The publication of a new report on managing Ireland’s deer population represents progress, but its recommendations should be implemented in the new year, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) animal health chair TJ Maher has said.
The growing deer population is a considerable problem, said Maher, and the report published by the Irish Deer Management Strategy Group (IDMSG) acknowledges critical deer areas around the country.
“The report recognises that deer densities in Wicklow, in particular, but also in parts of Tipperary, Galway, Waterford and Donegal are above a sustainable level and that the wild deer are highly damaging to their surrounding environment.
“It is widely accepted that deer numbers have risen significantly in recent years, exacerbated by the reduction in hunting and deer management during the COVID pandemic,” said Maher.
There are significant impacts on farming due to the growing deer population, said Maher.
“The overpopulation of wild deer has impacted farming, forestry, biodiversity, not to mention the role of wild deer in circulating TB among the bovine herd.
“All of this has resulted in significant financial strain and stress for farmers and landowners,” he said.