The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has announced that application forms and guidance notes for the 2022/2023 deer hunting season are now available on the NPWS website at www.npws.ie.
This season will see the introduction of mandatory certification training for first time hunters. The Department through NPWS has been committed to the introduction of this certification training and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D., said:
“I am delighted that we have now introduced mandatory certification training for first time hunters. This is a vital addition to the deer hunting licencing process and I know these training courses will be delivered to a high and professional standard. The addition of this certification will further enhance safety throughout the countryside and ensure first time hunters are provided with essential knowledge in deer stalking.”
Currently there are three courses approved by the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage through NPWS. The Deer Alliance Hunter Competence Assessment Programme (HCAP); Country Sports Ireland’s Deer Stalking Training Course and NARGC’s Deer Stalking Certificate and links to the relevant courses can be found on www.npws.ie or through the outlets’ own websites. Further courses may be approved by the Department as they become available.
The Department continues to modernise the deer hunting licencing process with the introduction of mandatory certification training and work is in train on the development of an eLicencing application system.
Despite the challenges of the past two years, the Department strived to ensure all applications were dealt with in a timely manner and last season, for the first time, over 6,000 licences were issued.
Under the Wildlife Acts, annual licences are required to hunt deer during the Open Season, which is the period during which deer can be legally shot. The Open Season for deer operates generally from 1 September in a given year to 28 February the following year, depending on the species and gender of deer. Over 6,000 deer hunting licences were issued last season.