bugler on the morning of the hearing and it transpired that at the outset Mr. Talbot was no longer represented by Solicitor Philip Meagher. However, as he was unemployed Judge Staines granted him legal aid and requested Mr. Meagher to represent him. 

After some consultation, a plea was offered by the accused to the charge of hunting deer at night and the charge of impeding an authorised person i.e. Mr. Bugler in failing to open the rear door of his vehicle when requested. Mr. Bugler fully outlined the facts of the case to the Court and introduced the photographs relating to the deer. Judge Staines took a very serious view of the matter. She stated that there was no challenge in hunting Deer with lamps and to aggravate matters Mr Talbot had tried to explain his actions by telling the Inspector that he had only been shooting foxes. She was unimpressed with the lack of candour and general demeanour to the Wildlife Rangers. She stated that she was considering a prison sentence but after hearing a plea in mitigation she indicated that if Mr Talbot was suitable for community service she would order him to do two hundred hours community service in lieu of sentencing him to three months imprisonment. She adjourned the matter to the 20th of February 2014 to confirm his suitability and she will make the order for community service on that date.

The above penalty is in respect of hunting the Deer. She indicated that she would take the second Charge into consideration.

Two deer poachers convicted at Naas District Court

Two Deer Poachers Convicted at Naas District Court on 4th. December 2013. Fines totalling €3,100.00 and driving disqualifications for two years were handed down, firearm certificates to be revoked. 

"The Wild Deer Association of Ireland welcomes the prosecution of two men under the Wildlife Acts at Naas District court on December 4th 2013. We would encourage members and fellow hunters to continue to report suspected incidents of deer poaching, which result in such prosecutions."

We received the following Garda statement - two men from Rathvilly, Co. Carlow appeared at Naas District Court on 4th. December 2013 charged with three offences under the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended. 

Defendants Donal Smith Jnr, 10 Woodgrove Avenue, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow & Christopher Morris, 31 Slaney Bank, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow.

The offences charged related to the unlawful possession of a Sika Deer, Obstruction of an Authorised Officer and Using an MPV for the purpose of hunting at Kippure, Co. Wicklow on 16th. February 2012.

The facts of the case confirmed that Conservation Rangers from the NPWS had surveillance in place on the carcass of a Sika Deer which was concealed adjacent to the main road leading from Blessington to the Sally Gap. It was suspected that the deer had been illegally shot the previous night and had been prepared for collection during daylight hours thus minimising the chances of detection/interception while poaching / conveying deer during the night time hours.

The two defendants arrived on scene at 2.20pm. They were photographed by the Rangers and readily identified while loading the deer carcass into a black VW Golf the property of Mr Donal Smith Jnr.

The defendants made good their escape when challenged by the Rangers and drove away towards Blessington.

At 3.30pm Garda Darragh Jennings stopped the offending vehicle at Hollywood, Co. Wicklow however the defendants had disposed of the carcass at this juncture.

They were questioned at lenght but denied all knowledge of the allegations of deer poaching. When the photographic evidence was produced in situ they rubbished same suggesting that it had been contrived.

Mr Smith Jnr, through his solicitor, admitted shooting one deer. It was further suggested that he was embarking upon a career as a bodybuilder and required the venison as a cheap form of protein.

Judge Zaidan imposed a fine of 1100e and a two year driving disqualification against Christopher Morris while Donal Smith Jnr was fined a total of 2000e with a two year disqualification.

Judge Zaidan indicated that he was seriously considering the imposition of a custodial sentence and said that on the evidence as presented he was satisfied that Mr Smith Jnr played a pivotal role in this organised and structured deer poaching enterprise.

Mr Smith Jnr holds Firearm Certificates in respect of two rifles and it is envisaged that both will be revoked by the District Officer in Carlow.

Three men arrested following investigation into deer poaching


Below is a Garda press release following a joint operation between An Garda Síochána and NPWS which resulted in a number of arrests investigating deer poaching in counties, Carlow, Wicklow and Kilkenny.

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland has actively supported this operation in recent months and would like to thank those who assisted us.

We welcome today's arrests and would be hopeful of further arrests in the coming weeks.


Issue Date: 25/11/2013


Garda – Arrests following investigation into deer poaching.

As part of an ongoing operation, with the assistance of the National Parks Wildlife Service, targeting deer poaching in Counties Wicklow, Carlow and Kilkenny, gardai have arrested three males today.

Gardai from Bray, Wicklow and Baltinglass supported by officers from the Regional Support Unit carried out a number of planned searches in Carlow Town and the in Rathvilly, Co. Carlow this afternoon.

During the course of the searches three males in their 20’s were arrested and evidence seized.

The three males are currently detained in Carlow and Thomastown Garda Stations under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.



Issued by Tony Connaughton on 25/11/2013 15:49:30



Mission Statement Working with Communities to Protect and Serve

Changes to the requirement for trained hunter declarations when selling game announced

Based on feedback received from our members we recently made a submission on the compulsory requirement of the trained person/hunter declaration when selling game to approved game handling establishments (game dealers). Click here to read our submission.

It had been suggested that from November 1st 2013 the declaration would become compulsory however we are pleased to confirm that for those who sell 5 animals or less within a season, the declaration is not required until September 1st 2014, for who those sell more than 5 animals in a season the declaration is required from January 1st 2014.

This requirement will not affect the vast majority of deer stalkers as less than 9% of all deer stalkers sell to Game Dealers.

Below are further details received from Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

As previously advised the Deer Alliance which we are a member of, issued a statement confirming they expect to launch a food safety module before November 1st 2013 at an approximate cost of €100. This module will satisfy the requirements to obtain the trained person/hunter declaration. Click here to view the Deer Alliance statement.


Response to Consultation on Trained Person Declaration for Wild Game Being Submitted to Approved Game Handling Establishments
·        Under the European Hygiene Package Regulations it has been a requirement since 1st Jan 2006 that wild game shot with a view to placing it on the market for human consumption is examined by a trained hunter.

·        In advance of this the FSAI, supported by DAFM and the LAVS, consulted with various hunting organisations with a view to developing training courses in accordance with the Hygiene Package Regulations.

·        2011 saw the approval of the first such course. The FSAI working group responsible for the approval of training courses is composed of representatives from the FSAI, DAFM and the LAVS. It remains available to meet and assist any organisation wishing to develop a training course.

·        1st March 2013 saw the introduction of the requirement by the UK authorities that all in-fur wild deer for export to the UK be accompanied to the approved game handling establishment by a trained person declaration. This is an important market for Irish approved game handling establishments.

·        Therefore, outside of the legal requirements under the Hygiene package, in order to preserve this trade and prevent the promotion of illegal trade, it is essential that hunters supplying wild game to approved establishments in this jurisdiction are trained in accordance with the requirements of the Hygiene Package Regulations.

Public Consultation
·        On the 15th July 2013 DAFM initiated a public consultation on the proposal that all wild game presented to Approved Game Handling Establishments be accompanied by a trained person declaration as of from 1st November 2013.

·        The Department, in consultation with the industry and FSAI, estimates that this requirement affects about 400 suppliers to Approved Game Handling Establishments.

·        Following consideration of the various submissions received, and taking into account the concerns raised with regard to time-frames,  the following has been decided:

o   The Department has revised the deadline for implementation of the requirement for a trained person declaration. Therefore, from 1stJanuary 2014 it will be a mandatory requirement for all Approved Game Handling Establishments to only accept wild game accompanied by a trained person declaration. This Declaration is part of the normal Intake Documentation agreed with the Industry and in use at all approved game handling establishments;
o   As an allowance for irregular suppliers of wild game, hunters supplying less than 5 deer bodies in a season (or equivalent small wild game bodies) will be exempt from the requirement until 1st September 2014.

Read our submission on the complusory requirement for trained hunter declarations when selling game

The WDAI represents those involved in deer management nationally. The overwhelming view of our members and supporters (licensed deer-stalkers, deer managers, foresters and other stakeholders) in all regions, who responded to our request for feedback to this consultation, was that the mandatory implementation of this declaration, and within the suggested timeline, is inappropriate and unrealistic at this time.

While some AGHE’s (Approved Game Handling Establishments) operate to a high standard, with consideration for ethical and sustainable game management, it would appear others do not. Widespread advertising of cash sales promotes the illegal killing of deer (poaching) and “shooting for cash” thus game and deer are regularly killed in illegal and unhygienic conditions.

In other jurisdictions where the Trained Person/Hunter declaration is required, game and deer management dynamics, AGHE inspections and enforcement of wildlife laws differ greatly to Ireland.


The document states, “The authorities in Ireland have encouraged hunter organisations to provide hunters with training in food hygiene. In December 2011 the authorities approved one such course for the training of hunters provided by the NARGC. Other organisations are invited to provide similar training. It is normal practice across Europe for hunters to have this ‘trained persons’ qualification”.

As previously stated, game management dynamics in Ireland differ to other jurisdictions on issues such as the number of hunters present. For example, Ireland issued approximately 4,500 deer hunting licenses during the 2011/12 open season, whilst Germany issued 350,000 hunting licenses. Whilst the trained hunter declaration does not apply to deer alone, they represent the vast majority of game sold in this country. Therefore, the relatively small number of licenses issued, and the low number of hunters who sell game, make the implementation and running of such a course non viable to any hunting organisation or private company.

Further obstacles to the mandatory implementation of this declaration are the current providers of the required training. The National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), whilst a highly regarded ‘gun club’ organisation, are not viewed as a ‘deer’ organisation by those involved in deer management, who are the main suppliers of game to AGHE’s. Promotion amongst the unemployed as a free course and an easy cash opportunity, along with high course fees for the employed (approx €400 compared to €100 in other jurisdictions) have undermined the “trained person qualification” in its current format.

By way of comparison, WDAI has successfully run carcass handling seminars since 1999. These cover all aspects of food hygiene and are supported by DAFM, and our last two seminars in recent months were attended by over 180 hunters. 

The document also states, “Many wild deer shot in Ireland are sold to the UK ‘in the skin’. The UK authorities are now insisting that all these deer must be presented with a trained person declaration to the approved game handling establishment. Where a hunter is part of a hunting party, it is sufficient that only one person of the hunting team has the requisite training. The trained hunter can undertake the necessary examination and sign the declaration for the other hunters in the hunting party”.

The requirement by UK authorities has been in place since January 1st 2013. In the interim period the take up on the food hygiene training has been very low with many NARGC courses cancelled due to lack of interest. However, export numbers have not reduced during this period and, based on anecdotal evidence and reports received by us, a close inspection of export records to the UK would suggest declarations attached to carcasses do not match the hunter who culled the animal nor a member of their hunting party. This practice undermines our wild venison and creates significant public health issues.

“The Department proposes introducing the ‘trained person’ requirement from 1st November 2013”

Other than the specific observations noted above, which must be remedied before the mandatory implementation of this declaration, in the current economic climate sourcing the funds required to complete the required training based on current costs would be beyond the means of most hunters over such a short timescale.


Whilst the purpose of this regulation is to improve food hygiene standards, there are significant related issues that need to be addressed to avoid risk to public health and damaging the reputation of our wild game industry before any mandatory declaration is implemented. Such issues are tighter controls on the sale of game, cash sales and advertising, evidence of PPSN, possible introduction of photographic identification to prove the true source of carcasses along with regular inspections by DAFM to ensure standards and processes are being achieved.

The provision of food hygiene training in its current format is clearly not working nor viable and a new approach is required, which may include training being provided by the FSAI or financial assistance to hunting organisations who wish to gain accreditation for existing training in this area. Any such funding should be sourced from AGHE’s who are the main beneficiaries of this regulation.    

We feel any attempt to rush through the mandatory requirement of this declaration in its current format or timescale will result in serious risks to public health and encourage a black market for wild game.

Generally deer management by legal and ethical means would generate approximately 20 – 30 carcasses annually or between €1,400 and €2,100 per hunter. Costs would therefore show that deer management is not a career opportunity for anyone unfortunate to find themselves unemployed and any offer of free courses should be withdrawn immediately to protect the integrity of this regulation.

Consultation on the compulsory implementation of the trained person declaration when selling wild game

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have launched a public consultation (details below) on the compulsory implementation of the trained person declaration used when selling game to approved game handling establishments. As you will be aware to achieve this standard requires the successful completion of two exams at an approx cost of €400.
We would be interested in hearing your views on whether this should be compulsory to meet the UK export requirements for wild game? The proposed implementation date is November 1st 2013 is this realistic? Any other views you may have? Please reply to us no later than August 14th 2013 with your comments.
We are aware of at least one approved game handling establishment who is canvassing hunters suggesting the implementation date has been agreed, this is incorrect and ignores the public consultation process.




The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is proposing to make it compulsory that hunters who supply wild game to the market must undergo formal training in food hygiene, as required under EU Regulations. Before introducing this requirement the Department wants to consult with interested parties. This document explains what is involved.

Trained Persons

The authorities in Ireland have encouraged hunter organisations to provide hunters with training in food hygiene. In December 2011 the authorities approved one such course for the training of hunters provided by the NARGC.  Other organisations are invited to provide similar training. It is normal practice across Europe for hunters to have this ‘trained persons’ qualification.

Hunting for Own Consumption

The hunting of wild game for own use is outside the scope of the hygiene package regulations. The ‘trained persons’ requirement is for those who hunt wild game with the intention of placing it on the market for human consumption and it does not apply to hunters who only hunt for domestic use.

Presentation to an Approved Game Handling Establishment

The Department proposes that all wild game presented to Approved Game Handling Establishments should be accompanied by a trained person declaration. Many wild deer shot in Ireland are sold to the UK ‘in the skin’. The UK authorities are now insisting that all these deer must be presented with a trained person declaration to the approved game handling establishment.

Where a hunter is part of a hunting party, it is sufficient that only one person of the hunting team has the requisite training. The trained hunter can undertake the necessary examination and sign the declaration for the other hunters in the hunting party.

Date of Introduction

The Department proposes introducing the ‘trained person’ requirement from 1st November 2013.

 If you wish to comment on these proposals you are invited to make a written submission to Public Consultation, Meat Hygiene Section, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Grattan Business Centre, Portlaoise or by email to Danielle.coll@agriculture.gov.ie by Monday 19th August 2013.


Draft guidance document on the handling of Wild Game from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland


The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has issued a draft guidance document on the handling of Wild Game. The document sets out guidance and regulation on the handling of small and large wild game from the field to the fork, covering such topics as hunter requirements when selling Wild Game to an approved Game Handling Establishments (AGHE), the requirements for AGHE's and intermediaries such as Game Dealers.

The document also clarifies the myths on hunters selling Wild Game to commercial outlets. In the case of a trained person/hunter versus a non trained person/hunter the only variation in the selling of Wild Game to an AGHE is the removal of the heart, lungs and associated tissues and the head, as part of the examination of the of the wild game body and viscera for abnormal behaviour, characteristics or suspicions of environmental contamination. This is the current status however it is expected that a mandatory requirement for all hunters to be a "trained person" will be happen in due course as set out in the relevant EU directive.

Section 21 deals with the illegal killing of deer/poaching and non registered Game Dealers or other intermediaries and the impact these illegal activities can have on our food industry both at home and abroad.

The document is lengthy and detailed so we have highlighted in yellow the areas that may be of interest to you. 

If you have any observations or feedback we would be grateful if you would revert back by email before April 26th 2013 to allow us include your comments in our submission.

It is important to note that this is a draft working document and does not necessarily represent the position  of the Food Authority of Ireland

Click here to read the draft document

Deer Hunting Licence renewal and cull returns now available via email

National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) have informed us they with now accept Deer Hunting Licence (DHL) renewals for the forthcoming season and cull returns for the 2012/13 season via email.

NPWS will accept a scanned copy of your DHL renewal and cull returns by email (wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie) once fully completed with the supporting documentation and signed. Alternatively you can print and return the completed documents to: Wildlife Licence Unit, National Parks and Wildlife Service, 7 Ely Place, Dublin 2.

Those who do not have an email address or have not supplied one previously to NPWS will receive their renewal notice as normal. 

NPWS state " The regulation governing this specifies that you can only use a centre-fire rifle of not less than .22 calibre with a muzzle energy of not less than 1,700 foot pounds to hunt deer species and such rifles must use bullets weighing not less than 55 grains. It is very important than you comply with these requirements otherwise your application for a deer hunting licence will be refused." 

We are actively working with NPWS to ensure deer hunting licenses are only granted for calibres above .2250 while lesser calibres can use bullet weights above 55 grains and generate muzzle energy above 1,700 foot pounds they are not suitable for ethical deer management of our species. The minimum calibre we recommend is .243. 

NPWS email and documents below:


Dear Sir/Madam, 

Please find enclosed an application form for a licence to hunt deer for the 2013/14 hunting season.  If you intend to apply for a deer hunting licence you must return this form fully completed to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, 7 Ely Place, Dublin 2. 

 The National Parks and Wildlife Service plan to start issuing licences after the 1st August. Therefore it is very important that your application together with complete supporting documentation is forwarded as soon as possible in order to ensure the licence is issued on time.  Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant and this will result in a delay in the processing time. 

 All applications must be accompanied by current written permissions, including a phone number from the landowner or persons entitled to the sporting rights and these should be originals and currently dated.   All non-resident applicants must submit a copy of their European Firearms Pass with their application form.

 If you have lands leased from Coillte Teoranta (the Irish Forestry Board) or have any other leasing arrangement, you must:

 (a) show written proof that the lease is valid for the 2013/14 season  


(b) if you intend hunting on a Coillte letting which is not in your name, you must provide a permit or letter from Coillte confirming that you are entitled to hunt on those lands. 

If you are obliged to retain your original Coillte permit, please provide a photocopy. The original Coillte permit should not be forwarded because there may be a delay in returning it to you.

 Another issue you need to be aware of is the type of firearm and ammunition that may be used to hunt deer species. The regulation governing this specifies that you can only use a centre-fire rifle of not less than .22 calibre with a muzzle energy of not less than 1,700 foot pounds to hunt deer species and such rifles must use bullets weighing not less than 55 grains. It is very important than you comply with these requirements otherwise your application for a deer hunting licence will be refused.

 Any person who, for the purpose of obtaining a licence under the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012, makes any statement or gives information which they know to be false shall be guilty of an offence.  Penalties include fines and forfeiture of firearms. 

 If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact this office at (01) 888 3275 / (01) 888 32 98.

 E-mail: wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie

 Website: http://npws.ie/licences/hunting/tohuntdeer/

 Wildlife Licence Unit
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2

Click here for 2012/13 cull return document

Click here for 2013/14 DHL renewal document


Significant decline in national deer cull despite unprecedented increase in deer hunting licenses


Information recently released by the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) show a significant decline in the number of wild deer culled by licensed deer hunters. This decline is despite a dramatic increase in the number of licenses issued to hunt deer by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, with over 1,000 new hunting licenses issued in the last 3 years, bringing the national total to 4,501.

Deer hunters, when renewing their deer hunting licenses, are legally required to make a cull return annually to NPWS stating how many deer they culled during the previous hunting season. The most recent returns show a decline in the number of deer culled in all counties and across all deer species, with an overall decrease of 3,000 deer in comparison to the previous hunting season. The cull returns do not include deer killed illegally by poachers, which is believed to be at an unprecedented level nationally.

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland is an organisation representing Ireland’s deer hunters and their spokesperson, Damien Hannigan, commented, “The latest cull returns from NPWS are very worrying and consistent with reports from our members, who say deer numbers have been decimated in many areas from hunting pressures and widespread poaching”.

“We have consistently expressed our concerns to Minister Deenihan over the level of pressure on the deer population from poaching; stating that it was unsustainable and sadly these figures vindicate our concerns. Recently we have been approached by NPWS conservation rangers, claiming that they are actively discouraged by middle management from investigating incidents of deer poaching. We find these claims disturbing, as enforcing our wildlife laws is not optional and the WDAI have written to Minister Deenihan on this matter”.

A further indication of the decline in deer numbers is the significant reduction in the number of permits issued under Section 42 of the Wildlife Act  by Minister Deenihan, which allow for the killing of deer outside the designated hunting season (September 1st – February 28th), where genuine crop damage is caused by wild deer. Despite the decline in deer numbers, Minister Deenihan issued 204 of these permits during the months of June, July and August, when female deer have dependant young. The killing of female deer during these months often results in their young suffering a horrendous death from starvation.

Click here for cull returns by county

Recent poaching & deer related prosecutions/incidents

March 4th 2013

The following have been recently reported in the media

Kerryman Newspaper reports: A QUIET night in for two Tuosist residents was shattered by the sounds of gunfire and broken glass after a stray bullet hit their living room window at approximately 11pm last Monday night.

Adrian and Julie Van Tongeren had been watching TV just two metres away from where the bullet hit but, luckily, it ricocheted off and chipped the window frame before landing on the ground nearby.

Startled by the loud bang, Julie revealed how she jumped up off her couch and ran to the window where she heard another shot being fired.

“We were sitting about two metres away from the window and my husband Adrian was in the direct line of fire, so he was very lucky it didn't come directly through,” Julie stated.

“It was such a loud bang I actually leapt up and shouted ‘what the hell is that’. I thought it was fireworks at first,” she stated.

Hair and flesh samples found nearby, believed to be from game, have been handed in to gardaí, as well as the spent bullet.

One line of enquiry is that the offending shot may have penetrated an animal and continued towards the residence.

The incident has left the couple in shock and Dutch resident Adrian says he is seriously considering moving back to the Netherlands.

“We could have been killed or injured, we were lucky that the bullet didn’t come through,” he stated. “We’ve lived in Ireland in the past but had only recently moved here at the start of December,” Julie added.

Julie said she was disappointed that no one had apologised to the couple and is angry as serious injury could quite easily have occurred.

“You’re angry as you start to think what could have happened. Our dog normally wants to goes out at around 11pm and I would go out with it but for some reason that night it didn’t,” she stated.

Kenmare Gardaí this week took statements from the couple and said the matter was under investigation.

“This is an unfortunate incident and the subject of an ongoing investigation,” Gardaí stated.

(A firearm was seized and a file prepared for the DPP since this report)

Carlow People reported on February 12th 2013; TWO YOUNG men from Rathvilly who were found with eight deer, including two Sika deer, in their vehicle appeared before Baltinglass District Court.

Craig Kelly, Ballyoliver, Rathvilly and Christopher McCabe, Bough, Rathvilly pleaded guilty to hunting protected Sika deer at a time when hunting was prohibited at Ballinclea, Donard between 5.43 pm on November 9, 2010 and 3.30 am on November 10, 2010.
McCabe was also charged with using marked fuel oil on the same occasion.

Inspector Gerry Connolly said that when Kelly and McCabe were stopped at 3.30 am they were found to have eight deer including two Sika deer in the vehicle which they said they had shot earlier in the day.

The court heard that although it was hunting season and they had a permit to hunt and valid firearms certificates hunting of deer was forbidden after dusk.

The court heard both men had previous convictions.
Acting for both men solicitor Pat Reidy said at the time of the offence Kelly was 17 years old while McCabe was 19 years old. He said Kelly had recently lost his job having worked in a furniture shop. He said McCabe is also unemployed.

Judge David Kennedy said both men ‘ should be well aware of the hours' for hunting.

He fined both men €400 each and also fined McCabe €2,500 for using marked fuel oil.

*While fines can be small in some instances, the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, strongly oppose the renewal or look for the removal of Deer Hunting or Firearm Licenses where an individual has been prosecuted under the Wildlife Acts or offences involving firearms.

WDAI Facebook Page, March 1st 2013; A firearm was seized along with a Sika stag on Wednesday February 27th 2013 in the Killarney area, a file is been prepared for the DPP.

Nenagh Guardian reports on February 5th 2013: A deer hunter was last week found guilty of discharging a firearm from his jeep on a public road near Newport. Nenagh District Court heard of how John Bannon (38), 218 Ballinacurra Gardens, Limerick was out hunting with another man in his jeep on Christmas Eve 2009. Witness Robert Collins gave evidence of how he observed a maroon coloured 2008 Toyota Landcruiser pulled up on the road beside a field while he was out hunting at Toor, Newport...... click here for the full story

WDAI Facebook Page, February 26th 2013: a second incident took place yesterday in Dowras/Templenoe area of Kenmare, Co Kerry while the house was not hit in this instance the family including young children were left terrified. If you have any information please contact Kenmare Garda Station on 064 6641177 or contact us in confidence.

New! Group and club membership now available

January 17th 2013

Following requests from various groups and clubs, we are pleased to confirm that we are now offering Group/Club Membership. Our wild deer herds and the sport of deer-stalking faces many challenges such as the illegal taking of deer, poaching and proposed changes to the current open season are amongst just a few, so it has never been as important to have a strong voice!

As the largest and most active organisation in Ireland representing people who work with deer and those involved in deer-stalking, we have been to the fore in addressing these issues in recent years and work closely with government and other stakeholders such as Countryside Alliance Ireland, FACE Ireland, Deer Alliance etc.

We also run a busy schedule of events on related deer topics. These events are free of charge and open to both individual and group/club members. The Wild Deer Association of Ireland is a non-profit organisation and operated by dedicated members who unselfishly give up their time on a voluntary basis.

The benefits of been a group/club member:

·     Your group/club will be part of the leading organisation in Ireland representing those who are involved in deer-stalking & wild deer management.

·     Your group/club will have access to a busy schedule of free deer related events.

·     Your group/club will have a voice & input in the future direction of wild deer management and related legislation in Ireland.

·     Your group/club will have the support of an active organisation dedicated to deer and addressing the issues our sport faces.

·     We already have the largest dedicated deer-stalking membership in Ireland with strong representation in every county, giving your group/club the opportunity to meet like minded people.

·     You will receive a 10% discount on our normal membership rates.

Application forms can be downloaded at www.wilddeerireland.com or click here  if you wish to forward to your local group/club

Group membership is open to new & existing members - each group must have a minimum of 5 members and have a group/club name . For further details contact us on 087 2496987/ wilddeerireland@gmail.com


Watch our RTE report on Poaching Patrols & NPWS/Garda Siochana checkpoint

December 4th

We have been trialling a number poaching patrols in recent months which have been hugely successful in combating this crime. The purpose of the patrols is to have a presence in the affected areas & gather relevant information for the agencies responsible for enforcing our wildlife laws. The presence of a poaching patrol in its self has also proved a deterrent for most poachers. 

To ensure best practice and the safety of those undertaking the patrols, we use the principles as set out in our Shine a Light on Poaching campaign - it is important you never approach someone you suspect of the illegal taking of deer (poaching). 

Patrols operate on a voluntary rota basis and we offering assistance to any current member (subject to conditions to ensure the integrity of the patrols is maintained) who would like to set up a patrol in their area. You will require at least two members to set up a patrol. 

Following our highly successful RTE/TG4 report on the illegal trophy hunting of Co Kerry Red Stags in October, a report on our poaching patrols aired on RTE News bulletins this week which includes a poaching patrol and a joint checkpoint with An Garda Síochána and NPWS in Co Wicklow - you can click here to view the report if you missed it. 

New Requirements for Game Handling Establishments

December 4th

The Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have advised us of the following changes, regarding the export of wild venison. These new measures provide increased traceability, making it more difficult to sell illegally taken venison for unregistered Game Dealers along with tighter controls for registered Game Dealers.  

We received a number of enquiries this week regarding the "Trained Person/Hunter" course requirement referred to in the notice, where members had been informed by others that this is a requirement for all Deer-Stalkers. We are happy to confirm this requirement is only required for those who wish to sell wild deer to a Game Handling Establishment (Game Dealer) from January 2013. The approx cost of this course is €375 this along with a significant fall in venison prices in recent weeks should be a consideration for members who sell small numbers of deer to Game Dealers, as it would take on average on approx 7 deer to cover the cost of the course. Furthermore the qualification does not allow Deer-Stalkers to sell or process wild deer for profit, other than process for their own personal use, as is the case for all Deer-Stalkers regardless of having the course completed or not.

Trader Notice: MH 41/2012 
To: Operators of approved game handling establishments

Subject: Revised Commercial

 Document for the Export of In-Fur Wild Deer Bodies from the Republic of Ireland to an Approved Game Handling Establishment in another Member State

Trader Notice MH 26/2012 set outs out the requirements for Commercial Documents used to accompany consignments of in-fur wild deer bodies from the Republic of Ireland to another Member State within the EU. Following discussions with the UK authorities it has been agreed to amend the document, with effect from 3rd December 2012.

It has also been agreed that consignments of in-fur deer arriving in the UK after the end of January 2013 must have been accompanied by a trained person declaration on arrival at the Department approved game handling establishment.

Meat Hygiene Section
4th December 2012

Minister Deenihan launches a review of the Open Seasons Order for Deer

November 6th (updated November 16th in bold)

Minister Jimmy Deenihan TD launched a review of the Open Seasons Order for wild deer on November 6th 2012 with a closing date for submissions a mere 8 working days later on November 16th. The consultation document which formed the basis of the review contained a number of significant errors. Following representation by the WDAI we are pleased to confirm Minister Deenihan has kindly agreed to extend the consultation period to December 14th 2012 with some corrections also made to the consultation document.

Following the recent announcement by Minister Jimmy Deenihan to initiate a review of the current Open Seasons Order for Deer, we received the following communication from the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

"I would like to make you aware that the Department is undertaking a review of the Open Seasons Order for Deer species.
As part of the review, a public consultation process is underway whereby interested parties are been asked for their views.
If your organisation has any views on this issue I would be grateful if they can be submitted by 16 November 2012.

Further information is available at:

As the largest representative body for Licensed Deer Stalkers we will be making on submission on this proposal.

Should the season be shortened? Make the season longer for females? Leave the season as is until a deer census is undertaken? If you would like to have your say email us at wilddeerireland@gmail.com before close of business Tuesday November 13th.

Click here to view the consultation document

Read our joint submission on the 2nd draft for deer management in Ireland

October 30th

On the suggestion of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, it was decided that a Joint Submission would be made incorporating the key concerns of the different deer organisations, together with Countryside Alliance Ireland, regarding the 2nd Draft for Deer Management Policy Vision in Ireland.

Click here to read

Poaching & Illegal Trophy Hunting force the closure of the open season for Red Hinds in Co Kerry

October 22nd

Following representations by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, Kerry Deer Society & local National Parks & Wildlife staff we are pleased to confirm that female Red Deer in Co Kerry have been removed from the Open Seasons order for 2012/13. The removal from the Open Seasons Order means that the hunting of both male and female Kerry Red Deer is now prohibited.

In recent years there has been growing concerns from our members who manage deer in Co Kerry that Red Deer numbers are now at dangerously low levels throughout Co Kerry due to poaching & illegal trophy hunting.

The removal of Red Deer from the open seasons order will not alone protect their future as those who engage in such criminal activities as poaching & illegal trophy hunting do not take note of open seasons or our Wildlife Laws. Until such time as meaningful data on current Red Deer numbers in Co Kerry is available & an appropriate management plan is put in place to combat poaching & illegal trophy hunting, can we ensure the survival of these unique deer and maintain a balance between deer & local land uses.

While we welcome the Ministers announcement, we are concerned by his lack of acknowledgement of the factors that have caused their “significant decline”, furthermore what actions Minister Deenihan plans to take to ensure their future survival.


Press Release from Minister Jimmy Deenihan

Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht  announced today (Monday, 22 October 2012) that the Kerry female red deer has been removed from the open season for hunting.     The removal of the Kerry female deer from the Open Seasons Order means that the hunting of both the male and female Kerry red deer species are now prohibited

The Minister said “Kerry Red Deer are a unique feature of our heritage. The National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department has been monitoring red deer in Killarney National Park and has recorded a significant decline in red deer density in recent years.   I have, therefore, decided that, in order to conserve the special lineage of red deer in Kerry, to prohibit the hunting of these unique species." 

The Minister also said he believed that hunters would support this measure and he was aware that some hunting organisations had urged his Department to take action to address the poor status of the Kerry red deer.     The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Minister's Department will be closely monitoring compliance of the initiative.

The Minister has also decided to commence a more general review of the Open Season Order for other deer species.  He said that  “The last substantial change to the Open Season for deer species was in 2005 so I believe it is timely that a review is now undertaken.  I would ask that various interest groups partake in this consultation process as it is important that I have the views of a wide range of interests which will assist my Department in considering if changes are needed to the Order.”    

Motorists urged to be vigilant during Deer rutting season

September 25th

Press Release

Motorists urged to be vigilant during Deer rutting season

It's autumn and in our forests and across our mountains, tensions are rising as the rutting season gets under way, the time of the year when male deer are driven by an urge to reproduce. From late September until early November the clash of antlers will be heard as males show off their virility to potential mates and, like gladiators entering an arena, they parade around showing off their armoury of antlers.

While the rut is an amazing experience to witness it is also a time when there is an increased incident of road traffic accidents involving deer as male deer go in search of females and younger males are ousted by dominant males forcing deer to cross roads and motorways. The Wild Deer Association of Ireland are calling on motorists to be vigilant at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active, particularly in high risk areas such as woodlands and mountains.

What should drivers do in high risk areas? Reduce speed where they see a warning sign and stay alert. Prepare to stop, never swerve as you could hit another obstacle or oncoming vehicle. When you see a deer “dip your head lights” as the full-beam may cause the deer to freeze. If a deer has crossed in front of your vehicle, be aware that others may follow. Do not approach an injured deer. If you are involved in a Deer RTA or come across a deer that has been involved in a RTA, immediately contact the local Gardaí.

For more information go to http://www.wilddeerireland.com/report-accident

National Deer Management Policy Vision 2nd Draft Submissions

September 19th 2012

Having sought the views of our members and following the completion of a public consultation on the Draft Deer Management Policy Vision in November 2011, the body charged with the development of this policy - the Inter Agency Deer Policy Group has revised the draft document to take account of the submissions received.

Following a briefing with Shane McEntee, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Inter Deer Policy Group on September 12th, written submissions are now invited from interested parties and organisations on the 2nd Draft Deer Management Policy Vision. The Wild Deer Association of Ireland will compile a revised submission based on the feedback of our members/supporters and we ask you to review the document as it contained proposals that may significantly alter our sport and the management of wild deer in Ireland . The Revised Draft Document can be accessed through the following link:


You can send your feedback to wilddeerireland@gmail.com or Wild Deer Association of Ireland, PO Box 31, Midleton, Co Cork no later than 5 pm on Friday October 5th 2012.

Circular regarding the illegal use of firearms on Coillte lands

September 3rd 2012

We received the following notice from Coillte regarding the illegal use of firearms on their lands and what actions should be taken when a suspected incident of deer poaching takes place.

Click here to read


Death of Irish Deer Society Vice President - Paul Woods

August 12th

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Paul Woods, Vice President of the Irish Deer Society. Paul was a deer man in the truest sense and will be greatly missed - May he rest in peace

Change of address for Deer Licence applications

July 19th

Change of address for Deer Licence Applications - we received the following notice from the National Parks & Wildlife Service:

The National Parks and Wildlife Service wishes to announce that the office of the Wildlife Licensing Unit in Ballybay Co. Monaghan will close with effect from Friday 20 July 2012. The new Wildlife Licensing Unit will be established in the Department’s office
s in Dublin and will deal with all wildlife licensing matters. The address of the new unit is 

Wildlife Licensing Unit
National Parks and Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2 

From 20 July 2012 all applications for wildlife licences should be sent to the above address. The new Wildlife licensing Unit will open to the public on Wednesday 1 August 2012.

Join our group policy and avail of a 25% discount on your CAI subcription

July 17th

Avail of a 25% discount on your insurance by renewing/joining our group policy with CAI - If you have your insurance through our group policy with Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) this can now be renewed. The annual subscription remains at €45 which represents a saving of 25% over the standard individual subscription of €60. Your cover includes many important benefits such Public Liability up to €12m.

If you are not part of our group policy be sure to mention your are a member of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland to the CAI team when renewing to avail of the discount or you can join CAI by contacting them on 01 6903610 or email membership@caireland.org.

Open to Wild Deer Association of Ireland members only

New RISE Board announced & Cork rally June 7th

May 14th

You will recall the RISE campaign was formed by 13 Hunting, Fishing and Shooting organisations in 2010, these organisations represent the interests of over 300,000 members. While the campaign was unsuccessful in stopping the ban on Stag Hunting, it's clearly showed the unity and strength that exists within the Fields Sports community. A new RISE board has recently been formed to ensure previous commitments by Government are honoured and that future legislation such as the Animal Health and Welfare Bill does not impact on our sport. Below is a list of amendments we will be submitting regarding this legislation through our membership of FACE Ireland. 

The inaugural meeting of the new RISE Board was given a detailed briefing on Saturday in Lucan Co Dublin of the main issues on which it will focus on over the coming months. William Ireland is our representative on the board.  Labour and Fine Gael politicians in particular will be targeted for what hunting, shooting and fishing associations believe is political disregard for their concerns as manifested by the response of the Minister for Justice and other members of the Cabinet to the outcome of the High Court firearms licensing test cases, including their attempts to defend the behaviour of some senior Gardai who were found to have interfered with evidence and who breached the Garda disciplinary code. This issue is set against the background of the intervention and findings of Mr Justice Hedigan following which 168 cases were settled with an order for costs in excess of €1million against the Gardai. 

A second issue which has now finally come to a head is the deep resentment and anger which is directed against Labour for opposing, and Fine Gael for reneging, on the pre-general election commitment by Fine Gael to repeal the legislation banning hunting by the Ward Union Stag Hounds in return for votes in the general election. 

The failure to have any consultation with hunting representatives in the drafting of the Animal Health & Welfare Bill is also a highly contentious issue, particularly following previous broken promises on the Dog Breeding Establishments Act. 

The proposed licensing of new fish farms by the Minister for Agriculture Food & the Marine which will threaten the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon has also infuriated the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA). 

These issues have now festered to the point of uniting all thirteen national hunting, shooting and fishing organisations under the RISE banner.  The Board has decided to kick-start the campaign with a monster rally in Cork on Thursday, June 7th at 8pm in the Silver Springs Hotel to which all Munster TD’s and Senators and the Minister for Agriculture will be invited.   

We would call on our members and supporters to support this rally.

Click here to view our suggested amendments/ queries on the Animal Health & Welfare Bill


Minister reduces permits to shoot deer out of season

April 2nd 2012

Minister reduces permits to shoot deer out of season, highlights a drop in deer numbers

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) - the main organisation representing the country’s deer hunters - has welcomed information released by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD which shows permits to cull wild deer outside of their designated hunting season have dropped by 16% in 2011, it is believed this is a direct result of a significant drop in deer numbers nationally. Such permits are granted to landowners by the Minister under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts, to allow culling of deer where genuine crop damage is caused to farm land or forestry.

The WDAI has been to the fore in calling for a review of this process, as it is understood a growing number of permits are abused for financial gain by hunters rather than actual crop damage. The WDAI have raised these and other concerns with Minister Deenihan and his predecessor John Gormley. In 2011 Sean Fleming TD put a number of Parliamentary Questions on behalf of the WDAI to Minister Deenihan, regarding permits issued by him that included a condition allowing deer to be culled at night using rifles and powerful lamps used to dazzle deer. The Wildlife Acts state such a practice should be lawful only for “educational or scientific purposes” and not for culling purposes, as this practice is considered an unethical method of culling deer and creates a serious safety risk to the general public. As a direct result of this request, permits allowing the shooting of deer at night are almost non-existent with only 9 granted in 2011 compared to 108 in 2010 - of the 9 granted 3 were to Coillte and NPWS staff.     

The WDAI have also raised the unacceptable practice where Minister Deenihan continues to issue permits (63% of the total) allowing female deer to be culled during the months of May – August, during these months female deer have dependent fawns, if the female is shot, the new born deer will be orphaned and suffer a horrendous death from starvation, which can take a number of weeks.

Damien Hannigan of the WDAI said: “While we support and encourage the culling of female deer as part of a proper deer management programme, to reduce deer numbers where over-population or genuine crop damage occurs. Culling females during these months when the young are still dependent, is an inhumane practice and contrary to ethical deer management. We call on Minister Deenihan to immediately cease this practice.”

Following discussions between the WDAI and Paul Fletcher a representative of the main Game Handling Establishments, who purchase the culled deer from hunters and who have seen a reduction in deer numbers been sold to them. It has been agreed Game Handling Establishments will no longer purchase deer culled out of season and a premium currently paid for Red Deer will be removed. These unprecedented initiatives come on the back of growing concerns that deer numbers are under threat in many areas in particular it is believed Red Deer numbers have been decimated nationally by illegal poaching and over hunting. It is hoped these initiatives will allow deer numbers to recover to sustainable levels.

Paul Fletcher of Premier Game Ltd said: “all the main Game Handling Establishments who are concerned for our national deer herds have agreed not to purchase deer culled out of season.” Damien Hannigan of the WDAI said: “we may well be culling deer faster than they can reproduce, not allowing them sufficient time to recover from unprecedented levels of illegal poaching.”
- Ends -
Further Information: Damien Hannigan, Secretary, Wild Deer Association of Ireland, 087 2496987


Findings show International Importance of Kerry's Red Deer

March 26th 2012

Ancient humans brought red deer to Ireland 

The origin of most Irish animals is uncertain and one of the most iconic species, the red deer is most controversial: was this species native or introduced? In a new study that will be published online on 30th March 2012 in the scientific journalQuaternary Science Reviews, a multinational team of researchers from Ireland, Austria, UK and USA have answered this question. By comparing DNA from ancient bone specimens to DNA obtained from modern animals, the researchers discovered that the Kerry red deer are the direct descendants of deer present in Ireland 5000 years ago. Further analysis using DNA from European deer proves that ancient Neolithic people from Britain brought the red deer to Ireland. Although proving the red deer is not native to Ireland, researchers believe that the unique Kerry red deer population in Ireland are worthy of special conservation status. 

Fossil bone samples from the National Museum of Ireland, some up to 30,000 years old, were used in the study. Results also revealed several 19th and 20th century introductions of red deer to Ireland, which are in agreement with written records from the same time. At present there is no evidence of red deer in Ireland during the Mesolithic period, 9000 years ago, when humans first settled in Ireland. 

The investigation’s findings are in agreement with archaeological evidence, which also suggests a special relationship between humans and red deer during prehistoric times. Antler fragments and tools are frequently found in Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age excavations. 

Dr Ruth Carden, working as a researcher in the National Museum of Ireland, who led the study, said “The Kerry red deer represent a unique population within an Irish context and therefore should be given special conservation and management status within Ireland.”

 Dr Allan McDevitt, from University College Dublin, one of the lead geneticists said “We have very few native mammals in Ireland but certainly those that arrived with early humans, such as the red deer, are every bit as Irish as we are.” 

CEO, Michael Starrett, The Heritage Council, Ireland said “The Heritage Council was delighted to be able to support this ground-breaking research. It brings to light new aspects on the history of our natural heritage as well as its cultural relevance. Our heritage is as intertwined in our everyday lives today as it was in the lives of our ancestors and we can only hope that important research such as this continues to get support ensuring a greater understanding of our natural heritage.” 

Damien Hannigan of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland said “we welcome these findings, which confirms the international importance of the Kerry Red Deer herd. There is growing concern that Red Deer numbers in Co Kerry are now at dangerously low levels and we are calling on Minister Deenihan to register these unique deer on the Red list of the I.U.C.N (World Conservation Union). The IUCN Red list of threatened animals states that, a population is threatened if it does not contain at least 1000 individuals capable of reproducing. The Red Deer in Co Kerry would be considered as “Near Threatened” and require immediate protection.

This study was co-funded by the following organisations: The Heritage Council, Kerry County Council, Screebe Estate Galway, IRCSET, Irish Deer Society and Wild Deer Association of Ireland. 

Protecting against Lyme disease when taking part in outdoor pursuits

January 23rd 2011

I am writing to you on behalf to the South East Regional Zoonoses Committee.  We are a multidisciplinary group of Human and Animal Health Professionals from the South East whose remit includes informing the public about diseases that can be passed between animals and humans. 

Members of Wild Deer Association of Ireland are involved in outdoor pursuits and may be at risk of contracting Lyme disease because these activities.

Lyme disease, which is spread by tick bites, can, in a minority of cases, cause severe debilitating heart and nervous system disease.  Recently the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre issued a warning to people who engage in out-door pursuits in the summer months -ramblers, campers, mountain-bikers and others who work or walk in forested or grassy areas -to be vigilant against tick bites.  Ticks are tiny insect-like creatures that feed on the blood of mammals and birds and will also feed on humans.  Ticks are more active and numerous in the summer months and protecting against tick bites protects against Lyme disease.

Tick bites can be prevented by:

  • Wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirt and shoes
  • Using insect repellent
  • Checking skin, hair and warm skin-folds (especially the neck and scalp of children) for ticks after a day out
  • Removing any ticks and consulting with a GP if symptoms develop
  • Using tick collars for pets (they can get Lyme disease) and inspecting them for (and removing) any ticks.

Only a minority of ticks carry infection.  If a tick is removed within a few hours, the risk of infection is low.  The entire tick, including any mouthparts which might break off, should be removed with a tweezers by gripping it close to the skin.  The skin where the tick was found should be then washed with soap and water and the area checked over the next few weeks for swelling or redness.  Anyone who develops symptoms should contact their GP and explain that they had been bitten by a tick.

Further important information on protecting against Lyme disease, an information leaflet and a poster are available at http://www.hpsc.ie/hpsc/A-Z/Vectorborne/LymeDisease/

We would urge you to encourage your members to read this information and we suggest that a copy of the HPSC leaflet be included with your education material. 

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Sarah Doyle, MB MRCPI MPH MFPHMI, MCRN 19055
Consultant in Public Health Medicine,
Secretary to the South East Regional Zoonoses Committee,
Public Health Department,
HSE Offices,
Dublin Road,

New Coillte Prohibition/Safety Sign

November 15th 2011

Click on the link below to print the new Coillte Prohibition/Safety Sign, which under the terms of your lease agreement must be displayed at all entrances, prior to commencing stalking.

You will notice that there is a space where the stalker can inform other potential users when an area is due to re-open (in accordance with the terms of the licence) and another space where a mobile telephone number should be included in the event that a persons requires to enter the area for either urgent forestry business on in a emergency situation.

Coillte have informed us that these signs prohibit access to all persons.

Click here to print your sign

Minister Deenihan responds to questions put by the WDAI on Section 42 Permits

October 26th 2011

A number of questions were put to Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI)regarding concerns about the issuing of permits under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts. In particular the continuing issuing of permits by the Minister for the culling of female deer when they still have dependant young. Furthermore it had been highlighted to the WDAI that the Minister had issued a number of permits allowing the lamping of deer from vehicles and roads, potentially creating a serious risk of injury or worse for the affected communities. We are pleased to see the Minister has clarified this matter.

The WDAI are calling on the Minister to engage with the relevant stakeholders, with a view to conducting a review of the current processes used to issue permits under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts. We will be engaging further with the Minister in the coming weeks.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sean Fleming TD for his support on this matter.


NO. 71

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritageand the Gaeltacht if he will provide the list of locations in respect ofthe number of licences he has issued under Section 42 of the Wildlife Actwhich provides for the shooting of wild deer outside the designated openseason and allows for night time shooting from the public road with theuse of high powered lamps in view of the fact that the Summary Jurisdiction(Ireland) Act 1851 prohibits discharge of a firearm from within 60 feetof a public road; if the shooting of wild deer in this situation is legaland even though it is highly dangerous to local communities it has thepotential to promote the illegal taking of deer; the reason he continuesto issue permits allowing for the culling of female deer while they stillhave dependant young, which results in the dependant calf/fawn sufferingan horrendous death over a number of weeks; and if he will make a statementon the matter.

- Sean Fleming.

* For WRITTEN answeron Wednesday, 26th October, 2011.

Ref No: 31641/11 Proof: 89


Minster for Arts, Heritageand the Gaeltacht (Jimmy Deenihan, T.D.)


The Wildlife Acts require that deer may onlybe hunted under Ministerial licence. The open season for most deer speciesis from 1 September to 28 February, depending on the species and genderof the deer. This reflects the conservation needs of the species concerned.Muntjac deer, which are considered an invasive species, can be hunted atany time of the year.

Deer can and do cause serious damage to cropsand forestry. If a person needs to control deer outside the annual openseasons, permission under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts is required.Permissions are issued on a case by case basis, to take action by meanswhich can include scaring, capturing or killing.

Recently I approved new procedures for considerationof applications for permission to use lamps and vehicles for the cullingof deer at night, subject to certain conditions. Permission can be obtainedonly where there are substantial practical difficulties with effectiveculling over large areas by daylight. Under the new procedures, one licencewas issued in respect of a number of named individuals working for CoillteTeo, with a further licence issued in respect of a number of staff in myDepartment. Both Coillte and my Department manage properties with extensiveprivate road networks. The shooting of deer from public roads does notarise in either case. It should be noted that licences issued under theWildlife Act do not supersede any other requirement of the law in relationto the use of firearms.

I am advised that such culling, carried outwith care by trained and highly experienced staff, does not create a dangerfor local communities. Nor does it promote illegal taking of deer.

However, I have instructed that there shouldbe a review of the new procedures after a year in consultation with relevantstakeholders, in order to ensure their effectiveness.

In relation to culling of female deer, I havepowers under the Wildlife Acts to include conditions in Section 42 permissionsto prevent the culling of female deer during certain periods, and suchconditions are included in many Section 42 permissions. However, it canbe necessary to control female deer and dependent calves. Responsible andcompetent shooters ensure that culling is carried out in the most humaneway possible.


Consultation Process Launched for Policy Vision for Deer Management in Ireland

October 16th 2011

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in conjunction with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, have launched a consultation process with the view to developing a National Deer Management Strategy for Ireland.

Any National Deer Management Strategy has the potential to have a positive impact on our sport and the future of our wild deer. It is key we all have an input on what this strategy may contain and ensure the relevant issues are addressed.

As the largest representative body of it's kind representing deer and deer stalkers in Ireland, the Wild Deer Association of Ireland will be a key stakeholder in this process and we would like to get the views of as many of our members as possible.

Below are details from DAFF and a link to the Deer Management Strategy Policy Vision Document, please read these carefully and reply to wilddeerireland@gmail.com before close of business on Friday November 11th 2011 with your feedback, we will include as much of your feedback as possible in our submission.

Wild Deer Association of Ireland


Draft Policy Vision for Deer Management in Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in conjunction with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has developed a Draft Policy Vision for Deer Management in Ireland. The Department now invites written submissions from interested parties and organisations in relation to this document, and deer management policy related issues in general.

In addition to written submissions, the Department also invites written expressions of interest from organisations and groups interested in participating in a future Policy Development Partnership that will assist with the further development of an agreed Deer Management Strategy for Ireland, in conjunction with the Departments concerned.

Draft Deer Management Policy Vision (pdf 537Kb)

Written submissions and expressions of interest should be sent by email to dmpolicyvision@agriculture.gov.ie

or by post to

Submission on Deer Management Policy Vision,
Forest Service,
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,
Johnstown Castle Estate,

Please note that submissions received will be made publicly available on this website.

The Closing date for receipt of submissions is Monday, November 28, 2011

Important information for all those involved in the hunting of Wild Deer in Ireland (ROI)

October 15th 2011

Following our initial communication on August 29th there have been a number of amendments to the Wild Deer Intake Document, following feedback from stakeholders such as the Wild Deer Association of Ireland. The attached document supersedes any previous documents received/published.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Trader Notice: MH No. 12/2011
To: Operators of all DAFF approved Game Handling Establishments
Subject: Large Wild Game Food Chain Information (FCI) Document

From 1st September 2011 a FCI document (attached) must be completed in respect of each wild deer received at DAFF approved Game Handling Establishments. The document should be completed by the hunter, the trained person (where relevant) and the Game Handling Establishment. It should be retained by the Game Handling Establishment.

Obligations on the hunter
The first part of the document must be completed by the hunter. This includes the date and location where the animal was shot. There is a choice of three boxes to be ticked. The first box should be ticked if the hunter is a Trained Person as allowed for under the Hygiene Regulations. (Currently there are no trained hunters in Ireland, but training of hunters will commence in the near future.)

The second box is ticked if the hunter is not a Trained Person, but a Trained Person was present when the animal was shot. This person could be the gamekeeper or the game manager who is part of the hunting team, or located in the immediate vicinity of where hunting is taking place.

In all other cases, the third box should be ticked and the carcase must be accompanied to the Game Handling Establishment by the head and all viscera, except for the stomach and intestines. This will be the case for all Irish hunters at the opening of the 2011 hunting season.
In future, where a Trained Person has signed the declaration the carcase need not be accompanied by the head and viscera.

Obligations on the Trained Person

Box 2 should be completed by a Trained Person who either shot the animal or was present when the animal was shot. If the Trained Person is satisfied that;

  • the animal did not display any abnormal behaviour before killing,
  •  the body and the viscera do not show any abnormal characteristics, and
  •  there is no suspicion of environmental contamination then the first part of box 2 should be signed.

However, if the Trained Person has noted any evidence of health risks then the second part of box 2 should be completed detailing the possible health risks and the head and all viscera except for the stomach and intestines must accompany the carcase.

Obligations on the Game Handling Establishment

The Game Handling Establishment should ensure that each wild deer carcase is accompanied by a properly completed FCI document. The final part of the FCI document should be completed by a trained operative at the establishment. The Game Handling Establishment should ensure that the carcase is accompanied by the head and the viscera, other than the stomach and intestines, unless the Trained Person declaration has been completed.

The FCI documents must be kept on site and made available on request for examination by Department staff. The FCI documents must be correlated with the relevant carcase identification.

Any abnormalities recorded by the Trained Person must be brought to the immediate attention of Department personnel.

Meat Hygiene Section
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Grattan Business Centre

Click here for the application form to be completed by all deer hunters (ROI) selling wild deer to game dealers or other establishments

Click here for Explanatory Notes

Download your Coillte Stalking Safety/Prohibition Sign

August 31st 2011

Click on the link below to download & print your Coillte Stalking Safety/Prohibition Notice. All stalkers should display clearly prohibition notices at all gates and entrances to the stalking area before commencing stalking and remove them on leaving the area. Such notices should be a minimum size of 400mm wide and 600mm high, printed on a white background.

Download Here

Donegal Deer Poaching Epidemic

August 23rd 2011

An excellent article by John Rafferty and Seppi Hona on the current deer poaching epidemic in Co. Donegal. The actions and challenges required to address this illegal activity are addressed. Photography by John Rafferty (c)

Click here to read page 1

Click here to read page 2

Coillte Circular on the illegal taking of deer (poaching)

August 23rd 2011

Over the last number of years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reported incidents of unauthorised firearms use on Coillte lands. This appears to be generally associated with the “poaching” of wild deer.

Coillte is totally opposed to this practice, which is an offence under the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended).

To assist us in addressing this issue, all actual or suspected occurrences of this activity should be reported immediately to the relevant authorities - National Parks and Wildlife Service and

Click here to read more

Annual Centre Fire Shoot Results

August 14th 2011

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) annual centre fire rifle shoot took place on Sunday August 14th 2011 in the Midlands Rifle & Pistol Club, Blueball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

The shoot was of a sporting nature and included pop up deer silhouettes at 100 yards. The competition was open to all deer calibers.

Congratulations to Jonathan Murphy (Cork) who won our shoot with an excellent score of 112 points out of a possible 120, 2nd Seamus Bennett (Laois) 108 points, 3rd Eddie Greaf (Cork) 107 points, 4th Paul Dowling (Tipp) 106 points, overall the standard of shooting was very good, thank you to everyone who attended.

Test the Best.... And Try before you Buy

May 30th 2011

Saturday June 11th 2011 from 10.00 to 19.00 hrs

At the Rifle Range Baronscourt,
Cashety, Baronscourt Estate,
Co. Tyrone, BT78 4HQ

CASTLE DAWSON, Invite you to join us for a
unique opportunity.

  • A choice of high precision SWAROVSKI OPTIK scopes mounted on top quality Sauer Rifles will be available to use on the Estate‘ s 100m range.
  • A qualified RCO will be in attendance.
  • Entry to the event is Free of Charge – and refreshments will be available during the day.
  • In order to comply with regulations can you please call one of the following numbers,before 4th June, to register your intention to shoot at this event.

        Swarovski UK Limited 01737 856813
        Mervyn Young – Young Guns 07989 758120

Death of Wild Deer Association of Ireland President and Founder

May 18th 2011

It is with great regret that we have learned of the death of Billy O'Regan President and founder member of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.

Billy was one of the founder members of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, when the organisation was formed in 1981. Along with his loving wife Mary they devoted their lives to the welfare of wild deer and their love of deer stalking. Billy worked tirelessly to highlight the dramatic increase in deer poaching in recent years and was a leading personality in the deer stalking community in Ireland. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and colleagues in the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.

May He Rest in Peace

Funeral Details

Reposing at Costigans Funeral Home Cahir, Co Tipperary on this Thursday evening May 19th from 5pm. Removal to St. Mary's church Cahir at 7pm. Requiem Mass Friday at 11am. Interment afterwards in the adjoining cemetery. Family flowers only please, donations if desired to the Irish Kidney Association.

Smallest Deer Species in the World born in Belfast

May 5th 2011

This fawn, named Pequeño (Spanish for small) after its South American origins, was one of the smallest ever born in Northern Ireland, weighing the same as a pint of milk (about 1lb). Zoo manager Mark Challis said he was delighted to see the playful baby running around its enclosure.

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/such-a-little-deer-zoo-unveils-latest-attraction-15151260.html#ixzz1LmTEYyTH

April 16th HCAP Exam Results and May 28th Range Test Details

April 29th 2011

Following our April 12th preparation workshop and April 16th MCQ exam we are pleased to confirm all 36 candidates successfully passed the exam.

Click here for further details

The range test for successful candidates will take place on Saturday May 28th at the Midlands Rifle Range, Co Offaly.

Click here for important range details and procedures

National Wild Deer Conference Report

April 11th 2011

Saturday 2nd April 2011 marked a milestone for Wild Deer in Ireland with the inaugural Wild Deer Conference taking place in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone.  Following numerous calls for the implementation of a National Deer Strategy, prompted the need to host an annual conference titled ‘Is it possible to Build Consensus on a National Deer Management Strategy?’ The event was the first to draw together representation from the scientific community, policy makers, land owners, hunters groups and international experience in deer management. The event was supported by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, Irish Deer Society, the Forest Service, Coillte Teoranta, NPWS, Woodlands of Ireland, Landowners and many other interest groups from the Deer Management and Forestry sectors.  

Photographs by David McCullough, Northern Ireland Deer Society (c)

A varied programme of speakers and topics which reflected the key challenges and opportunities arising from a unified deer management strategy, included:  Marianne Freeman - Queen’s University Belfast. ‘Release of Deer Species into the Wild – Costs and Benefits’. Peter Watson – The Deer Initiative. UK ‘The Role of the Deer Initiative in England and Wales & the Difficulties in attaining Stakeholder Consensus in a Deer Management Strategy’’. Declan Little – Woodlands of Ireland, ‘Deer Management – Key Issues and Informing Perceptions’. Jim Walsh Veterinarian and Deer Stalker, ‘The Deer Cull and Sale of Venison in Ireland – Collecting the Data’. Ciaran Nugent – Inter Agency Deer Policy Group / DAFF, Deer Management Policy Development and Strategic Principles’. Liam Nolan – Deer Alliance ‘Wild Deer Management – The Issues affecting Hunters’. Barry Coad – Coillte Teoranta ‘Where do we go from here?’ The conference was chaired by Damien Hannigan, Wild Deer Association of Ireland and Vincent Coffey, Irish Deer Society.

Following a proposal by the Deer Alliance and supported by a number of stakeholders, it was proposed the role of the Deer Alliance be extended beyond it's current role as the body charged with the assessment and certification of licensed hunters hunting on Coillte forest property, to include the establishment of a working group to oversee the establishment and implementation of a National Deer Strategy. Since the Deer Alliance was established in 2003 the following bodies have been represented Coillte, National Parks & Wildlife Service, The Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture & Food, An Garda Siochana, Irish Farmers Association, the Irish Timber Growers’ Association, Wild Deer Association of Ireland, Irish Deer Society, Wicklow Deer Management & Conservation Group, Wicklow Deer Society and private deer management interests. It is envisaged the group would be expanded to include any remaining stakeholders.       

Some of the key components of a National Deer Strategy may include generating good data on an ongoing basis on deer numbers and trends locally, education of forest managers and deer hunters on deer management, culling where populations are too high, welfare of deer, generating income from recreational eco-tourism, development of a home-grown venison market, addressing the current deer poaching epidemic, implementation of a tagging system to ensure tractability of wild venison from the “field to the fork”.

BDS Northern Ireland Deer Management Course

March 30th 2011

The Northern Ireland branch of the British Deer Society are organising a Deer Management Course to be held at Baronscourt, Co.Tyrone from November 21st - 25th 2011. While the DSC1 is the minimum entrance level, the HCAP will also be accepted.

The BDS Deer Management course is aimed primarily at stalkers, landowners and managers who would usually be the 'decision makers' concerning deer management issues appertaining to deer within differing habitats. The course is also available to those who may have to advise others on deer management matters of for those wishing to extend their general deer management knowledge.

The course takes place over 5 days. An estate visit is conducted on one of the days to observe 'good deer management practice' and for those wishing, to take an advanced shooting test. This is entirely voluntary; however those who partake and pass will have this fact recorded on the Deer Management Certificate awarded to successful students. If you wish to participate in the shooting you will be required to bring with you a fully zeroed deer legal rifle and a quantity of ammunition.

To gain a certificate an examination must be passed which takes the form of a short answer question paper and the production of a deer management report to a hypothetical land owner or manager.

Deer Management Courses are taught to a high level by instructors who have practical and deer management skills gained after many years working in the industry.

Course Content includes:

o Report Writing
o Deer Management Principles & Tutorials
o Census Techniques    
o Population Dynamics
o Cull Planning
o Cull selection
o Deer and Forestry
o Deer and Agriculture
o Health and Safety
o Economics
o Food Safety and Larders
o Disease
o Law
o Park Deer
o Record Keeping

For further details you can contact Michael Winters 0044 7739039347 or email wintersmick@hotmail.com or http://www.bds.org.uk/deer_management_course.html

Click here for exam details and costs

Country Sports & Country Life Spring 2011 Edition

March 23rd 2011

Now available free and online the spring 2011 edition contains 148 pages of all things Country Sports and Country Life, including details (page 8) of our national survey of deer stalkers and forest managers, along with details of the initiatives explored between the Wild Deer Association of Ireland and the Department of the Environment to address the current deer poaching epidemic and other matters relating to wild deer and their management.

Click here to read

2011 Coillte Deer and Game Catalogue

March 18th 2011

Coillte are currently inviting tenders for licences to hunt deer and game on designated areas of their forest estate. Click here for Catalogues available and tendering instructions.
Further details available at www.coillteoutdoors.ie

 The closing date for receipt of tenders is 5pm on Friday the 15th of April 2011.

No tenders will be accepted after this date.  Canvassing will disqualify

Scottish Parliament legislates on Deer Management and Poaching

March 3rd 2011

The Scottish Parliament debate the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, which includes legislation on Deer Management, Sika Deer and Wildlife Crimes such as deer poaching.

Could our new governement learn lessons on how such matters should be legislated?

Read and watch video here (relevant video from 1hr 26min)

Click here to leave a comment on our Facebook page

Can Wild Deer be given the pill?

March 2nd 2011

Welsh online article looks at the possibility of wild deer been given oral contraceptives to control deer numbers.

Click here to read

Click here to leave a comment on our Facebook page

Wild Deer Association of Ireland comment - previous research has shown the possibility of oral contraceptives for wild deer, creates more problems than they may solve. If such an option were available one would have to question the practicality of administering same to a wild deer herd in our typical deer habitat.

Political Party’s pledge support for Hunting and Field Sports

February 23rd 2011

All the main political parties have given written pledges that they will support Hunting and all Field Sports and will vote against legislation that harms or restricts Hunting and Field Sports activities.

The pledges were given following a series of questions by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.

Pledges -

·     You support Hunting and all Field Sports.

·     You will vote against legislation that harms or restricts Hunting and Field Sports.

·    You support calls for a National Deer Management strategy to be implemented without delay.

·   You support calls to address the current Deer Poaching epidemic and agree to take immediate action on entering    government to address this illegal activity.

What the party’s said?

Fine Gael stated we are “committed to reversing the ban on stag hunting” “As a Party, we are not opposed to countryside sports where adequate licensing structures are in place and which are properly supervised and monitored” they also confirmed they support calls for a National Deer Management strategy to be implemented without delay and committed to addressing the current deer poaching epidemic on entering government. (Phil Hogan, David Stanton)

Sinn Féin stated “We opposed the ban on stag hunting and are opposed to banning hare coursing” “We will oppose all bans on rural sports except where there is evidence that a species is endangered”. We support calls for a National Deer Management to strategy and will address deer poaching. (Martin Ferris)

Labour stated we “support fieldsports and are committed not to introduce any legislation which would be detrimental to fieldsports.” “We also wish to highlight our Party’s support in the vote on the legislation banning the Ward Union Stag Hounds”. We support calls for a National Deer Management to strategy and will address deer poaching. (Sean Sherlock, Labour Press Office)

Fianna Fáil stated ““Fianna Fail strongly supports rural pursuits such as hunting, shooting and field sports. We will not bring in legislation to ban rural pursuits”. “Last year’s Dog Breeding Establishment’s Bill was about dog welfare only.  Other rural pursuits such as shooting and fishing were simply not affected by this Bill. We continue to support the rural way of life and traditional country pursuits.” (Sean Fleming, Fianna Fáil Press Office)

Green Party – Did not participate

A spokesperson for the Wild Deer Association of Ireland said “we welcome the pledges by the main political parties". "Hunting and Field Sports play an important role in our country and the benefits they contribute to our economy and the environment, with over 300,000 people involved and generating €144.9m in revenue". "Deer are an important part of our heritage and their future must be protected.”


The Deer Hunter - Sunday Business Post

February 20th 2011

Gavin Daly of the Sunday Business Post experiences deer stalking in Co Wicklow with Barry Coad, Deer Manager, Coillte.

Click here to read the article

The Labour Party clarify their support for Hunting and Country Sports

February 22nd 2011

On February 18th we issued a statement received from the NARGC and supported by Hunting and Field Sports organisations stating "The Labour Party has set itself unambiguously against hunting and will act against the interests of fieldsports if in government......" We are now happy to acknowledge following additional clarification from the Labour Party Press office and further queries by the NARGC that the Labour Party will support all fieldsports  and its commitment not to introduce any legislation which would be detrimental to fieldsports.  We are further happy to highlight the support which we previously received from Labour on many issues in the past, in particular from Deputies Emmett Stagg, Willie Penrose, Pat Rabbitte and Joanna Tuffy to name but some.  We also wish to highlight that Party’s support in the vote on the legislation banning the Ward Union Stag Hounds.  Therefore, we urge fieldsports enthusiasts to offer their support to Labour Party candidates as well as to Fine Gael.  

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland have asked the main political parties to state their position regarding specific pledges relating to Deer Stalking, Hunting and Field Sports were they to form part of the next government, we will publish their responses shortly on our website www.wilddeerireland.com 

Hunter Prosecuted for shooting deer out of season

February 15th 2011

Popularity of Venison leads to surge in Red Deer killings
Treacy Hogan
Irish Times Environment Correspondent

A growing taste for venison has led to a surge in the number of Irish Red Deer being shot and killed.

The disclosure comes as a man is convicted of illegally shooting dead two female deer. There has been a big increase in the number of wild Red Deer being shot recently, both legally and illegally, the Irish Independent has learned.

This is due to an increase in the prices being offered for venison carcasses. “There has been an increase in these incidents and it is likely to be linked to an increase in the prices of commercial venison” a Department of the Environment spokesperson said yesterday.

Brendan Carter, of Ballinahone, Fahan, Buncrana, Co Donegal, had a licence to shoot deer but should not have been doing so last October before the start of the shooting season. He was fined €250 plus veterinary fees at Buncrana District Court for killing the two deer outside the permitted hunting season.

Mr Carter was caught by Pat Vaughan, the District Conservation officer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Once plentiful, Red deer are now a protected game species and may only be hunted with a licence from the NPWS, which is part of the Department of the Environment.

According to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, Red Deer are the only native deer species with a continuous presence in Ireland since the end of the last Ice Age (around 10,000BC).

Click here for details of the open season for deer

Mora Swedish Knives as seen in Red Deer Stalking in Ireland now available

February 7th 2011

Mora Swedish Knives as used by David Dunne in his Red Deer Stalking in Ireland Part 2 and Deer Stalking in Ireland DVD's are now available for only €20 each including a holder. They are an excellent knife for home butchery of deer. Contact David on lenkadunne@yahoo.ie or 086 3575917 for further details

Survey Highlights the Reduction in Deer Numbers

January 28th 2o11

A national survey undertaken by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) show that 88% of those surveyed say they have seen a reduction in deer numbers.

It is believed the illegal taking of deer (Deer Poaching), which is now at unprecedented levels nationally, is the main contributory factor to the reduction in numbers. This view is reflected in the survey with 83% of Deer Stalkers and 71% of Forest Managers surveyed say they have seen an increase in Deer Poaching. It is understood the increase in Deer Poaching is due to the current economic climate, high venison prices and a lack of resources in policing the Wildlife Acts, under which deer are a protected species. Deer are also under additional pressure following the recent severe weather conditions with many animals in poor condition.

While deer are now seen in some areas they have not been seen before it is not clear if this is due to an increase in deer numbers or due to the increased habitat from new forestry plantations, or the increase in poaching which cause deer to flee to new areas.

Since 2005 the number of licences issued to cull deer by the Minister for the Environment have increased from 2,582 to 4,118 which have resulted in an increased number of deer been culled - 18,750 in 2005/06 to 34,683 2009/10. Based on returns made by licensed hunters to the Department of the Environment, 40% of the deer culled nationally were culled in Co. Wicklow. While there is evidence of “hotspots” of over-population in some areas it is believed most are in Co. Wicklow.

Following an invitation from Minister of the Environment John Gormley TD to the WDAI, a delegation supported by the Vincent Coffey, IDS and Dr Ruth Carden, National Museum of Ireland met with senior officials from the Department of the Environment and National Parks and Wildlife.  A number of initiatives were explored to address the current deer poaching epidemic and future management of our deer herds, including the introduction of a tagging system which would allow for better management and traceability of deer numbers. This system is used successfully in many countries, where individual tags are issued to hunters based on local deer cull plans, additional tags are also available where appropriate. Furthermore a hunter cannot be in the possession of a deer without a tag nor can deer be sold to a game dealer without a tag – while registered game dealers play an important role in deer management, unknowingly they also can be one of the main outlets for deer taken illegally.

After concerns were raised by the WDAI about the Red Deer herd in Co Kerry, NPWS have agreed to amendment the process for permits issued under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts, ensuring permits are only issued where genuine deer damage is caused and there is no abuse of permits for financial gain.

WDAI's successful campaign to raise awareness of Deer Poaching launched in 2008 – “Shine a Light on Poaching” with the support of Countryside Alliance Ireland, NPWS, Coillte, British Deer Society and Deer Alliance, is now enhanced by a new campaign “Report a Wildlife Crime” which allows for the reporting of suspected incidents of deer poaching, through their website www.wilddeerireland.com  

Click here for Irish Times coverage

The following initiatives are been explored with the Department of the Environment -

  1. Implementation of a National Deer Strategy, formulated and overseen by all relevant stakeholders - providing accurate data on deer numbers locally (ecological survey of the population), appropriate local deer management plans.
  2. Promotion of a dedicated Deer Poaching Helpline resourced by NPWS and supported by all stakeholders
  3. Press Release and Media Campaign highlighting the illegal taking of deer (Deer Poaching) by NPWS and supported by all Stakeholders
  4. Internal message of support from NPWS Management to NPWS staff, to address some of kthe internal negative opinions of deer.
  5. Review  the current process of issuing Section 42 Permits (allows the culling of deer outside the open season where genuine deer damage is been caused)– tighten the process of issuing permits to avoid abuse for financial gain – Section 42 permits for female deer with dependent young is withdrawn
  6. Minimum night patrol targets by NPWS working in conjunction with stakeholders, Garda, Deer organisations etc
  7. Promotion of Registered Game Dealers, along with increased regulation and presence by NPWS at Game Dealers premises.
  8. Introduction of a Tagging System based on local deer management plan targets. Individual tags are issued to hunters with deer hunting licence, additional licences available where appropriate. Provides traceability of culled deer.   
  9. Minimum Competence Standard for all Deer Stalkers such as the Hunter Competence Assessment Programme (HCAP).
  10. An agreed procedure for enacting the temporary suspension of the Open Season for Deer, following a prolonged period of severe weather conditions.

Calls for these initiatives to be implemented have been supported by a number of organisations such as Countryside Alliance Ireland.

For further information contact – Damien Hannigan, Secretary, Wild Deer Association of Ireland PO Box 31 Midleton, Co. Cork. 087 2496987 www.wilddeerireland.com

Open Season for Pheasant and Woodpigeon extended

January 23rd 2011

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government have extended the open season for wild birds. The Wildlife (Wild Birds) (Open Seasons) (Amendment) Order 2011 extends the time period for the hunting of wild birds from 1st February 2011 up to and including 28th February 2011.

The species concerned are Cock Pheasant and Woodpigeon only. This extension of the open season does not apply to any other bird species. The Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service urges all hunters to respect this measure with regard to the species concerned and to avoid undue disturbance to other bird species by taking care to restrict their shooting activity to agricultural areas and away from key habitats vulnerable to disturbance such as wetlands and estuaries.

Copies of the Statutory Instrument may be purchased from:

Government Publications Sale Office
Sun Alliance House
Molesworth Street
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 6476834 or 1890 213434
Fax: (094) 9378964

Copies will also be made available on the Department's website at

Red Deer Stalking in Ireland (part 2) now available

January 4th 2011

Wild Deer Association of Ireland member David Dunne along with Gerd Hona have just released their second DVD - Red Deer Stalking in Ireland.

The DVD covers deer stalking, carcass handling, disease recognition, carcass preparation, cooking venison and trophy preparation.

The DVD cost is 20 euros plus postage, to order your copy email David Dunne on lenkadunne@yahoo.ie or phone 086 3575917.

A contribution will be made to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland for every copy sold when purchasers mention the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.


Countrysports and Countrylife is now available free online

January 2nd 2011

The Countrysports and Countrylife Magazine is now available free online. The winter edition contains over 130 pages on all things Countrysports and Countrylife, including an interview with Minsiter for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley on field sports (page 20/21), comment by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland on deer poaching (Page 12).

Click here to read

Hunting of Game Birds can resume from December 31st 2010

December 30th 2010

The Department of the Environment have confirmed today that the temporary suspension of the open season for bird hunting will cease with effect December 31st 2010.

Deer under threat due to epidemic poaching and severe weather conditions

December 9th 2010

Our wild deer herds are facing unprecedented level of poaching both day and night by lamping at night and other forms of illegal activities. Despite deer been a protected species under the Wildlife Acts they have faced the decimation in many areas, mainly for financial gain due to the current economic climate and the high price paid for venison by game dealers.  

In addition to the threat to deer numbers nationally there is now a real concern that these illegal activities pose a health and safety risk to local communities were deer exist, as deer are often chased on to roads in an uncontrolled manner or firearms are discharged at night without consideration of homes or livestock.

 While there have been a number of high profile arrests recently such as the "seven men arrested for suspected incidents of poaching" in the Carlow/ Wicklow areas read more here poaching continues unabated at unprecedented levels.  

As the main organisation for responsible and ethical deer hunters, the Wild Deer Association of Ireland have highlighted this activity through our campaign "Sine a Light on Poaching"read more and recently launched a "Report a Wildlife Crime" read more which allows members of the public to report suspected incidents of poaching.   

Following recent discussions with senior management from Coillte they too have also expressed their deep concern about the level of poaching on their lands.  

During a recent parliamentary question put to Minister for the Environment John Gormley by Deputies Phil Hogan (FG) and Joanna Tuffy (Lab) on our behalf, the Minister stated "My Department is actively taking measures to combat deer poaching around the country". The Minister's statement is contrary to the experience of those working with deer who see little or no policing of the wildlife acts in relation to deer. Following an invitation by Minister Gormley to  meeting with senior officials of the Department of the Environment we will be discussing poaching of deer and what additional actions can be taken to combat this activity. 

Furthermore the current severe weather conditions will cause additional hardship to deer who become an easy target for poachers as they to gather in herds when searching for food in severe weather conditions. read our statement and we call on all our members to continue to observe a voluntary ban on deer culling where there is snow present.

We call on our members, supporters, members of the public to report any suspected incidents of poaching through our report a wildlife crime page, by contacting the the National Parks and Wildlife Service Tel: (042) 9748712  or by contacting Crime Stoppers 1800 25 00 25.

Temporary Closure of Open Season for Birds

December 7th 201

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has today issued notice of a temporary suspension of the Open Hunting Season for Birds in the Republic of Ireland. The Order will come into effect on Wednesday 8th December and will be in force up to and including Tuesday 14th December 2010.

Wild Deer Association of Ireland asks all its members to respect this temporary closure

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government notice states -

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has temporarily closed the hunting season for wild birds due to the recent freezing conditions across the state. 

The Wildlife Act 1976 (Temporary Suspension of Open Season) (No.2) Order 2010 suspends temporarily the hunting of wild birds due to the severity of weather conditions from Wednesday 8 December 2010 up to and including Tuesday 14 December 2010. 

The species concerned are Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Scaup, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Goldeneye, Golden Plover, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Red-legged Partridge, Cock Pheasant, Woodcock, Woodpigeon, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and Ruddy Duck. It does not affect shooting of pen-reared birds where a licence to do so has been issued under Section 22(9)(b) of the Wildlife Acts. Applicants for such a licence should immediately contact: 

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 
Main Street, 
Co. Monaghan. 
Tel: (042) 9748712 

The National Parks and Wildlife Service urges all hunters to respect this measure which clearly has a conservation benefit for the long-term populations of these wild game species. 

The situation will be reviewed by Wednesday 15th December. 

Due to severe weather conditions - advice on Open Season for Deer

December 1st 2010

Considering the current severe weather conditions in many areas of Ireland, deer and all game animals/birds are under additional pressure and also from a shortage of food supply, therefore we would ask all those involved in the culling of deer to use their discretion in the areas effected and to refrain from stalking deer until the weather conditions improve.

The deer are hampered by the snow and not alert to the usual dangers tending to herd together seeming not to notice normal dangers such as humans and dogs.

To shoot deer in the current weather conditions could be seen as unethical.

Countryside Alliance Ireland are also calling for a voluntary suspension on shooting of wild birds - read here

Seven arrests for suspected incidents of the ilegal taking of deer at night

November 16th 2010

The Nationalist Newspaper has reported seven men were arrested in recent weeks for suspected incidents of the illegal taking of deer at night in the Carlow / Wicklow region.

The men from Carlow, Tullow and Rathvilly were caught red-handed stalking land around Hacketstown and Baltinglass, with freshly-shot or disembowelled deer in the back of their vans.

Insp Martin Walker stated "that shooting the deer at night was entirely illegal and amounted to cruelty to animals. This is not in keeping with the wildlife act and gardaí have now mounted checkpoints, there will be intensive patrolling of the area and these people will be brought before the courts.”

Two of the men from Rathvilly were arrested at 3.30am when gardaí stopped a van. They discovered a rifle and the slaughtered carcasses of eight deer. Among the eight were five stags, two hinds and one calf.

Two of the animals had already been disembowelled while the others were freshly shot. 

It is believed the animals are being illegally stalked at night because venison is currently in demand. 

It is understood the carcasses are being sold to licensed wildlife dealers who gardaí say are “making the obvious assumption they are being shot legitimately.”

Read the full story here

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland unreservedly condemn the mindless and dangerous activity of the illegal taking of deer (poaching). We call upon the authorities to pursue and prosecute more vigorously those who under take in these illegal activities throughout the country. We would also like to congratulate Insp Martin Walker and the members of  An Garda Síochána for their excellent work in combating and dedecting this illegal activity.

Minister Gormley confirms meeting with the Wild Deer Association of Ireland

November 11th 2010

Following correspondence from the Wild Deer Association of Ireland to the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley TD, and parlamentary questions on our behalf from deputies Joanna Tuffy TD, Labour Environment spokesperson and Phil Hogan TD, Fine Gael Environment spokesperson, seeking an urgent meeting with the minister and our organisation to discuss recent evidence that licences issued under section 42 of the Wildlife Act by the Minister are been abused for financial gain. 

In response Minister Gormley has confirmed today" My Department will arrange to meet with the (Wild Deer Association of Ireland) in the next few weeks to discuss this issue and other matters raised in its letter".

Our correspondence to Minister Gormley related to the issuing of licences under section 42 of the wildlife acts for Red Stags in Co Kerry, who are a protected species under the Wildlife Acts, due to their international importance and low numbers, such licenses are required to cull any male Red Deer as there is no open season for culling the mature antlered stags. Licences are issued to the landowner who nominates a hunter to undertake the culling.

Culling is undertaken without any supervision or confirmation that the designated hunter was the actual person who culled the stag or how many deer were culled. This is despite the expertise and resources are available locally within the NPWS.

Following the introduction of an open season for female Red Deer in Co Kerry in 2005 due to increasing deer numbers, there is now growing concern amongst organisations such as the Wild Deer Association of Ireland and local NPWS staff that Red Deer numbers are at a dangerously low level and the current open season needs to be urgently reviewed by the Minister.  

We note the Ministers reply also states "My Department is actively taking measures to combat deer poaching around the country".


Coillte highlight the illegal use and consequences of firearms on Coillte Lands

November 10th 2010

Over the last number of months there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reported incidents of unauthorised firearms use on Coillte lands. This appears to be generally associated with the “poaching” of wild deer.

Coillte is totally opposed to this practice, which is an offence under the Wildlife Act
1976 (as amended) 2000.

To assist Coillte in addressing this issue, all actual or suspected occurrences of this activity
should be reported immediately to the relevant authorities (NPWS conservation rangers and an Garda Siochana). Details should also be reported to the relevant Forest Manager in order that they be recorded on the Company’s Security register. Contact details for your local NPWS conservation ranger can be obtained from :-

National Parks and Wildlife Service
Agricultural Offices
Main Street
Tel:- 042-9748754

This activity is an offence under Section 44 (subsection 4) of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as
amended). Under this legislation, all holders of Coillte stalking permits have certain rights to challenge persons believed to be committing such an offence on lands for which their permit is issued. Details of such rights are outlined in the attached Appendix 1 and guidelines for dealing with suspected incidents is outlined in Appendix 2.

Click here for Appendix 1 & 2

Consultation on Draft Guidelines for the Operation and Management of Dog Breeding Establishments - Closing 19th November, 2010

November 7th 2010

Consultation on Draft Guidelines for the Operation and Management of Dog Breeding Establishments - Closing 19th November, 2010

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. John Gormley, T.D., has published the draft Guidelines for the operation and management of Dog Breeding Establishments for public consultation.

The Dog Breeding Establishments Act was signed by the President on 21 July, 2010 following its passage through the Oireachtas.

The Act defines a dog breeding establishment as a premises with not less than 6 bitches of 6 months old and capable of breeding.

The Act provides that all dog breeding establishments be required to register with the relevant local authority, that they pay a registration fee and that they meet a minimum set of veterinary, welfare and other standards, together with some associated requirements.

It is important to note that no one with less than 6 female dogs over 6 months old are covered by the Act, but these draft guidelines are intended to lead to good practice which will applied to dog breeding establishments but could be used by anyone with dogs.

Click here for further details

November 3rd is European Hunters Day

October 26th 2010

Wednesday November 3rd, St. Huberts Day has been designated as " European Hunters Day ". To coincide with this there will be a "sporting game BBQ" at the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix, Co Laois from 12pm. As a member of FACE the Wild Deer Association of Ireland are asking all their members and supporters to come along to this important event.

The Laois Hunt are holding a game barbeque from 12 noon. They will be joined by a number of gun and angling clubs to make this a memorable day out. In addition, land owners and all friends of country sports will be most welcome to attend and enjoy the festivities.

The horses and hounds of the Laois Hunt will be present to celebrate the first hunt of the season. Game shooters are encouraged to bring along a hunting dog as a symbol of their traditional past time. Other hunting and country sport disciplines are invited to bring along similar suitable symbols, including birds of prey.

TV3 who are making a program on hunting scheduled to be shown in late November will be there with their leading reporter, Henry Keane doing interviews. Representatives from all forms of field-sports will be most welcome, as will their canine friends, fishing rods, birds of prey etc

It is hoped that as many as possible from the field sports community will attend
In addition to showing the flag a great day out for all is assured!! The Laois Hunt are to be commended for hosting this national event. For further details contact David Lalor at dhlalor@eircom.net

Exmoor Emperor shot by Trophy Hunters

October 25th 2010

A giant red stag, thought to have been the biggest animal in Britain, has been shot in Exmoor by Trophy Hunters.

After 12 summers, the sun has finally set on the Exmoor Emperor, the magnificent red stag whose epic proportions were his making – and also, it seems, his downfall.

Although the creature's reign as Britain's biggest wild beast ended with a gunshot close to the busy Tiverton to Barnstaple road just over a fortnight ago, news of his demise only filtered out today.

To make matters worse, the Emperor was killed in the middle of the annual rut, so denying him the chance this year to pass on the genetic riches that had enabled him to reach the weight of more than 135kg (300lb) and to stand 2.75 metres (9ft) tall to the tip of his antlers.

The rumour on Exmoor is that the stag, who was given his nickname by the photographer Richard Austin, may have fallen prey to the growing number of trophy hunters who have begun to congregate in the area.

One deer enthusiast, who did not want to be named, said a group of people had been out watching stags earlier this month near to where the Emperor was killed. A shot had been heard very close to the road where the stag's body was found.

The man said deer lovers were becoming increasingly worried about the number of rich sportspeople coming to Exmoor to shoot its finest stags as trophies – a view echoed by Peter Donnelly, a retired deer forest and estate manager from Dulverton, Somerset, who saw the Emperor last year.

Donnelly said: "I've heard that a lot of stags have been shot this year, by whom I don't know, but there's always somebody who wants a trophy and will pay for the privilege of having it. There are people who will pay £1,000, and more, to get a particular trophy if their aim in life is to have a wall full of the biggest bloody trophies they can find in individual species, as opposed to conservation of a very lovely, attractive, resource."

Donnelly , who was planning to tuck into venison for lunch, said that harvesting older animals was one thing but shooting them before their time quite another. "If they're in their prime, then I'm not happy. I think that is bad."

And that, he added, appeared to be the case with the Emperor.

"There is a moment when [a stag] becomes too old and you can tell that by his antlers. We call that when they 'go back'; all the points get shorter and blunter and he clearly is deteriorating – which certainly doesn't apply with this deer."

The fact that the Emperor was "a fine, impressive stag still in his prime" made the situation still sadder. Although it is difficult to determine the age of a deer without looking at its teeth, Donnelly said he would put the Emperor's lifespan at 12. "He should have been left alone and allowed to rut and spread his genes for at least another year, if not longer. The poor things should be left alone during the rut, not harried from pillar to post."

If people cared about deer, added Donnelly, "we should maintain a standard and stop all persecution during this important time of the year".

Clare O'Connor, a press officer at the Exmoor National Park Authority, was also trying to find out what had happened to Exmoor's most famous resident. "It took everyone on Exmoor by surprise," she said. "We didn't know it had happened, either. There's great regret here because it's the rut and he should be passing on his genes to the next generation. It's very sad."

A spokesman for the British Deer Society, which promotes deer welfare, game meat, stalking and deer management, said no laws would have been broken if the stalker was the landowner or had the landowner's permission and had used a legal firearm. He added: "If the reports are accurate, then it does seem to me a shame that an animal in its prime was culled before the rut."

Douglas Batchelor, the chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "The levels to which some people will sink in terms of cruelty for entertainment never cease to amaze. The selfishness the person who shot this beautiful creature has shown to the public is reprehensible."

The only consolation came from Donnelly who said that although the Exmoor Emperor had gone, he had faith in the empire of the son – or sons. "I have seen one or two very nice, very big stags who could well be his or another good stag's son," he said. "If we leave them alone to get on and do what they're designed for, then we'll keep up the quality of deer on Exmoor."

Read more media coverage here

Read more media coverage here

View Sky News coverage here

Wild and Farmed Venison Production read Teagasc Report

October 24th 2010

Deer Production

The methods of production used for cattle and sheep in Ireland are also suitable and similar to what is required for deer. Deer breeding stock can be kept like a herd of suckler cows or a flock of ewes for producing young. These can then be sold off as weaners or they can be kept for finishing out of a house at a year old or finished off grass at 12 to 18months of age.

The main differences between cattle, sheep and deer are that deer have to be kept behind 6 to 7 feet high fences and the calving time is May – June. Handling of deer also requires a specialised yard and crush.

Deer eat the same type of feed as cattle or sheep but the grassland management for deer can be more difficult due to late calving. The peak stocking rate occurs from June to September when grass growth tends to be gone past its best. Some deer farmers may consider putting down alternative swards to ryegrass; these could be high clover swards, clover and chicory, or clover and plantain. This should ensure good calf growth while they are suckling their mothers during the summer and autumn. If deciding to use a straightforward mix then it is best to opt for a late heading variety and more clover.

The breeding season or rut occurs between September and December therefore the breeding herd must be kept at grass till the end of November or early December. If careful management is not practised, this can lead to late grass growth in the spring. There is usually only one cut of silage taken but it is important to take an early cut (end of May) so that the regrowth is available for peak milking from mid to late June onwards.

Mineral and Vitamin supplementation on an all year round basis is essential for deer health. Copper in particular is a very important mineral for the long term health of a deer herd. Regular rotational application of lime to pastures is important but all paddocks should not be done in the one year, instead do a quarter of the paddocks very year. A high ph in all the paddocks could upset the uptake of minerals. Calves in there first winter are fed concentrates in the form of whole grain with added protein like soya- beans, linseed, or field-beans. The amount of concentrates fed depends on the predicted finishing date.


One of the strengths of deer farming in Ireland is that it is operating at world market prices at present and sustainability is not dependent on EU protectionist policy.

However, unlike beef or lamb there can be competition from wild shot venison, which can depress the price of farm venison during the game season of September to February. Food Safety laws are to some extent removing wild shot venison as a large scale threat to farm venison.

There is competition to Irish farm venison in Europe from imported farm venison from New Zealand.

The availability of farmed venison on a year round basis makes it suitable for retail outlets like supermarkets. Generally due to a lower volume of throughput venison is mostly sold through supermarkets as opposed to butcher shops. It is in boned out vacuum packed servings for one or two people. In Ireland at present it is available in Superquinn under the brand name of ‘Oisín’/ Finnebrogue venison. It is now available in many more restaurants and even in fast food outlets as burgers and sausages. The high iron content of venison makes it a very valuable source of iron for women and children.

The majority of venison produced in Ireland is exported out of the country, at present, most of the red deer venison goes to the UK, and all of the fallow venison goes to Denmark. It is worth noting that both those countries are outside the Euro zone, which is an important factor in the prices that are available for venison.

Scale of enterprise

Like most other farming enterprises scale is important in deer farming, both at an individual farm level and from a national critical mass point of view.

One person could manage a 300 red breeding herd or 600 fallow herd with their followers on roughly 40 – 50 hectares of good quality farm land. The minimum size recommended to start off with is 10 hectares. People who are unsure of the suitability of deer for their situation could consider finishing only (possibly indoors or on a stand off pad) for a couple of years. This will allow them to build up experience without an initial large capital outlay for establishment.

On a national basis, one of the processing plants (FinnebrogueVenison, DownPatrick) has the capacity to process up to 40,000 red deer per year. At present they are only working at 25% to 50% of capacity.

The Irish fallow venison that is being exported to a single outlet in Denmark makeup the equivalent of just 10% of that plant’s throughput of venison. The Danish outlet is price sensitive and they do tend to source Irish deer when it is least available elsewhere. They have said that Irish farmed venison is the most consistent and the best.

Deer Production Systems

Two systems of deer production will be looked at. One is a breeding system under organic REPS production and the other is a conventional breeding and finishing system.

Organic Deer Production

Deer are not eligible for direct payments and as farmers have become accustomed to the concept of direct farm supports this system goes some way towards meeting this aspiration. The stocking levels of deer under the nitrates directive and organic production are not very different and this is the reason for suggesting organic.

Producing deer to the weaner stage and selling the calves at four months of age is the easiest system to operate in an organic system. The stocking rate required by Organic is more economically feasible and workable if dealing with the breeding herd and calves under six months only. To allow some leeway for difficult grass growing years 150/kgs of organic nitrogen should be considered the upper limit. This will give a stocking rate per hectare of: 6 red breeding deer, 11.5 fallow breeding deer or 15 sika breeding deer.

This system is based entirely on feeding grass and grass forages with hardly any concentrates.

Finishing deer as organic venison will involve feeding concentrates at some level. Economically, in an organic system this will require you either to have your own home grown organic grain or else have easy access to a reasonable source. There are also restrictions on the amount of concentrates allowed to be fed. This impacts on finishing age, will impact on selling dates and consequently on the average stocking rate. Currently there is no outlet that will give a higher price for organic versus conventional venison. The concentrate feeding factor and the related issues make a breeding finishing system probably only feasible if carried out in a large-scale operation with a large acreage and low stocking rates. Producing weaners only or finishing only can be carried out in smaller units.

Potential returns from a breeding Unit under Organic REPS
20 hectare unit with a stocking rate of 120 red hinds and 2 stags
102 weaners at average weight of 50kgs at €2.50/ kg 12,750
20 hectare organic @ €242/ha 4,840
Disadvantage area compensatory allowance €84.73/ha 1,690
Total income 19,280
Annualised charges 433
Direct costs at €210/hectare 4,200
Total expenditure 4,633
Gross margin 14,647
Gross margin per hectare 732


Establishment Costs

The establishment cost of the unit on owned land is in the order of €80,000 or €4000 per hectare. The farming system must be carried out in strict adherence to the Organic and nitrate rules or regulations at all times otherwise there will be deductions in the form of penalties the regulations could lead to a demand for the repayment of all moneys paid.

Conventional Breeding Finishing Production System

20 hectares carrying 150 red or 300 fallow breeding females
Progeny finishing of grass at 14 to 16 months of age

7400kgs carcass venison @ €4.00 per kilo 29,600
Total variable costs (€575/ha) 11,000
Gross margin 18,600
Gross margin per hectare 930

Market outlets for deer

Red deer
Finnebrogue Venison Company, 
20 Finnebrogue Road, 
Co. Down 
BT30 9AB

Mark Brennan 
Supply Chain Development Manager: +44 28446 17525
Finn’s Meats 
A Venison Company 
Co. Cork 

Greg Potterton: +353 25 24138
B & F Meats, 
Co. Kilkenny 

Theresa: +353 56 7724268
Fallow, Sika and Red deer
B & F Meats, 
Co. Kilkenny 

Theresa: +353 56 7724268


Prime Venison

  • Reds €3.90 to €4.60 per kilo cold carcass weight
  • Fallow €3.50 to €4.00 per kilo cold carcass weight

Weaner Trade

Trade in weaned deer at 4 to 6 months of age is usually farm to farm by word of mouth or by adverts in the farming press. It can also be done via www.idfva.ie. The price is in the region of €2 to €2.50 per kilo liveweight collected in the yard.

Cull Trade

Culled deer generally go into the wild game market; prices in 2004 were in the region of €2.50 per kilo cold carcass weight.

Deer Farmers Representative Body

The deer farming representative body is now the Irish Deer Farmers & Venison Association (IDFVA) www.idfva.ie

Deer Health

The Department of Agriculture and Food are at present discussing the whole area of TB in deer. Some incidence of TB has shown up from time to time in the slaughtering plants and at post-mortems in the Vet labs. The Department has done work with some deer herds for research purposes, however there are no clear findings as of yet with regard to the effectiveness of a testing programme for deer.


Provisional Cull Returns for the 2009/10 Open Season

October 18th 2010

With the vast majority of the cull returns made for the 2009/10 open season - 33,589 wild deer were culled by 4,118 licensees. So far for the 2010/11 open season 3,845 licences have been granted, it is expected the overall number of licences granted will exceed last season's total.

While at this point some counties have seen a decline in the number of deer culled versus the 2008/09 open season the majority have seen an increase. Overall 2009/10 total of 33,589 is expected to increase further as more cull returns are received, this provisional total compares to 31,181 culled during the 2008/09 open season.

The cull return for Muntjac has increased from 9 in 2008/09 to 14 for 2009/10, however there is widespread suspicion about the accuracy of these returns in the absence of photographic or other evidence of the animals been actually culled. We will be calling on the department to investigate each Muntjac return to confirm it is not a case of mistaken identity. The returns claim Muntjac were culled in Wicklow, Dublin, Mayo and Waterford.

Click here for further details

Two men attacked by a Red Deer - Stag

October 14th 2010

A family stroll on Camlough mountain, Co Armagh turned into a nightmare when an apparently docile stag rounded on a photographer who had, seconds earlier, been taking pictures of it.

Tom Morgan suffered more than 20 puncture wounds during the attack and was only saved by the intervention of Rory Coffey, a part-time cage fighter, who had caught sight of the attack in the distance.

Mr Coffey, who suffered several injuries himself, managed to wrestle the stag to the ground and prevent any further injury to the group.

He believes that it was only his training as a cage fighter that gave him any chance.

By Gordon Adair 

Wild deer are always more active at this time of the year - during the rut. We recommend that caution and common sense is always used when near any wild animal.

Click here to watch media report

Deer Watching in Wicklow

October 10th 2010

To mark International Biodiversity Year, the Natural History Museum in Dublin will host a seminar on Irish biodiversity next Friday and Saturday, October 15-16th. The free public seminar will be at the National Museum of Ireland’s archaeology branch, on Kildare Street. To book call 01-6486316. Also next Saturday, October 16th the guides of the National Parks and Wildlife Service will set up telescopes between 11am and 4pm for people to spot deer in Wicklow Mountains National Park. You’ll need hiking boots and rain gear to get to the locations, near Glendalough. See wicklowmountainsnational park.ie for details.

Click here for media coverage

Your Support is required

October 4th 2010

Kirwan Theatre, NUI, Galway 7 - 9.30pm, Thursday October 7th 2010

The Literary and Debating Society within the National University of Ireland, Galway is hosting a debate on Thursday 7th October. The motion under debate is; "This House Believes that the Green Party is at War with the Irish Countryside". 

There will be representatives there from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports and the Green Party, along with other animal rights groups. It is imperative that the rural community in Ireland show their support for this event and the continuation of country sports.
Politicians deal in the commodity of numbers, therefore we need to stand united and demonstrate that those who support country sports and rural activities are a much bigger group than those who oppose them.
The Green Party has already succeeded in interrupting rural traditions in Ireland and with the threat of their proposal to ban hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland, it is vital they understand that as a community we will fight all the way. To demonstrate the strength of support for country sports and our rural way of life, join the debate.

The debate will be held in the Kirwan Theatre at 7pm on Thursday 7th October 2010. Show your support and bring your friends.

Further Details from:
Johnny Dicker

Do you want to dine on RTÉ's "The Restaurant"?

September 30th 2010

Are you a foodie who loves to eat out?

Do you enjoy talking about food almost as much as you enjoy tasting it?

If so then we want you!

The Restaurant is back for its seventh series on RTÉ One. In each
episode a celebrity head chef will take on the culinary challenge to
produce a top class, three-course meal with two value-for-money wines.

The celebrities who become chefs for a night will be people who have a
passion for food and dining. The programme will give the "chef" the
opportunity to "go pro" for one night and serve up a real restaurant
meal. The resident critics are Tom Doorley and Paolo Tullio, with one
other special guest critic each week.

The identity of the mystery chef will remain secret to all in "The
Restaurant" until after the meal. Before the chef leaves the kitchen
the critics will decide what star rating the meal deserves.

Dining on the show involves you becoming a 'critic' for the evening.
We need YOU, as our diners, to get involved in the experience and to
voice your opinions on the food and wine being served to you.

Vision Independent Productions are looking for diners for the series,
so if you think you're up to the challenge of critiquing the menu the
mystery chef whips up in the kitchen, we want to hear from you.

We will be recording two hour-long specials in mid November 2010, and
six shows between the end of January and start of February 2011.

For more information or to get involved please contact Lisa at:

Email – therestaurant@vipmg.tv

Don't forget to include your contact details - name, address, phone
number and tell us a little about yourself and your interest in

Ancient Red Deer found in Galway 

September 29th 2010

Back in July of this year I got a phone call from a young man that had been in a boat, fishing on an East Galway lake, and looking down into the shallow water he recognised the base of a deer skull. How he recognised it I cannot imagine as it was covered in a hard growth of calcified material.

Patrick Tully and Daragh Geraghty had fished Killtulagh Lake for many years but had not seen these old bones before; they reached down into the water and grabbed the skull and as the dark water gave up its secret, a fine and perfect set of red deer antlers appeared. Unfortunately part of the skull including some teeth fell away but were retrieved later along with several other bones. The boys, not thinking how old it could be, took it along to a local taxidermist to have it mounted into a trophy for the wall. Luckily the taxidermist recognised its potential and directed them to me. The boys confirmed that there were no red deer in the Glennamaddy area in living memory, so I asked them to bring it over for me to look at.

We met in a car park in Oughterard and as soon as Daragh opened the back of his van I knew it was very old. The structure and conformation confirmed it as native Irish so the only other deer that look like this were either Scottish of Kerry. The texture and feel of the antlers is as if they are made of stone with almost a sandy texture. Part of the antlers had been buried in the peaty mud and this part was stained black, the part that was above the mud is almost white and covered in this pale calcified growth. The antlers are completely undamaged and beautifully balanced with 15 points. Looking at the pearling on the antlers it is estimated to have died during October and was about 8-10 years old. Note the colour difference. Indicating where it was buried in the mud. Dr Ruth Carden has confirmed that the antlers are between 1,600 and 26,000 years old, without carbon dating it is a very wide estimate. The director of the Natural History Museum in Dublin told me that several remains of red deer retrieved from this area had been carbon dated at 4,000 years old.

I have visited Killtulagh Lake it is in a shallow valley of about thirty acres. It has a sense of history about it with several islands one of which is a crannog, built by early man. If the head is 4,000 years old it lay there for at least a thousand years before the crannog was built by man. The countryside would have been very different, surrounded by thousands of square miles of ancient forests, inhabited by Wolves and Bears, perhaps even the Magaloceros. The head is awaiting carbon dating and perhaps it will yield even more information of red deer and early man.

Paul Wood

Gardaí and NPWS investigate dumping of a shot deer carcass in Kilkenny 

September 9th 2010

GARDAI and NPWS are investigating the dumping of a deer carcass, recently discovered close to Paulstown on the side of the N9. 

The remains of the animal were left beside the main N9 in full view of motorists travelling the Kilkenny to Dublin road not far from the village of Paulstown. 

The deer appears to have been shot and it is believed that it was transported to the area in which it was found.

Click here for media coverage in the Kilkenny People

Possible Sika/Red Hybrid shot in West Cork

September 7th 2010

This is possibly the first Sika/Red Hybrid shot in West Cork, the stag was shot by Patrick Willis on 6 September 2010 and is reported to have weighted in at 120 kgs.


Download your Coillte Stalking Safety/ Prohibition Notice

August 18th 2010

Click on the link below to download & print your Coillte Stalking Safety/Prohibition Notice. All stalkers should display clearly prohibition notices at all gates and entrances to the stalking area before commencing stalking and remove them on leaving the area. Such notices should be a minimum size of 400mm wide and 600mm high, printed on a white background.

Download Here

Wild Deer Association of Ireland branded merchandise now available

July 30th 2010

The following Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) branded merchandise is now available

  • Branded dark green base ball caps @  €10.00 each +  €2.00 p&p
  • Branded dark green polo shirts (small, medium, large sizes) @ €20.00 each +  €2.00 p&p
  • Branded grey thermus travel mugs @  €10.00 each +  €2.00 p&p
  • We also have Hunter Competenence Assessment Programme (HCAP) manuals @ €35.00 each

Cheques/Postal Orders made payable to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland should be sent to WDAI, PO Box 31, Midleton, Co Cork.

Licences to Hunt Game and Deer 2010

July 16th 2010

Coillte Teoranta, currently invite tenders for licences to hunt Game and Deer on designated areas of their forest estate. 

Catalogues of available licence groups, together with tendering instructions will be available to download from the 17th July 2010 at http://www.coillteoutdoors.ie/ or from your local Coillte District office.

Click here for Deer Catalogue

Click here for Game Catalogue

The closing date for receipt of tenders is 5pm on Friday the 30th of July 2010


Concessions offered to the Greyhound Industry and Hunting Associations

July 12th 2010

The following is the text of a document issued by the Government to their TDs by way of briefing them on changes made to the Dog Breeding legislation.
Concessions offered to the Greyhound Industry and Hunting Association:
Friday 2nd July 2010
The Dog Breeding Establishment Bill will set out standards required for the welfare of all dogs while protecting our dog industry.
This bill will help to enhance our international reputation amongst the dog industry and also prevent any puppy farms from neglecting their dogs.
The Department of Agriculture will amend the 1958 Greyhound Industry Act, to legislate for welfare provisions for members of the Irish Greyhound Board. Once amended, the welfare of IGB registered greyhounds would be addressed through this amended 1958 Act.
Minister John Gormley will delay the signing of the commencement order of the welfare sections of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2009 until 1 January, 2011 to allow for the introduction of these amendments into the 1958 Greyhound Industry Act.
. Increased powers to the inspectors of Bord na gCon who will hold joint inspections with Local Authority Inspectors.
. Continue tattooing as the method of traceability
. Veterinary Inspector approval for a fitness cert to allow a bitch to breed more than 3 litters in 3 years if deemed safe.
. Register of Greyhounds to be put on a statutory basis.
. IGB Registered trainers will be exempt from the fee for registration purposes.
. Review of legislation to include all aspects of dog industry.
Hunting Dogs
. Three month consultation with associations prior to regulations being introduced.
. The regulations will be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the needs of specific groupings, that is hunt dogs, for whom it is recognised that communal sleeping facilities are most appropriate.
. Exemption of fees for Hunting Dog kennels.
. Continue tattooing as the method of traceability.
. There will also be a requirement that such tattoos be registered on a database for traceability purposes.
. Review of legislation to include all aspects of dog industry.
In addition:
. The requirement that all dogs be microchipped has been increased from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. This excludes greyhound and hunting hounds. This amendment will introduced at Committee stage.
. The Bill defines a dog breeding establishment as a premises at which are kept not less than 6 bitches each of which is more than 4 months old and capable of being used for breeding purposes. The minister has signalled that he is willing to change the 4 months to 6 months in response to calls in the Seanad.
. This Bill provides a lead in time of up to 3 months, which the Minister has today proposed to extend to 6 months in response to calls in the Seanad.
. The Minister also confirmed that the operation of the new Act will be reviewed after a year to assess its impact on the industry.
. Dog Breeding Establishment fee is ?400 for 6 - 18 bitches
The worries of Hunting Associations have been addressed:
Thursday 8th July 2010
The Government is confident that the concerns of the hunt clubs (as defined in the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009) will be addressed as follows:
. Addition of a subsection to Section 15 to provide for the identification of dogs in dog breeding establishments operated by hunt clubs by way of a tattoo as an alternative to micro chipping. Either tattooing or micro chipping is satisfactory.
. Addition of subsection to Section 15 to specify that such tattoos and or micro chips must be registered on a data base maintained by the Hunting Association of Ireland or FACE.
. During the consultation period on the regulations, the practical implementation of the traceability provisions will be discussed with the HAI and FACE with a view to minimising cost and inconvenience for older dogs in particular.
. Should HAI /Face opt for a micro chip system it can train/instruct people in the application of this system.
. The HAI/FACE may hold a central data base.
. Hunt Clubs affiliated under the HAI and FACE Ireland will be exempt from all license fees in connection with the Dog Breeding Establishment Bill.
. Legislation will commence no earlier than January 1st 2011 and there is a phasing in period of six months.
. Section 3 of the bill is a standard provision of legislation. It is not possible for any Minister to introduce secondary legislation (i.e. regulations) that is contrary to primary legislation as it would be ultra vires. Consultation with the HAI will take place prior to any new regulations being introduced and the Minister is required to get the agreement of the House before any changes are made to the primary legislation.
. Consultation with the HAI and FACE prior to introduction of regulations.
. Review of legislation after one year to include hunting dog sector.
. The independence of the inspection regime will be the onus of the local authority. Regulations will have to ensure the proper and transparent functioning of the dog warden service, and in particular guard against vexatious behaviour. Inspections will be held strictly on the basis of the legislation. In particular section 14 :
. (1) Dogs are adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, (2) adequately exercised and (3) inspected at regular intervals and all reasonable measures are taken to prevent and control spread of disease.
. It is agreed that during the period of consultation prior to regulations being introduced that the independence of the inspection regime will be discussed and guaranteed particularly where the dog warden service is contracted out, with a view to providing an ongoing consultative process between HAI/FACE and the local authorities to provide oversight of the objectivity of the inspection regime.
. According to the Attorney General's office there would be significant legal issues to ban Dog Wardens from being members of the ISCPA.
. As outlined in the bill the dog warden can only report to the local authority, cannot initiate any action and must revert to the county Veterinary officer before any action is taken.
. As outlined above the HAI and FACE specifically are to be consulted with as stakeholders prior to regulations being introduced and at the twelve month review.
. Security worries are acknowledged and access to the register of hunt kennels would be limited in the amount of information provided to the general public .This specific issue will be discussed in detail with the HAI and FACE prior to regulation being introduced to protect those concerned as much as possible.
. Although under the legislation all registered dog breeding establishments will be required to display a sign on their premises, the precise size and location of this sign will be subject to consultation during the process of developing the regulations. Any regulations developed will not be excessively onerous.
. With the exception of the above points, hunt clubs would be subject to all of the remaining provisions of the Dog Establishment Bill 2009.
. However the regulations made under the legislation will be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the needs of hunt dogs, for which it is recognised that communal facilities are considered most appropriate.
. Finally, an attempt has been made in the House and elsewhere to suggest that this Bill somehow represents an attack on the rural way of life and is the thin end of the wedge in terms of the end of traditional field sports. Let me be absolutely clear, this Bill is about dog welfare only .Other rural pursuits such as shooting and fishing are simply not affected by this Bill and there is no other proposal before this Government to impact on these rural sports.
What has been the greyhound industry's response?
The Irish Greyhound Board has welcomed the confirmation that greyhound breeding and welfare is to continue to be managed under the existing Greyhound Industry Act.
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD is to introduce legislation in the autumn which will amend the Greyhound Industry and Dog Breeding Establishment Acts, and put welfare standards for greyhounds on a statutory basis.
The Board are pleased that the very comprehensive guide to the care and welfare of greyhounds that exists in the Industry has been recognised, and that this will now be given statutory effect.
All Irish Greyhound Board registered Greyhound owners, breeders and trainers will be covered by the amended 1958 Act


Statement from RISE on the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009 

We are disappointed that we did not secure the exemption of hunt kennels from the Bill, as promised in writing by the Minister, John Gormley TD. 

However, we will work constructively with the Government to ensure that the various undertakings given to us yesterday by the Taoiseach are honoured in full.    We trust that our concerns will be taken on board at the stage when Regulations under the Bill are being drafted.


Ministerial amendments.pdf

DB Bill.pdf

DB memorandum.pdf

Deer factor highlights arrogance of Greens

July 4th 2010

"Deer factor highlights arrogance of Greens" - read the Sunday Business Post article here

First list of amendments to Wildlife Bill 2010.pdf

Labour amendments to Wildlife Bill 2010.pdf

Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 as passed by Dáil Éireann.pdf

The Government has won the vote on the controversial Wildlife Bill, which bans stag hunting.

The result was 75 votes to 72 but the Opposition called for a walk-through vote, which resulted in a 75-71 win for the Government.

Fianna Fáil backbencher Mattie McGrath voted against the Bill, he had abstained in the first vote. He again abstained in the walk-through vote.

His colleague Christy O'Sullivan, who also abstained in the first vote, voted for the Government in the second, and in the walk-through.

Fianna Fáil have removed the Party Whip from Deputy McGrath.   The Labour Party has removed the Whip from Tommy Broughan TD because he refused to follow a party instruction to vote against the Bill.

Earlier, Fine Gael's Bernard Durkan claimed the Bill amounted to an attack on rural life, and represented its gradual erosion, while Fianna Fáil TD Mary O'Rourke said she and her party would not accept further inroads into rural pursuits.

Independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae, Tipperary TD Michael Lowry and Joe Behan TD said they would vote against the Bill.

Mary Wallace, Fianna Fáil TD for Meath East, voted with the Government. She issued a statement that said she 'decided, in the national interest not to be instrumental in the fall of this Government.

'Despite my strong objections to this Bill, I believe a General Election would be wrong for the country and indeed for my community', she added.

Minister Gormley this evening put forward an amendment to the Bill, to ensure that there will be no interference with those who, with a licence, are stalking deer on foot, with the aid of dogs.

He said it had never been his intention to restrict deer stalking.

He revealed that about 4,000 licences a year are issued to deer stalkers.

WDAI! thanks all TDs who took a principled stand in opposing this Bill and ensuring the concerns of deer-stalkers were addressed.

Minister Gormley confirms amendment to section 3

June 24th 2010

The second stage of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 took place in the Dáil on June 24th. With the debate lasting over four hours, opposition came from Fine Gael, Labour along with seven Fianna Fáil backbenchers who spoke against their own legislation.

WDAI were present in the Dáil and a number of our members also formed part of a 200 strong protest outside.

The scale of the opposition from Labour, Fine Gael and in particular the Fáil backbenchers to the proposed ban of the Ward Union Stag Hounds clearly came as a shock to Ministers

References from the WDAI submission, recently made to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Environment, Heritage and Local Government were highlighted during the debate, along with our deep concerns about section 3 (3)  It shall not make it an offence where the person has been granted permission under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts to use dogs to drive deer off land...

This inclusion had not been requested by deer hunters nor is it relevant to the banning of the Ward Union Stag Hounds, or form part of the renegotiated programme for government, as was confirmed to us by the DOE. In fact this inclusion is contrary to animal welfare, road safety, the very reasons why the Green Party wish to ban the Ward Union. This suggested practice goes against legitimate and recognised practice of deer stalking or deer management.

To date the DOE have been unable to give any clear rationale for the introduction of section 3 (3).

WDAI, Ward Union, Maire Hoctor (FF) at Leinster House

During the debate Deputy Joanna Tuffy (Labour) highlighted the concerns that legitimate deer stalkers and WDAI have about Minister Gormley's continued issuing of licences under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts, to cull female deer, during the months of May - September.

The department of the environment have advised the WDAI they expect the revised wording of section 3 (2) to be "A person who hunts deer with two or more dogs (otherwise than under and in accordance with a licence granted under section 29 of this Act, or a permission granted under section 42 of this Act) shall be guilty of an offence''

The section 29 licence (deer hunting licence) will be amended in the future to specify hunting on foot.

Minister Gormley also stated during his address that seection 3 (2) would be amended.

We welcome any feedback you have on the suggested amendment to section 3 (2).

The next stage of the Bill is due to come before the Dáil on June 29th.

RISE Campaign - Gormley lays down gauntlat

June 20th 2010

What is happening?

The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley TD, has laid down the gauntlet 'big time' to the RISE! Campaign.
The Campaign has decided on a series of initiatives to defeat his proposals and prevent him achieving his stated aim of bringing the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill and the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill into law before the middle of July.  
Gormley has availed of the recent period of political uncertainty to start pushing his proposal through the Dáil and Seanad.

Wildlife (Amendment) Bill
Next Thursday 24th June at 7.30 pm the Dáil will begin debating the Bill to ban the Ward Union Hunt and to severely restrict deerstalking.   It will come back to the Dáil on Wednesday, 30th June.  The Taoiseach has backed Gormley to allow him to 'guillotine' the debate (that is, they will prevent TDs from speaking even if they want to) so that the Bill will be finished in the Dáil on Wednesday 30th.   After that, it will go to the Seanad and it looks like Gormley and Cowen's guillotine will be wielded there as well to get in passed in short order.

Dog Breeding Establishments Bill
The Seanad finally passed this Bill last Wednesday 16th June.   It is now ready to go to the Dáil to be finalised.   Gormley has bought off backbench Fianna Fáil opposition to the Bill by proposing a few weak amendments that are entirely unacceptable to RISE! and to all its affiliated organisations.   Do not be conned by FF representatives telling you that 'there are substantial amendments to the Dog Breeding Bill'.  

Our response
RISE! is responding with a comprehensive and integrated series of initiatives. These will highlight the case against both the Wildlife Bill and the Dog Breeding Bill.    They are set out below in the order in which they are happening.
Information Night, 8.30 pm Wednesday 23rd June, Simonstown GFC, County Meath. This has changed from being an Information Night into a show of strength to kick off this phase of our campaign.   Prominent speakers from different backgrounds will show their support.

Demo outside the Dáil, 7 - 9pm, Thursday 24th June
To coincide with the start of the Dáil debate, there will be a demo outside the Dáil from 7pm to 9pm.    Apart from lobbying TDs, this is important to achieve coverage on the TV and radio bulletins as well as in the newspapers the following day.

Major rally in Trim, county Meath, 12 Noon, Saturday 26th June
The people of Meath, Dublin and surrounding counties are invited to a rally in Trim to publicly demonstrate their support for an important part of their heritage, the Ward Union Hunt.    For people and clubs that cannot attend, we want messages of support that can be read out from the platform.

Demo outside the Dáil, all day, Wednesday 30th June
To coincide with the end of the Dáil debate, there will be a relay of RISE! supporters outside Leinster House while the Bill is being debated.    Again, this puts moral pressure on the TDs and helps to gain media coverage.   

County Information Nights
These will continue.    More than twenty have been organised.   Check www.risecampaign.ie for updates

County Council motions
Eight councils have adopted motions supporting RISE!   We will intensify our efforts until every county in the country is included.

Concern that Minister Gormley is issuing Section 42 Licences to cull female deer during the months of May/June

June 14th 2010

Press Release

Minister Gormley issues Licences to allow fawns suffer a horrendous death

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) - the main organisation representing the country’s deer hunters - has written to the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley TD, reiterating their call for an urgent meeting with him to discuss their concerns about Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010.

While Minister Gormley's recent statement concerning the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 that ‘the legislation will have no implications... for deer stalking’ is to be welcomed, there is deep concern that Minister Gormley will publish the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 without any consultation. During a meeting with senior officials from the Department of the Environment and the WDAI on May 18th, a commitment was given that a consultation process would begin within days; to address the concerns of legitimate deer hunters, to date no consultation has taken place.

Minister Gormley’s reassurances relate to Subsection 2, Section 3, Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010, which states ‘Subject to subsection (3), a person, including the holder of a licence or permission granted under this Act, who hunts deer with two or more dogs shall be guilty of an offence.’

But ignores concerns raised about Subsection 3, Section 3, Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 which states ‘It shall not make it an offence where the person has been granted permission under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts to use dogs to drive off land where they are causing serious damage to tree plantations or crops’.

Currently licences issued by Minister Gormley under the same Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts, are issued to landowners who in turn nominate a deer hunter to cull deer on their property, where deer are causing serious damage to tree plantations or crops, outside the open season for deer hunting.

It has come to the attention of the WDAI that Minister Gormley is currently issuing licences to landowners under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts, to cull female deer during the months of May and June. During these months female deer give birth to fawns, if the female is shot, the fawn will be orphaned and suffer a horrendous death, which can take a number of weeks.

A spokesman for the WDAI said: ‘While the WDAI supports the culling of female deer as part of a proper deer management programme, to reduce deer numbers where over population exists. Culling females when a fawn is born during these months and in fact right up to August – September when the fawn is still dependent on the female, is an inhumane practice and contrary to animal welfare or ethical deer hunting. We call on Minister Gormley to immediately consult with the organisations representing deer hunters, to avoid any further unintended consequences from the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010’

Minister Gormley agrees to amend Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 following WDAI submission

June 8th 2010

Briefing Note from Minister of State Michael Finneran (June 1st 2010)
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill, 2010

''An issue was raised recently by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland and the Irish Deer Society relating to the practice of deer stalking. They were very concerned that the prohibition on hunting deer with 2 dogs or more would impact on deer stalking in woodlands, where it is now generally regarded as good practice to have a dog for the purpose of retrieving fallen game which can be concealed in undergrowth (it is not uncommon for a deer, even if cleanly shot, to make a last dash for cover).   In the event that several hunters were stalking on a property and each had a dog, or if they were bringing two dogs for training or other reasons, they would in effect be breaking the law.    Licences for these activities are issued under Section 29 of the Wildlife Acts''.

''It was never the intention that the legislation would place any restriction on lawful deer stalking. Accordingly, the Minister is in consultation with Parliamentary Counsel on an amendment to the Bill to address the fears expressed by these organisations representing deer hunters that the provisions of the Bill will inadvertently affect the legitimate practice of deer stalking.    This amendment relates to Section 3 of the Bill.''

While Minister Gormley's commitment is to be welcomed, there is deep concern that Minister Gormley will publish the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 without any consultation. At a meeting with senior officials from the Department of the Environment on May 18th 2010, a commitment was given to the WDAI that a consultation process would begin within seven day with all relevant stakeholders, however todate we have been unable to confirm this meeting with the DOE.

WDAI now available on Facebook

May 30th

Click here to become a fan , ask a question, see the latest events and much more

WDAI submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee

May 25th 2010

Read WDAI submission

Listen to Morning Ireland Report

Irish Times Coverage

Irish Independent Coverage

Irish Examiner Coverage

It is important to note the following statements formed part of the WDAI submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on May 25th 2010

  • ''For the first time ever in law, Section 3, Subsection (2) of the Bill creates a new offence that will curb, inhibit and possibly render unworkable the officially recognised and endorsed method of deer stalking.    Section 3, Subsection (2) states:
    ‘Subject to subsection (3), a person, including the holder of a licence or permission granted under this Act, who hunts deer with two or more dogs shall be guilty of an offence.’
  • "I refer to a news report to that effect in the ‘Irish Times’ of Thursday, May 20th and I quote in full:
    ‘Earlier it emerged that Minister for the Environment John Gormley is prepared to alter forthcoming wildlife legislation to allay the concerns of deerstalkers who claim that further restrictions are about to be imposed.
    A meeting took place this week between senior officials in the Department of the Environment and representatives of deerstalking associations who are concerned about the implications of the recently-published Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010.
    Mr Gormley’s spokesman said the officials gave assurances at the meeting that there was “no intention to restrict traditional deerstalking”, and that the proposed legislation “could and would be amended to ensure clarity on this issue”.
  • ''We are prepared to enter wholeheartedly into any process of dialogue recommended by this Committee.   However, I have to say that we foresee no solution other than the total deletion of Section 3, Subsection (2).    We are open to persuasion, but we do not believe that a suitable formula of words can be found otherwise.''

WDAI invited to meet Oireachtas Committee

May 13th 2010

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) having requested an urgent meeting with Minister Gormely, and calling for full consultation with all stakeholders on the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 before it proceeds any further.  WDAI has also written to the main Opposition parties seeking meetings with them on the issue, to which most have responded.  

Having reviewed correspondence from the WDAI, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has agreed to hold a meeting on the matter.   WDAI is requesting the support of all members of the Oireachtas in relation to this issue.

Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 - anger amongst deer-stalkers as Minster Gormley fails to keep commitment

April 26th 2010

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland has received numerous messages of anger and disappointment from deer stalkers throughout Ireland following the publication of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010.

The Bill provides for the repeal of the Section of the Wildlife Act 1976 that allowed the Minister to grant a licence to the master of a pack of stag hounds to hunt deer with that pack. It includes a new provision making it an offence to hunt deer using two or more dogs.   This includes the hunting of deer by any holder of an appropriate hunting licence or permission granted under the Wildlife Acts. 

It shall not be an offence to use dogs to drive deer off land where they are causing serious damage to tree plantations or crops, where a person has been granted permission to do so under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts.   (How does this sit with the Green Party national policy of ‘not setting animal on animal?)

One of the Bills intentions was to outlaw the hunting of stags (carted) with hounds, where now it may have unforeseen consequences for all licensed deer hunters.

It is recognised as best pratice to have a trained tracking dog(s) while deer stalking to ensure the swift recovery of any animals that are not immediately dispatched and avoid unnecessary suffering. In the case of Coillte forestry property it is a requirement of your agreement that hunters must have access to a trained tracking dog. In its current form it is unclear whether the bill would make it an offence for a hunter to have two or more tracking dogs or be part of a hunting group that has two or more tracking dogs while deer-stalking.

Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 (read here)

Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010 Explanatory Memorandum (read here)

WDAI member launches DVD on deer hunting in Ireland

April 3rd 2010

WDAI member David Dunne has produced a DVD entitled "Deer Hunting in Ireland", covering aspects of deer management, culling, carcass handling and preparation for the table, along with recommeded stalking equipment which should prove a useful addition to every stalker's DVD library. David is an experienced stalker with a professional background in game handling and butchery.

The DVD is available directly from David Dunne, email lenkadunne@yahoo.ie, telephone 086 357 5917. The cost of the DVD is €25.00.

A contribution is made to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland for every copy sold when purchasers mention the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.

Deer cull blamed on Forestry Commission

April 25th

The Forestry Commission in Scotland has been accused of failing to maintain perimeter fences on its estates, leading to the unnecessary slaughter of deer....

Read here

Green Party launch consultation to ban hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland

April 16th 2010

The Green Party has launched a consultation on banning hunting with dogs and all types of coursing in Northern Ireland. This consultation is a fore runner for MLA Brian Wilson to bring a private members bill before the Assembly during the next session. The consultation was launched on the 31st March and will last for six weeks and close at 5pm on Friday the 14th May.

Unity is Vital for all country sports and this attack on legal field sports is just the beginging of their overall objective to ban all field sports and angling.

The consultation is available for download and we ask all you all to respond to this consultation by indicating that you disagree with their proposals. Click Here to download your copy

If you need help or assistance in completing your response please contact Countryside Alliance Ireland on 028-9263-9911 and they will assist you.


Irish Coursing Club offer €20,000 reward

April 11th 2010

...for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the injury and suffering of the hare released on video by Association of Hunt Saboteurs, alleging to be at Powerstown Park, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary on February 2010.  

The hare in this video, which was released on the Youtube website eight weeks following the National Meeting, is clearly restrained with a wire or thin cord, and appears to be convulsing. Closer inspection will show the hare is trying to escape from being restrained, and is possibly partly sedated or poisoned. Claims are made this video was taken during the third day of the National Coursing Meeting, February 3, 2010, but due to the constant presence of paddock stewards/other personnel, and other related details, this is extremely unlikely. A break-in to the hare park prior to the National Meeting was previously reported to the Gardai. The Gardai at Clonmel are currently investigating this act of cruelty. 

The Irish Coursing Club unreservedly condemns the maltreatment of this hare. We strongly urge anyone with relevant information to come forward on whoever perpetrated this act of cruelty to discredit coursing. 

Please contact the Clonmel Detective Branch Office 052 6122222 or the Garda Confidential number 1800 666111  

Further Information:

DJ Histon. Irish Coursing Club, 087-6358127. dj.histon@sportingpress.ie

Click here to view video

Countrywide Radio 1 - Mary O'Regan talks about women in deer stalking

Click here to listen

Hunt Saboteurs send 'doctored' video to TDs and Senators

March 31st 2010

ICC Response to “Dying Hare” Video
31 March 2010
On Tuesday, 30 March 2010, a disturbingly engineered video purporting to have recorded a "dying hare" at the National Coursing Meeting, February 3, 2010 was released to the Youtube website by the Association of Hunt Saboteurs Ireland. It was also distributed to all TDs as "evidence of the brutality" of hare coursing. The video begins with coursing footage from the National Meeting and ends with its subject matter, the "dying hare".
The ICC completely and unreservedly condemns and rejects the claims of the video and most strongly denies the authenticity of the subject matter itself.
A second inspection of the video by ICC officials and members as well as IT and veterinary experts exposes it as a deliberately orchestrated effort to discredit the hare welfare policies and practices of the ICC.
Beside it being patently impossible for the "dying hare" portion to have taken place during the National Meeting, in several frames it most disturbingly reveals the hare is restrained by a wire around its neck (and possibly one limb), the wire then extending to the right of the hare, intermittently being pulled. It is also worth noting that the camera often pans to the left but never to the right, the direction from which the wire is coming from. This observation is supported by the fact that the hare's head never moves from its original position in spite of convulsing and desperate attempts to free itself. The hare is highly likely to have been poisoned or partially sedated for effect.
The location and number of paddock stewards, staff, and 24 hour security personnel during the National Meeting make it virtually impossible for the "dying hare" portion of the video to have taken place at the claimed time, and there are numerous inconsistencies with the video. Differences in the quality of the video between the coursing footage and the "dying hare" footage are obvious, and the PA system background sound from the coursing portion is completely absent from the "dying hare" sequence. In addition, any further claims that this did take place during the National Meeting and the hare was not intentionally restrained are met with the hard fact that it was more important for the person with the camera to "get the shot" than try to relieve the hare’s suffering and seek the help of the on-site veterinarian or paddock stewards.
A break-in to the hare compound was discovered on a day previous to the National Meeting, and was reported to and is on record with the Gardaí. The location of the damage to the fencing from the break-in is in immediate proximity to the angle of the camera and the direction from which the wire around the hare's neck is being pulled.
Further claims of greyhounds breaking into the hare compound during the National Meeting are completely without basis, and these and other details point to people who will go to any lengths to achieve their aims and have no reservations whatsoever of sacrificing one hare to do so. It is a desperate and deplorable agenda. This is a shocking and disgraceful attempt to discredit the dedicated organising committee of the National Meeting and the ICC from a group of people who allege to oppose animal cruelty. Minister Gormley is notified of our findings, given he was provided this footage to investigate the matter. It is well documented how animal rights activists have “sacrificed” animals in the furtherance of their cause. It is worth noting that the alleged authors of this video are claimed to be Polish and therefore difficult to trace or interview; it is unusual at best that it took two months to “launch” their production on the unsuspecting public. The timing of the controlled release of this video was clearly designed to generate impact at an opportunistic time. These are the actions of treacherous people who will stop at nothing to achieve their agenda and must be exposed to the greater public, our elected representatives and the decent people of Ireland.
Legal counsel is being sought, and the video and all other supporting information will be left with the Gardai today, who have already been so notified of this serious matter of inflicted animal cruelty and trespass. Additional confidential evidence and detail will be provided to the Gardai to assist with their investigation. The targeted TDs and other government officials will also be so informed, and we encourage anyone with additional evidence or observations to contact the ICC immediately.
DJ Histon
Coursing Club

Click here to view video

Woodlands of Ireland forestry policy review and wild deer recommendations

March 8th -

Woodlands of Ireland have published a review of forestry policy, which contains recommendations in relation to management of wild deer in Ireland and which has implications for all deer hunters.

Deer hunters are encouraged to read the Report and as stakeholders in Irish forestry with an interest in the issue of deer management, to convey opinions to Woodlands of Ireland (www.woodlandsofireland.com), to the Heritage Council (www.heritagecouncil.ie) or write/email the Wild Deer Association of Ireland. Note no deer organisation was consulted in the drafting of this report.

Read here (page 74)

Poachers in Meath selling venison to unregistered game dealer

February 17th 2010

By Alison COMYN

Wednesday February 17 2010

RUTHLESS poachers are preying on herds of wild deer in the Slane and Collon areas, causing a siginifcant decrease in their numbers in recent years.

The deer, who whose forebearers escaped or were released from deer farms up to 50 years ago, roam large areas of east Meath and on to Collon and Monasterboice, some causing accidents on the M1 and N2, straying across the open road.

Poachers now see them as highly valuable, with an illegal dealer in the Meath area purchasing the venison meat on a 'weigh and pay' system.

There have been four incidents in as many months, where vehicles have struck the animals, and experts are calling for a review of fencing and safety barriers in areas where herds roam freely.

' Wild deer making their way onto the motorway is a huge problem, although it happens most often in the rutting season in autumn,' says expert Andrew McKeever, 'and is very dangerous for both the animal and the motorist.

'The herds, which are most prevalent in Slane and Collon, are a wonderful asset to the countryside, and it's amazing they have survived the development in the area, but numbers have been hugely depleted recently, and not by road incidents, but by a serious poaching problem in the area.'

Andrew says poachers are being attracted by a 'weigh and pay' system operated by a venison dealer working in the locality, and the population is way down.

'However, there are still many small herds which stretch through the Boyne Valley from Collon, as far as Ravensdale. Most of them were escapees from Slane Deer Park in the 50s, or when hard times hit the deer farmers, they let them all loose.,' he says.

'This asset to the countryside should be protected more.'

Chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland Gavin Duffy suggests the NRA should look at raising the level of fencing used where herds of wild deer roam.

'They have been criticised in the past because if they raised their stock-proof fencing an extra 2 feet, or three rails, it may stop a stag from jumping over them, however this would mean extra expense,' says the Bellewstown resident.

'The one main herd in this area was always the Hilltown herd, which roam from Stamullen to Bellewstown, however when the M1 opened in 2005, this unsettled them, and they stumble onto the motorway near the toll booth quite a bit.'

Wild deer also graze in Townley Hall woods, coming from the Slane direction, although a herd can travel up to 40km per day and are free to roam across land.

' They can prove a great danger to motorists as if startled or rutting, they can break into great bursts of speed, and being hit by a stag is they same as being hit by a cow or horse,' adds Gavin.

- Alison COMYN

Shameful poaching incidents in Tipperary and Galway

February 4th 2010

Gardai are investigating the dumping of the carcasses of ten deer which were discovered recently in the Drombane area of North Tipperary.  The remains of the animals were packed into plastic bags and dropped into a roadside drain, not far from a reservoir which supplies water to Thurles Town.

Due to the manner in which the deer were shot and the large number of animals found in the drain, it is felt that they were shot illegally at night and transported to the area in which they were found.

Local people are upset by this and other illegal night-time activities which are taking place in many parts of rural North Tipperary.  Gangs armed with powerful rifles and lamps illegally pursue deer under cover of darkness and show scant regard for landowners and their livestock.  Over recent years horses and cattle have been killed by those marauding gangs, who leave the animals to die, and the farmers to suffer the loss.

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland which represents trained, insured and law abiding deer hunters in a comment said

“We unreservedly condemn this type of mindless and
dangerous activity, and sympathise with and support farmers
 who have suffered losses because of illegal hunting activities.
We call upon the authorities to pursue and prosecute more vigorously those who undertake night-time poaching activities throughout the country”

Tipperary Poaching IncidentTipperary Poaching IncidentTipperary Poaching Incident


A similar incident recently took place in Co. Galway where four fallow deer were shot and left in a drain (picture below). These individuals show no regard for our sport or the deer they shoot and leave to rot, they are criminals and any information on these incidents should be reported to the Gardai.

Fallow Bucks dumped in Galway

Read here - Tipperary Star front page coverage


R.I.S.E. (Rural Ireland Says Enough) we need your help!

January 26th 2010

RISE! Rural Ireland Says Enough! Is campaigning at national, regional and local level to mobilise public and political opinion in support of our traditional field sports and rural pastimes. Our supporting organisations including the Wild Deer Association of Ireland represent more than 300,000 people involved in country sports. Right now, there are three immediate threats to rural sports:

The Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009, proposed by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, is currently been debated in the Seanad.

The same Ministers Wildlife (Amendment) Bill, which includes a ban on stag hunting, is scheduled to be published between now and Easter.

The Animal Health and Welfare Bill is being drafted by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

These proposals represent part of a wider, fundamentalist Green agenda being foisted on people.

Rural Ireland says Enough! It is time to draw a clear line, to resist these threats and to promote our traditional rural way of life. RISE! Is supported by people throughout Ireland who value our distinctive and traditional way of life. They are people who wish to conserve and develop a better way of life for themselves, their children and for future generations. How can you help our campaign? Click Here to find out - Sign our Online petition Click here

Read the full transcript of the Seanad debate, January 26th on the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, Second Stage. Highlighted are some of the more relevant comments in yellow. Read here

Passing of one of Ireland's leading deer stalking personalities and former Wild Deer Association of Ireland chairman John Creedon

January 19th 2010

It is with great sadness and regret that we learned of the sudden passing of one of Ireland's leading deer stalking personalities and former WDAI chairman John ‘’Johnny’’ Creedon who passed away unexpectedly on January 15th 2010.

Johnny was chairman of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland from 2005 - 2007 and during his tenure contributed significantly to the association’s development into a leading national organisation. A member of the WDAI for almost 20 years he unselfishly devoted him time to the betterment of Ireland’s wild deer herds, its members and to those who had similar interests. As a man who had seen a lot of the world through his many hunting and yachting trips, been involved in deer stalking and bird shooting all his life and a keen wildlife photographer and film maker (which can be seen on www.wilddeerireland.com) meant you where always guaranteed a good story with the Johnny Creedon humour added in for good measure.

Johnny’s passion for deer stalking was only matched by his interest in film making and photography, which saw him win the best amateur documentary in Ireland/UK.

His funeral took place in Macroom, Co. Cork on January 21st and as expected was well attended by the shooting and hunting community. As was fitting for this extraordinary sports man the ceremony included a three gun salute by Johnny’s local gun club and a guard of honour by the WDAI.  A man with great zest for life not to mention his legendary story telling will be sadly missed by all hunting and shooting people who were lucky enough to meet him. May he rest in peace - Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Damien Hannigan

Wild Deer Association of Ireland


Funeral details - Prayers 8pm Tuesday January 19th Macroom Church, Co. Cork. Rosary 8pm Wednesday January 20th Macroom Church, Co. Cork. Burial after 2.30pm mass Thursday January 21st, Macroom, Co. Cork. Mass cards Julie Creedon, No. 2, Coolcower, Macroom, Co. Cork.

Is a national cull required and are deer numbers out of control?

January 10th 2010

They say ‘’paper never refused ink’’ and this certainly seems to be the case on viewing some of the newspaper headlines in recent days calling for ‘’national deer culls’’ and ‘’deer been out of control’’.
The facts and statements made by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) on these matters are.

  • While there is a perception deer numbers are high in some areas such as Wicklow, , Sligo and isolated areas of Galway and Mayo the feedback from hunters and member of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland around the country is that deer numbers have been decimated in many areas - throughout the midlands, northwest and Munster by the illegal taking of deer or over hunting, in recent times this has escalated due to the economic down turn and the promotion of large scale deer buying operations.

  • The main causes of high deer populations tend to be (i) poor deer management where hunters only shoot stags and do not control the number of females to reduce the deer population. (ii) Poaching (illegal taking of deer by lamping at night or unauthorised hunting with dogs) can cause deer to become very wary and hard to control.  It makes the deer seek cover and become prone to feeding at night, which makes them almost impossible to control by legal methods of shooting as shooting at night is an illegal activity. (iii) In recent years we have created additional habitat for deer through private forestry plantations, while such forestry should be encouraged it is vital plantations are planned with deer management in mind such as creating ''deer lawns'' and other spaces to allow the deer to feed in the forestry.

  • It is impossible to state ‘’deer numbers are out of control’’ or that ‘’deer are moving into more areas’’ as no deer census or population count has ever been undertaken in Ireland. In fact to see or count wild deer is quiet difficult under normal circumstances where an unqualified attempt can lead to the same deer been counted more than once as deer tend range over large areas.With 31,000 deer shot in 2008/09 hunting season this number does not include any deer shot illegally by poaching or deer shot illegally by those who do not have a deer hunting licence and in turn do not make an annual return to the NPWS. While the number of deer shot in recent years has increased substantially the number of deer hunting licences has also increased substantially, so are there more deer or is it that there are just more hunters shooting deer?  

  • There are over 4,000 deer hunting licences issued annually (2009) in Ireland while these licence holders can control the deer population this can only happen where the correct deer management practices are implemented such as those promoted by the WDAI, Deer Alliance and other organisations where over population occurs.

  • Landowners have an important role to play to ensure they make the right decisions and prevent illegal hunting if they think a deer problem exists on their land or they have had crop damage. In 2009 an initiative was set up between the IFA, Irish Deer Society and the WDAI which provides a free service to landowners giving advice and assistance on deer problems by contacting their local IFA office. Landowners should only allow a qualified deer hunter on their lands with the appropriate insurance. The only recognised qualification in Ireland for deer stalking is the HCAP qualification (Hunter Competence Assessment Programme).

  • Fallow deer are the most common in Ireland followed by Sika deer with Red deer been our rarest deer who where almost extinct in Kerry in the 1970’s when the numbers where as low as 60 animals but since been protected from hunting (currently Red deer stags only) numbers have recovered but in terms of the overall deer population they are small in number, other red deer herds can be found in Wicklow, Galway and Donegal with isolated small herds in some other counties.

  • As our motorway network expands around the country it is inevitable that these motorways will cross existing deer habit and deer will be involved in motor accidents more frequently. In many other countries proper planning to include deer fencing and deer passes along motorways can reduce these accidents in areas of high deer population.

  • The introduction of any invasive species into Ireland is seen by the WDAI as a threat to our biodiversity and destruction of our habitat. While there has been evidence of individual Muntjac deer releases in Ireland there has been no evidence of Roe or Chinese Water deer been released in Ireland.

So are these dramatic headlines correct – answer: we do not know because we do not know if there is a problem.

Wild Deer Association of Ireland

January 10th 2010  

Temporary Closure of the Hunting Season for Waterfowl and advice on Open Deer Season

January 14th 2010

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has today has extended a temporary closure of the Hunting Season for Waterfowl due to the continuing freezing conditions across the State.

Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe, Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department said "These birds depend on lakes, ponds, reed beds and marshy ground to find food, shelter and refuge, but these are now frozen and have been since mid December". Met Eireann has confirmed that this cold spell will continue for some time.

The Department has consulted with country sports and conservation organsiations who welcome this decision and ask their members to adhere to this measure which will clearly benefit the long term populations of these birds.

The Species concerned are Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Scaup, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Goldeneye, Golden Plover, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Woodcock, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and Ruddy Duck.

The situation will be reviewed again on 20th January 2010. 

Advice on Open Season

Considering the current severe weather conditions in many areas of the country, deer and all game animals/birds are under additional pressure and also from a shortage of food supply, therefore we would like each WDAI member to use their discretion in the areas effected and to refrain from stalking deer until the weather conditions improve.

The deer are hampered by the deep snow and not alert to the usual dangers and tend to herd together seeming not to notice normal dangers such as humans and dogs.

To shoot deer in the current weather conditions could be seen as unethical.

Are Wild boar on the come back in Ireland?

December 14th 2009


HAVING BEEN extinct for hundreds of years in Ireland, the wild boar appears to be making a comeback in many parts of the country.

Biodiversity Ireland has reported sightings at a number of locations in 2009.

The most startling of their reports revealed a 396lb boar “was shot near a school playground in south Tipperary” earlier this year. The group have also recorded sightings of sows, boars and piglets in counties Kilkenny and Wicklow.

The physical environment has greatly changed since the wild boar became extinct in Ireland several centuries ago.

Wildlife group Invasive Species Ireland is concerned about its reappearance. Ironically, due to the extinction of the Irish wolf, the wild boar has no natural predators in Ireland and could “expand unchallenged”, it said.

Coillte’s game and wildlife manager Barry Coad said he had dealt with a number of wild boar over the past year. He described the problem as “quite widespread throughout the country”.

Mr Coad has been directly involved in removing nine animals from Piltown in Co Kilkenny and Glenealy in Co Wicklow. “I think it is a serious concern for agriculture and also there is potential for spreading disease,” he said.

Wild boar are known to uproot large areas of land, eliminate native vegetation and have the potential to spread disease to domestic livestock.

Colonies of wild boar have become established in parts of the UK in the past decade.

Chairman of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland Pat Scully said one of his members shot a wild boar in Clogheen near Cahir in Co Tipperary earlier this year.

“There was one shot in Cahir earlier but it would be assumed that it would have been bred in captivity,” said Mr Scully.

He was aware of people keeping the animals which could be imported with a licence. “There are some in captivity and I presume it is a safe assumption that some would escape,” he said.

Two Red Deer seized in Fermanagh Deer Poaching incident

November 29th 2009

Deer poaching across Ireland has reached epidemic proportions, authorities have claimed.

Details of the developing black market in deer meat were disclosed after remains of two of the animals were discovered hidden in a shed near Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, with police adding that more and more are being culled in the run-up to Christmas.

See WDAI comment on AOL news

Two amazing 10 & 12 point Sika Stags taken in Kerry & Wicklow

November 5th 2009

To hear of a 10 or 12 point Sika Stag is rare but two of these Sika Stags been culled with in weeks of each other is something that has not been heard of in recent years. Wild Deer Association of Ireland members John Clooney & Wayne O'Hea where the lucky ones, John took this amazing 12 - point Sika Stag on the opening day of the season in Co. Wicklow with a .270 & is only the third such animal ever recorded. Wayne O'Hea harvested this ''once in a lifetime'' 10 point Sika Stag in Co. Kerry on October 7th with his 25.06

12 point Sika Stag12 point Sika Stag10 point Sika Stag


Bruce Banwell DVD now available

October 18th 2009

Following the address by world renowned deer author & expert Bruce Banwell to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, a DVD has now been produced of Bruce's talk.

If you would like a copy please forward a postal order or cheque for €15 made payable to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland to PO Box 31, Midleton, Co. Cork


Red Deer Tissue Samples Required

October 8th 2009

Dr Ruth Carden requires red deer tissue samples for her ongoing research- either a piece of ear/ muscle or a section of the tongue - all to be contained in the samples tubes available to include in the origins of Irish red deer populations with particular emphasis on the Kerry red deer herd.

Dr Ruth Carden
Natural History Division
National Museum of Ireland
Merrion Street
Dublin 2

If you require sample tubes please you can contact Ruth directly on ruthfcarden@gmail.com .

Download your Coillte Stalking Safety/ Prohibition Notice

August 29th 2009

Click on the link below to download & print your Coillte Stalking Safety/Prohibition Notice. All stalkers should display clearly prohibition notices at all gates and entrances to the stalking area before commencing stalking and remove them on leaving the area. Such notices should be a minimum size of 400mm wide and 600mm high, printed on a white background.

Download & Print Here

New Firearms Licensing Regulations

August 2nd 2009

Section 28 of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 which was commenced on the 27 th July 2009 provides for a transition period where existing firearm certificates due to fall for renewal on the 31 st July 2009 will have their durations extended for periods of up to 12 months (a minimum period of 3 months and a maximum period of 12 months).

All firearm certificate holders will receive a letter from the Garda Commissioner informing them of their extension and the timeframe of when they can re-apply for a firearm certificate under the new legislation.

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland will provide guidance to members on the new application in the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, Co. Tipperary on Friday August 21st @ 7.30pm.

Click Here to download your forms & for further information

28th Annual General Meeting Report

June 14th 2009

The 28 th annual general meeting of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland took place on June 13 th at the Kilcoran Lodge, Cahir, Co. Tipperary with this year's event been the biggest to date.

The membership where informed the association has just had the best year in terms of membership with 68 new members joining from all regions of the country including Northern Ireland & that the associations web site www.wilddeerireland.com now attracts an average of 1,000 visitors per day from all over the world.

The association's head competition was won by Gerard Halligan, Clairemorris, Co. Mayo with his record breaking Red Stag (pictured on this web site), best Fallow was won by John Clooney & most unusual Paul Fletcher.

Overall the quality of heads on display was exceptional this year including an unusual Hog Deer & Pier David Deer displayed by Joe Murphy, Naas, Co. Kildare & the first Wild Boar taken in the wild in Ireland by Jim O'Keefe, Tipperary along with an amazing display of African Trophy heads.

The main prize in our members draw a Wild Boar weekend in Hungary was won by Michael Corbett, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary – congratulations to Michael who will be jetting off to Hungary in the coming months.

Award winning knife maker Pat Mulcahy & Kurt Ecker taxidermist had excellent displays of their crafts for members to view.

The meeting was followed by a fantastic venison banquet prepared by the chefs of the Kilcoran Lodge.

Wild Muntjac Deer involved in traffic accident in Co. Down.

June 13th 2009

This wild Muntjac was discovered last week near Donaghadee on the Ards Peninsula in Co Down. The authorities are carrying out a criminal investigation under the Northern Ireland Wildlife Order 1985.

See BBC coverage on this incident

Muntjac Deer in Co. Down



Recording breaking Red Stag antlers on show at AGM 2009


June 11th 2009

Ger Halligan of Clairemorris, Co Mayo a member of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland will display his recording breaking Wild Red Stag antlers (262 CIC points) taken in October 2008 in Co. Mayo at the 2009 WDAI AGM on June 13th.

Read the full story of the Crown of Clochan Hill

Recording breaking antlers mounted





Ger Halligan with his 262 CIC points Wild Red Stag





The Wild Deer Association of Ireland join FACE Ireland

June 9th 2009

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland became a member of FACE Ireland following the FACE AGM on June 8 th 2009, which took place in Durrow Co. Laois.

With the increasing level of scrutiny on all field sports, the WDAI view organisations such as FACE working with the WDAI as been critical to the future of our sport.

We would like to thank the IDS & other FACE Ireland for their support on this matter.

About FACE

In March 1977, after an initial discussion on the need for a "EEC" hunters' organisation, a European hunters' federation - FACE - was born in London...

FACE membership is open to representative national hunters' associations from all Council of Europe Member States. FACE currently counts members in 36 countries.

FACE has regular contacts with the 785 Members of the European Parliament and works in particular close collaboration with MEP's taking part in the "Sustainable Hunting, Biodiversity & Countryside Activities" Intergroup.

Since its foundation, FACE has had decisive input into all EU initiatives (Directives, Amendments and Regulations) relating directly or indirectly to hunting and wildlife management.

FACE is recognised by the European Commission as the main discussion partner, representing Europe's 7 million hunters, and is consulted by the relevant Directorate-General during the elaboration and monitoring of EU legislation dealing with hunting, wildlife management, nature conservation, firearms, wild animal health, game meat hygiene, etc.

For further information go to http://www.face-europe.org


New Coillte Bye-Laws will help fight poaching & illegal hunting

June 3rd 2009

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food – Brendan Smith under the Forestry Act 1988 (Section 37) (Coillte Teoranta) Bye-Laws 2009 has made a number of Bye-Laws which have been welcomed by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.

The bye-laws address areas such as access, litter, use of vehicles or bikes, dogs, unauthorised persons & the illegal use of firearms on coillte property.

The WDAI view these bye-laws as supporting it's campaign against illegal poaching & hunting under the heading of ‘shine a light on poaching'

Coillte Teoranta Bye Laws 2009


May 27th & June 1st 2009

The 28 th Annual General Meeting of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland will be held on Saturday June 13th 2009 at 7.30pm sharp in the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, Co. Tipperary you can also contact the hotel or lodges on 052 41288 if you require accommodation.

Following the A.G.M. a Venison Buffet will be provided .

In conjunction with the AGM our annual competition will be held for best Trophy Heads.

Categories - 1. Best Fallow head 2. Most unusual 3. Best Overall. Note: Heads must have been shot within the previous 12 months. Heads shot in excess of 12 months can be exhibited but will not be included in the competition; these heads must be identified to the judges in advance.

Membership for the coming year is due following the AGM and can be paid on the night, along with any outstanding membership (€20), if you are unable to attend please forward your membership fee to Wild Deer Association of Ireland, PO Box 31, Midleton, Co. Cork.

We are pleased to confirm a member's draw will take place for those present on the night, prizes include a Driven Wild Boar weekend at Nagyvad Hunting in Hungary visit www.nagyvadhunting.hu (terms & conditions apply) there will also be display of African game species.

We are considering holding a second HCAP workshop/MCQ based on demand & with the January 2010 deadline fast approaching if you are interested please reply before June 13 th

Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009 now published

May 21st 2009

The The Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009 has now been published. The full bill and associated explanatory memo may be downloaded by clicking on the following links

Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009 explanatory memo

Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009

Ahern Announces Handgun Ban

May 15th 2009
  1. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., has published the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous) Provisions Bill 2009 which imposes a handgun ban and much tougher penalties for individuals found in possession of knives.

    The Minister said the new Bill will significantly overhaul the licensing of firearms:
    1. No new licenses will be issued for handguns with very limited exceptions in relation to Olympic sports only
    2. Any existing handgun licenses will be subject to the new rigorous licensing procedures where their renewal is sought.
    3. A new year three year licensing system for firearms.

This new more rigorous system, which will be introduced in August, will allow Superintendents to enquire into the medical history of applicants, provide for character referees for applicants and introduce minimum standards for secure accommodation of firearms. The Garda Commissioner will be able to issue guidelines governing the issue of licenses.

The Minister has said he has been shocked by the growth in the number of legally held handguns in the State. "Handguns were effectively banned in the State until 2004, mainly as a result of measures introduced during the Troubles. But following a series of judicial decisions that is no longer the case and about 1,800 handguns have been licensed. That number will continue to rise unless we take action. At least one Judge has expressed his concern at this alarming growth."

"The number of handguns could grow exponentially and would equate to that of countries such as the United States unless the issue is tackled. I am now moving to ban handguns. And my proposals have received the backing by the Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate, Ms. Kathy O'Toole, drawing on her considerable experience in the U.S.."

The Minister said: “The ban on handguns will not affect the vast majority of firearms owners. It is a necessary step in moving away from the handgun culture which has been developing. It mirrors what has been done in other jurisdictions in the light of dreadful atrocities which have been committed using deadly weapons. The time for action is now and not in the bloody aftermath of some horrific shooting."

The Bill will allow the Minister to tackle the issue of realistic imitation firearms ('Airsoft') through restrictions on their importation, sale and
use. In particular, it will be an offence to brandish realistic imitation
firearms in a public place.

The Minister continued: “When all these measures have been implemented I am satisfied that we will have a comprehensive and effective firearms code where the safety of the public is paramount while at the same time facilitating those who wish to pursue their legitimate interest in this area of activity.”

The Bill will focus also on knives and similar weapons. "Legislation on the use of knives and similar weapons is already very strong and heavy penalties are in place. But I am introducing two provisions in the Bill to strengthen the law in this area. The penalty for possessing a knife in a public place is being increased from one to five years and the Gardaí are being given an extended power of search without warrant in relation to knives and offensive weapons. Samurai swords are also to be outlawed."

Other measures which are contained in the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous
Provisions) Bill include:

• Amendments to the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003 which have been
identified as being necessary to improve the operation of the legislation and to deal with issues which have come to light in the administration of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system. These changes are expected to enhance the operation of the EAW system while at the same time safeguarding the rights of people whose surrender is sought on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

• Provision for the certification of evidence on the part of certain
staff of the Garda Technical Bureau so that it may not be necessary to appear in Court to confirm orally the status of particular pieces of evidence in all cases.

• A number of amendments to the Bail Act of 1997 - one of which will
clarify that any money paid under recognisance to a prison Governor for example or any other specified person for transmission to the court shall be deemed to be a payment into court. Section 9 of the Bail Act 1997 will be substituted in full to improve the drafting of that particular section.

New Site Launched

May 12th 2009

The new look Wild Deer Association of Ireland web site is here with lots of new & useful information on all matters deer related. Due to the success of www.wilddeerireland.com over the last 7 years as your one stop shop for all things deer related. We have decided to include even more useful & exciting information for you to browse. Please let us know what you think.

April 2009


Following consultations between the IFA, the Irish Deer Society and the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, a Deer Management Programme is to be made available to advise and assist landowners on the management of deer, while maintaining the herd in a safe and sustainable environment

IFA Deputy President Derek Deane welcomed the initiative, which has come about after detailed discussions with all stakeholders. “The dramatic rise in deer numbers in the last few years has posed problems for farmers, including fence damage, encroaching on crops, grazing of pastureland and increasing the risk of disease outbreaks. All these have financial implications for farmers. IFA recognises the value of maintaining a healthy herd, but it must be within the natural environment for the deer.”

Mr Deane encouraged farmers to avail of the services that will be provided under the Management Programme. A list of co-ordinators approved by the Irish Deer Society will be made available to landowners who have problems with deer numbers.

The Chairman of the Irish Deer Society Paul Wood said the aim of his organisation was the conservation of wild deer. “We also recognise the need for the effective management of deer numbers. Unmanaged deer herds can increase annually by 30%. Proper management conducted during the open season should reduce the need for Section 42 licences, which allow hunting out of season.”

David Wilkinson, Chairman of IFA Countryside, said the rise in deer numbers poses a threat to roadusers and private property. “A successful Deer Management Programme will reduce the risk of accidents and preserve the deer population in their own environment.”

President of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland Pat Scully said there will be an educational element to the Management Programme. “Part of the problem is down to a lack of deer management knowledge. Hunters often concentrate on culling male deer because they want a set of trophy antlers. This does very little to control deer numbers as female numbers escalate. This approach does little for farmers or for the national deer herd.”

*See attached deer management programme brochure

* View RTE Six One News coverage


Red & Sika Deer DNA Study

Dr Ruth Carden a WDAI member gives an update on her Red & Sika deer DNA study - read here

Word Documentation Red & Sika deer DNA study (30.5 KB Word .doc file)

Deer Management Programme

Deer Management Programme is to be made available to advise & assist landowners on the management of wild deer, while maintaining the herd in a safe and sustainable environment -Read more -IFA- IFA, IDS & WDAI Deer Programme detail - RTE Six One Coverage (New)

Word Documentation Deer Management Programme: (11.0 KB Word .doc file)

December 2008

Newspaper article suggests the deer population in Kerry are out of control & that there are 250,000 deer in Ireland?


November 2008

Donegal Poaching Incident November 14th 2008

MEN as young as esighteen years of age are roaming the hills near Ballybofey hunting wild deer with illegally held high powered rifles. The Donegal News learned this week that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is investigating this as well as reports of large scale “deer poaching” in other parts of the county. The NPWS spokesman confirmed they had received reports of illegal hunting and wounding of animals in the Ballybofey area and the information had been forwarded to local Gardai. He added he could not comment on other reports of deer poaching for operational reasons. There is an upsurge in deer poaching in the lead up to Christmas due to the increased demand, and price, for venison (deer meat). A legitimate hunter and licence holder from East Donegal expressed his disgust this week at the actions of young men near Ballybofey and said he feared an innocent person could be shot. “These young boys are aged between 18 and 20 and they go out lamping foxes using rifles at night time. But they are shooting everything in site, especially deer, and leaving them to die a slow death,” the man explained. “The deer would have suffered terrible. Recently, I seen one just lying there wounded and dying. This is a disgrace to do such a thing to a beautiful animal. I don’t mind seasoned licensed hunters because they use the deer for food and take the dead animal off the mountain. They might only shoot two or three a year,” he added. The man said such careless activity will ultimately lead to a serious incident or death involving an innocent person. “These boys have no licences for their guns, never mind licences for hunting deer. When hunting deer, you are supposed to bring signs with you and hang them on gates and fences to warn the public that hunting is underway. It was bad in the past, but this year has been the worst yet. A farmer or some woman out walking and could be shot or killed. The guards need to clamp down hard on these boys before its too late,” he concluded. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Wild Deer Association of Ireland said poaching is “illegal and dangerous”. According to Mr Damien Hannigan, Secretary of WDAI, poaching has reached epidemic levels in some areas through shooting at night with spotlights (lamping). Other practices include shooting outside the designated hunting seasons, snaring or trapping and in some cases, coursing deer with dogs. “Shooting without deer hunting licences is a common activity in Ireland. At the moment, there are a large number of people shooting deer illegally in the country,” Mr Hannigan said. Mr Hannigan admitted that deer have become a nuisance to farmers and landowners due to the poor management of the animals in some areas. “Deer must be culled, but only under controlled conditions, to restrict damage to forestry and farmland where over-population occurs. There is a right and wrong way to manage deer. And to leave a deer lying wounded in a field to die a slow death is obviously the wrong way. If deer could be managed in a proper manner then they would be easier to control. However, poaching is getting in the way of this,” he said. According to Mr Hannigan, poaching of deer has been on the increase in recent years and the Association aims to raise awareness and to inform members of the public of what should be done if a suspected case is encountered, through their campaign ‘shine a light on poaching’ “It is recommended where you suspect illegal hunting or taking of deer, that you contact your local Garda station or National Parks and Wild Life Service office, taking note of all relevant details such as location, date, time, vehicle registration and other details - but never approach,” he concluded.

Cronan Scanlon Journalist Donegal News Letterkenny Co Donegal +353 74 91 21014

September 2008

Minister creates Open Season for Muntjac Deer

Statutory Instrument No. 346 of 2008, Wildlife (Wild Mammals) (Open Seasons) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order, 2008, signed on August 27th 2008 and published on September 2nd 2008, provides for an Open Season for Muntjac deer in Ireland.

There is now a 12-month Open Season for Muntjac, running from the 1st day of September in each year and ending on the 31st day of August in the following year.

The Order follows several reported sightings of Muntjac in the Wicklow/Wexford area and at least one verified kill.

National Parks & Wildlife Service and others are concerned that the species could spread and come to represent a serious threat to agricultural, forestry and other environmental interests, as has occurred in Britain.


Recognition: Small, stocky, russet brown in summer, grey brown in winter. Long pedicles, short antlers and visible upper canines in bucks. Very large facial glands below the eyes. Ginger forehead with pronounced black lines running to the pedicles in bucks, dark U shape in does. Haunches higher than withers, giving a hunched appearance. Fairly wide tail, which is held erect when disturbed.

Adult size: Bucks (males): 10 to 18kg, 44 to 52cm at shoulder. Does (females): 9 to 16kg, 43 to 52cm at shoulder.

Antlers: Short (up to 10cm) but on long pedicles. Usually unbranched but brow tine occasionally found in old bucks.

Life span: Bucks: up to 16 years. Does: up to 19 years, but these are exceptional.

Food & feeding: Selective feeders that take small morsels from nutritious plants. Diet varies according to region and availability but may include herbs, brambles, ivy, heather, bilberry and coppice shoots.

Habitat: Deciduous or coniferous forests, preferably with a diverse understorey. Also found in scrub and over-grown gardens in urban areas.

Origins & history: Muntjac were first introduced from China to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire, England in the early 20th century. Deliberate releases and escapes from Woburn, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire lead to feral populations establishing. Their rapid spread across England and Wales has been facilitated by deliberate movement and release by humans.

Social organisation: Generally solitary or found in pairs (doe with kid or buck with doe) although pair-bonding does not occur. Bucks defend small exclusive territories against other bucks whereas does' territories overlap with each other and with several bucks.

Vocalisation: A common name for muntjac is "barking deer" resulting from the repeated, loud bark given under a number of circumstances. An alarmed muntjac may scream whereas maternal does and kids squeak.

The rut: In contrast to all other species of deer in Britain and Ireland, muntjac do not have a defined breeding season (rut). Instead, they breed all year round and the does can conceive again within days of giving birth. Bucks may fight for access to does but remain unusually tolerant of subordinate males within their vicinity.

Breeding: Muntjac are capable of breeding at 8 months old and breed all year round. After a gestation period of 7 months the doe gives birth to a single kid and is ready to mate again within a few days.

Activity: Muntjac are active throughout the 24-hour period but make more use of open spaces during the hours of darkness in populations experiencing frequent disturbance. Peak times of activity are at dawn and dusk. After feeding long periods are spent "lying up", which is where the deer lies down to ruminate.

Economic factors: Unlike other species of deer in Britain, muntjac do not cause significant damage to agricultural or timber crops. However, high muntjac densities may result in the prevention of coppice regeneration and the loss of some plants of conservation importance, such as primulas. Muntjac trophy hunting is only recently becoming popular and so muntjac stalking has little tradition on country and forest estates. The most significant direct economic impact that muntjac have on human interests is in collisions with cars. However, this has welfare as well as economic implications.

Below: Muntjac shot near Avoca, Co. Wicklow in 2007. © Photograph by John Griffin.

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