Deer management units should be established in “hot spot” areas around the country in the next nine months to control the deer population, a new report from the Irish deer management strategy group (IDMSG) has recommended.
This should be done following on from localised stakeholder meetings, the report outlined.
It said a programme manager should be appointed to set up the deer management units, for which there would be local co-ordinators.
The programme manager would also be tasked with developing an implementation plan in relation to managing the country’s wild deer population.
The feasibility of establishing a deer management agency should be researched and assessed, the report indicated.
Entitled Final Report into Developing a Sustainable Deer Management Strategy for Ireland, it outlined short-term (nine months) and medium-term recommendations from a subcommittee.
It was advised in the next nine months that the deer open seasons order should be revised to align with the current dates in Northern Ireland.
In the short term, it also recommended that incentives for the management of deer should be investigated, including how venison markets can be utilised.
On legislation, a review of changes to statutory instruments and current legislation should be undertaken in the next nine months, the report outlined.
It recommended that changes should be secured following a review of the Wildlife Act and other deer-related legislation.
Processes relating to Section 42 licence applications under the Wildlife Act should be reviewed to ensure consistency.
This licence allows authorised people to stop protected animals causing damage.
Phased certification for all hunters over the next three to five years was recommended, as well as the introduction of a deer management module in agricultural, forestry, land management and environmental training courses.
The impacts of the proposed implementation plan on biodiversity, forestry, farming and road safety should be monitored, as well as developing a structured deer management policy for State lands.
A review of forest designs and scheme specifications in relation to deer management was recommended.