Control of roaming deer is up to farmers - Department

Department response says farmers have options in controlling deer

Sinead Kelleher

The Department of Culture and Heritage has this week said that they are not responsible for controlling red deer following calls from farmers in south Kerry last week for help.

In response to farmers concerns about roaming red deer damaging property and eating their grass, the Department told The Kerryman they do not own the deer and that is up to the farmers to control any deer on their own lands.

"The Department does not own the deer population and that deer, albeit larger, are like other wild animals in this country. It is not the remit of the Department to 'control' numbers of wild animals in general. It is also not part of the remit of the Department, nor indeed would it be generally possible, to cordon deer onto specific areas of land and stop them roaming," a Department statement explained. 

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) who manage Killarney National Park, which is where the deer are coming from, come under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture.

The NPWS have carried out a cull this year on red deer in the park and will continue to do so but farmers are responsible for their own lands. The Department said that farmers can have a deer licence during the open season from September 1 to the end of February. 

Section 42 of the Wildlife Act allows for a license to be obtained to cull deer where necessary and the Department is processing a number of those for local farmers, they said. 

"The control of deer on private property e.g. areas around Beaufort and Tomies is the responsibility of landowners who, if they are in possession of a deer hunting licence from the Department, can hunt deer during the Open Season. Outside the Open Season they can get a Section 42 license."

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