Minister Noonan opens applications for the 2021/2022 Deer Hunting Season and welcomes hunters back to the countryside to support sustainable deer management

Date Released: Monday, March 15, 2021

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 2021/2022 Deer Hunting Season are now available on the NPWS Website .

The NPWS is striving to ensure that all applications are dealt with in a timely manner and has put in place measures to ensure the least amount of disruption, despite the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Applications can now be emailed or posted using the appropriate application form and, similar to last season, there will be no requirement for a landowner’s signature but landowner details must be provided on the application form.

Commenting on the need for a smoother application process and welcoming hunters back to the countryside, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D., said:

“Last year was extremely challenging in terms of the administration of deer hunting licences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we have made changes to ensure a smoother process and are confident that we will be able to deal with the demand the 2021/2022 season will bring. We’ve all had our movement curtailed due to the pandemic and hunting activity last season was greatly reduced. As restrictions ease, I’d like to welcome hunters back to the countryside and encourage anyone with an interest in hunting to engage with the relevant groups. Deer populations are abundant across much of the country, and in some places can cause extensive damage to habitats, native woodlands, commercial timber forests and arable crops. For many years, I’ve been a committed vegetarian and animal rights activist. However, I also believe that responsible hunting, with the correct training, oversight, equipment and – of course – licence can reduce pressures on biodiversity and have an overall positive impact on nature by helping to manage deer populations at a sustainable level, in the absence of predators.”

Minister Noonan also reaffirmed his commitment to introducing mandatory certification training for first-time hunters:

“My Department is committed to introducing mandatory certification training for first-time hunters. It had been intended to introduce it for the 2021/22 season but unfortunately, this project, like so many others across all sectors of society, has had to be deferred due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Much work has gone on behind the scenes to put the foundations in place for this project and this requirement will be introduced once it is viable and safe to do so for all concerned, and my Department will make sure it is delivered to the highest standard possible.”

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. About 5,500 deer hunting licences are issued each season, of which in the region of 1,000 are first-time applicants.