“My department grants some 5,000 licences annually to hunt deer during the open season, which is the period during which deer can be legally shot under licence,” the UK’s Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan told Agriland.ie. Let’s run some numbers!
statista.com reports that 16.9 million Americans went deer hunting in 2017, out of a U.S. population of 321.1 million. I make that roughly five percent. If 5k Brits out of a total population of 65,640,000 actually went deer hunting, that’s a mere .07 percent.
That stat may have something to do with the number of deer in the UK and the size of available hunting land. But here’s another variable: the difficulty in obtaining one of those deer hunting licences. Which is about to get even harder . . .
First-time applicants for deer hunting licences may have to undergo appropriate training and a certification process in the future, according to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan.
The need to ensure that the most appropriate training and certification process would ultimately be implemented having regard for the most up-to-date safety, conservation and hunting considerations – as well as taking account of both local and international best practice – would have to be considered, the minister explained.
They may as well add a psychological aspect to their certification so the would-be hunters can properly mentally prepare the deer for death. Their own death that is..
An Irish Deer Management Forum was established to implement the various actions listed in the report.
Irish deer? Are they green and drink Guinness?
The forum itself comprises of representatives from the main stakeholder areas, including: landowners; forestry; hunting and conservation organisations; as well as representatives from both departments, Minister Madigan explained.
The forum has issued a number of recommendations, including a recommendation that mandatory certification of deer hunters should be introduced on a phased basis over a five-year period from January 1, 2018, for existing licensed deer hunters and that new deer hunters should have the required certification from January 1, 2018.
Educating first time hunters isn’t a bad idea. However, mandatory training dissuades first-time hunters from engaging in the sport. I bet the Brits consider that a feature not a bug.