IFA Animal Health Project Team leader John Waters has said that IFA have attempted to address the issue of the increasing deer population through the Deer Management Programme, a joint initiative with the Irish Deer Society and the Wild Deer Association.
The increasing deer population has resulted in excessive amounts of damage in certain parts of the country, which is disturbing rural activities like farming and forest management and is of growing concern to farmers.
The programme was launched in 2009 as an interim solution to alleviate ongoing deer population related problems. It established a network of regional co-ordinators to advise farmers on the most effective approach to manage deer problems, and if necessary direct them to a qualified and experienced local deerstalker.
He said, “Although the programme has been successful it was set up as an interim solution, until a more official management structure could be established. If the deer population is not managed at a national level it is inevitable that there will be increased economic and environmental implications for both the State and farmers.”
IFA Farm Forestry Chairman Pat Hennessy said that IFA have supported the proposal from the Woodlands of Ireland to establish a Deer Management Unit with adequate statutory power and budgets to develop a deer management system that is fully integrated with forest management and other land use policies.
He stressed that it is very important that an integrated Deer Management Unit is established to control the deer population, minimise the environmental damage and maximise the economic contribution to society.