Comments on my recent deer management article, from the Wild Deer Association of Ireland
I posted a link to my article on deer management in Ireland on the Wild Deer Association of Ireland facebook page and they had the following comments, to which I also posted a reply.
There are some things we disagree about. The increases in harvest numbers since the 1990s was associated with the spread through the country as reported by Carden et al., so it’s unlikely they were due primarily to the increase in hunters – though of course, if there are deer in new areas there are new areas to hunt and more hunters. The hunters are (were) not cleaning out deer populations and deer were still spreading. As many have reported when describing the poaching problem, there were deer in their areas a couple of years ago. The number of deer hunters in areas with deer over decades can’t have increased that much – there are only so many hunters in a syndicate that can be accommodated on a piece of land, regardless of how many deer there are. The numbers increased over the last decade and more, simple as that. Now… the last two or so years does seem to have shown a decrease, or at least a leveling off. I’ve said that. The reduction in section 42s is a good thing, as it shows that there are fewer problems now with a stopping of the population increases and that the requests for them were not just spurious attempts to extend the hunting season. How we got that halt to the previous increases is also discussed. The fact that the national cull is reducing is not, in my opinion, a problem. It is a good thing for deer and all deer enthusiasts in the long run. I don’t want it to happen because of poaching, though. Nor does anyone else. Andrew Doyle TD was quoted to show someone in the Dail seeing deer numbers as a concern. He doesn’t know the deer numbers, nobody does. But in some areas they are too high. I recall a forester saying on this webpage that he knew the deer numbers had been reduced by poaching recently because he used to see lots of damage. 1% nationally does not mean no problem hotspots, which give deer (and their managers) a bad name. That’s my point here. We can agree to disagree but when someone who doesn’t care about deer comes in and starts telling us that deer need to be sorted out because there hasn’t been sufficient control, then we have let deer and ourselves down