Wanted: Deer Hunters
Road users and wood owners at risk as populations spin out of control
If you live in Co Wicklow, you will have noticed, perhaps to your cost, that deer have become a major hazard on the roads there.
Wicklow is not alone, however, and deer numbers are increasing rapidly throughout the country wherever there are wooded areas.
This is a serious issue and while we do not yet have proper figures for Ireland, according to records from Britain, up to 74,000 deer may be involved in traffic accidents there annually.
In many counties in Ireland, in addition to posing a risk to road users, deer are causing serious harm to agricultural and horticultural crops and domestic gardens.
The damage they cause to woodland has already been well documented and has been estimated to be as high as €3,800/ha in some of the worst affected areas.
At the recent launch of a report commissioned by the Wicklow Deer Management Group, it was stated that, because deer have no natural predators, their populations have expanded well beyond sustainable levels and they are now at the top of the 'wild' food chain.
However, if managed properly they can be a valuable resource. Venison is in great demand and the income generated from sporting interests can be considerable.