Thursday, 10 February 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
246. Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the status of licences issued by his Department to permit stag hunting; when such licences are to be renewed; and if consideration will be given to renewing such licences. [4469/05]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Roche): Under section 29(1) of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended, my Department issues licences to hunt wild deer during an open season and some 2,215 such licences were issued for the 2003 to 2004 season. The extent of the deer hunting season is reviewed annually by staff of the national parks and wildlife service of my Department. The views of a number of organisations and individuals with knowledge of Irish deer species are also taken into consideration when reviewing open season dates.
In general, the open season for stags runs from 1 September to 28 February, and that for hinds from 1 November to 31 January. There are some regional variations. For example, red deer cannot be hunted in County Kerry at any time of the year and the open season for sika and fallow females finishes on 28 February in Dublin and Wicklow. Applications for licences to hunt wild deer are considered from 1 August for the following open season.
My Department also issues an annual licence, under section 26(1) of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended, to the Ward Union Hunt Club to hunt deer with a pack of stag hounds during such period or periods as is or are specified in the licence. The Ward Union Hunt Club usually applies for a licence in September. Information on the conduct of hunts under the previous year’s licence is reviewed and taken into account in considering whether to issue a new licence and any conditions that may attach to it. The licence for the current season is valid from 15 October 2004 to 31 March 2005.
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