The use of lead shot in guns within 100m of wetlands has been banned since 16 February 2023.
However, the locations of these wetlands has yet to be published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
The Irish Farmers Journal understands that a map of these wetlands was due to be published in October. However, as of this week, no maps had been issued.
“The [NPWS] has created an online map viewer of wetland habitats subject to the new restrictions on the use of lead gunshot in and around wetlands.
“The map will be published shortly on the NPWS website in conjunction with national advertisements,” a spokesperson for the Department of Housing told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Of the 220,000 or so licenced firearms in Ireland, around 100,000 of those are held by individuals (not sports/game shooters), most of which would be farmers and landowners, vice-chair of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) Dan Curley said.
He said that the lack of a map of the wetlands has caused confusion among the gun holders and that no clear guidance was issued on the matter.
“We suggested the main waterbodies as wetlands, but the NPWS wouldn’t agree to that,” he said.
The ban on lead shot will make a “lot of guns defunct”, Curley said, adding that steel shot is the main alternative. However, this isn’t compatible with the majority of guns held in Ireland.
“Most of the guns held in Ireland are owned by farmers,” Curley explained, adding that the choke at the top of these barrels is three quarters or full choke.
“You can’t shoot steel unless you have a half choke,” he said, meaning that the barrel will be too tight for the steel. He said that the general condition of some guns may not be able to take the pressure.
Curley also said that proofing a gun, to see if a lead shot gun can take the pressure of steel shot, has shot up in price since Brexit.
“There’s no proofing here in Ireland. The nearest place is Birmingham. The test costs around £40/barrel.
"The problem is with Brexit, now you need a special courier and, technically, you are exporting and importing a gun. To send a gun from Ireland now, it’s around €400 minimum and the gun mightn’t be worth €200,” he said.