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Sunday 22 October 2017

Fox population to increase: Five reasons hunters are opposing night time hunting ban

The National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), who are on the panel, described the proposals as 'flawed' and said it would oppose the proposals.Stock image
The National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), who are on the panel, described the proposals as 'flawed' and said it would oppose the proposals.Stock image
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

A proposal to ban hunting at night, for seven months, currently being considered by a review group for the Department of Justice is set to be vigorously opposed by the National Association of Regional Game Councils.

The group claims to be the largest voluntary organisation in Ireland involved in game shooting and conservation.

The Association has 26,000 members in 965 Clubs spread throughout the country – one Club in almost every parish.

The proposal, which was put forward by the National Parks and Wildlife Services, wants a ban on hunting and shooting between midnight and 6am for the seven months of September to March.

The Firearms Consultative Panel of the Department of Justice and Equality is now considering the proposal, among others and stakeholders are currently being consulted. 

The National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), who are on the panel, described the proposals as 'flawed' and said it would oppose the proposals.

According to the group, the following are the implications of proposed ban on Night Time Hunting/Shooting for Gun Clubs and Predator Control:

1.     Gun club members will not be able to use their Firearms for Vermin Control for 7 months of the year.

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2.     From its experience, and talking with other gun club members from around the country 90% of foxes shot at night, are shot in the proposed curfew period.

3.     The proposal that all land owners, be informed of when you are going to be on their property and what time you will start and finish, may work for large estate’s in Britain, but these proposals shows that a total lack of understanding of gun clubs and their interaction with farm owners in Ireland. Farm owners give permission for gun club members to shoot over their land, which very much includes predator control at night. On a typical traditional nights predator control (lamping) gun club members may cover an area of a 100 or more farms. Foxes when encountered may cross numerous boundaries before a safe shot can be taken. The proposal that these farmers should be notified for every visit stating when you are going to on their property and for how long, even though they have already given permission for you to shoot over their land is totally unworkable.

4.     Gun club members involved in predator control at night are the eyes of the community on the long dark nights of winter, and supply An Garda with a vast amount of information on various illegal activities they encounter. By imposing this ban we are given free range to those involved in these activities.

5.     By imposing this ban, fox numbers will increase to the detriment of ground resting birds, or wild pheasants, grouse, our grey partridge from our grey partridge projects, our wild ducks and geese, red listed birds such as woodcock, curlew, hen harrier, corn crake and all other ground nesting birds including snipe, skylark, meadow pipit, water rail etc. etc. are all going to come under increased pressure from predation by foxes at a time when these birds numbers are at an all-time low, and at a time when we the tax payer are paying millions through GLAS schemes for farmers and through funding to the NPWS to protect them. Farm animals such as lambs and domestic poultry are going to be seriously impacted by the increase in fox numbers.

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