Thursday, 11 November 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
255. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the concerns by an organisation (details supplied) on matters relating to the issuing of licences to cull deer outside of the designated open season, under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts; the steps he will put in place to ensure proper deer management and supervision during the season; if he will address the problem of trophy hunting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42173/10]
258. Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on the reduced numbers for female red deer arising from changes made in the licensing regime under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42210/10]
Deer may only be hunted under licence by my Department. The open season for most deer species, including Red, Fallow and Sika, operates annually from 1 September to 28 February, depending on the gender and age of deer. The hunting of red male deer is prohibited in the county of Kerry during the open season and these deer can only be hunted under a permission issued under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts.
The Kerry red deer population is regarded as of national significance because of the likelihood that they may be descended from native populations of red deer, whereas other red deer herds in the country are known to be from introduced stock. The Kerry red deer population is considered to be in good status.
The control of deer is primarily a matter for the land owner; proper deer management requires controlling the numbers of both male and female deer. Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts offers a facility whereby a person can obtain permission, on a case by case basis, to prevent serious damage caused by individual deer or groups of deer on specific lands, and permissions are only issued where there is evidence of such damage. Should such damage be caused by male deer, it would be appropriate to allow a number of stags to be removed from the herd involved.
My Department is actively taking measures to combat deer poaching around the country. I understand that the organisation in question has a particular concern that the Section 42 permissions issued for red male deer in county Kerry are been used to encourage trophy hunting. My Department will arrange to meet with the organisation in the next few weeks to discuss this issue and other matters raised in its letter.
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