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US hunter 'paid substantial sum' for licence to shoot rare red deer in Killarney

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland is investigating the allegations.

Red deer have been in Killarney for 6,000 years.
Red deer have been in Killarney for 6,000 years.
Image: Shutterstock/Karol Waszkiewicz

THE WILD DEER Association of Ireland (WDAI) has written to the minister over allegations that at least one US tourist paid for a licence to shoot a red deer in Co Kerry.

The association recently launched its ‘Operation Bambi’ programme in a bid to fight poaching and says it has been investigating a report of a stag being shot on 7 October on the edge of Killarney National Park.

The shooting is believed to have occurred on private land by a US hunter who believed they were acting legally. A ‘substantial fee’ was paid according to the letter to the minister.

Another stag is also believed to have been shot at a later date.

The shooting of the deer would have been outside hunting season.

Landowners are allowed apply for a section 42 licence to cull deer outside of hunting season if the deer are causing damage to their land.

WDAI, however, says that the landowner is then required to nominate a hunter from  National Parks and Wildlife Service to carry out the shooting.

“What happened in this case appears to be that the hunter was a guide  who was working with a commercial hunting company and in turn that permit was effectively sold on to an unknown American tourist who thought he was legitimately shooting a native stag,” explains WDAI spokesperson Damien Hannigan.

Hannigan adds that commercial hunting is both a big and legitimate business but that questions need to be answered in this case.

The rare red deer is a fully protected species in Ireland and there are tougher rules surrounding the granting of licences to shoot them.

There is no hunting season for red deer and the only person who may shoot the animal when a licence is granted is the person named on the permit.

“In the case of red deer in Co Kerry they are an important part of our heritage, they’ve been in existence for over 6,000 years. They’re the only herd of its kind in the world so, in effect, it’s an abuse of our national heritage to allow one of the permit to be sold on,” Hannigan says.

Hannigan also says the payment of money in this case also raises questions about the motivations behind applying for the permit in the first instance.

WDAI has written to Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys about the matter and have received an acknowledgement of the letter in return.

Read: Outrage as severed heads of deer found in Killarney bin >

Read: Deer from Kerry roaming freely in the Phoenix Park? It’s not a good idea >

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Rónán Duffy

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