‘Criminals’ targeting Kerry deer
IRISH DEER ASSOCIATION MEET KILLARNEY GARDAÍ OVER DEER DEATHS
ILLEGAL poaching of deer is at “its worst level ever” in Kerry according to the Irish Deer Associaton. The national group met with Killarney Gardaí recently to discuss serious concerns over the illegal deer poaching across the county particuarly in areas outside Killarney National Park.
PRO for the Irish Deer Association, Damien Hannigan, believes that the reason for this is two-fold.
One is increased numbers of illegal hunters seeking to shoot and sell on the meat to game dealers. The second reason is a fear among farmers that deer are spreading TB - a claim that has no truth, he said.
“TB is a huge concern for farmers and a very emotive issue but the fact of the matter is that any wildlife species is capable of contracting TB and there is no evidence that deer are spreading it,” he said. The fodder crisis has also excaberated the situation as farmers begin to ‘detest’ deer and lay blame on them.
The Irish Deer Association believes that there needs to be a meeting between all stakeholders in Kerry including farmers, foresty management and owners, hunters and conservationists.
“It is a serious issue. Deer poaching is at its worst level ever seeen and I have been involved in wildlife crime for years.”
The issue is spread across South Kerry but it is particularly prevalent outside Killarney National Park from Coolea in Cork right down to Kenmare and Tuosist and in areas in Killarney as well.
“These criminals are taking what they can get,” he said.
It is illegal to hunt sika deer in Kerry except between September 1 and February 28 with a license. There is no open season on red deer in Kerry as they are a protected species.
Both are being shot by illegal poachers but it is mainly sika deer as they are more prevalent in the county.
The Irish Deer Association is responsible for managing deer and in Kerry said their members operate with licenses and within the designated time period. He added that they log any deer culled with the authorities.
However, more and more people are turning to the illegal poaching of deer.
Damien Hannigan, secretary of the Wild Deer Association.