Update – Deer Management on Coillte Teo Property during Covid-19
There has been some confusion regarding a circular issued by Coillte Teo in recent days. Today, the Irish Deer Commission held discussions with Coillte Teo regarding the circular which highlighted that “Coillte protects its forests crops from grazing damage, through issuance of deer hunting licences to qualified hunters.” Furthermore, the circular stated “this is an essential aspect of our forest management cycle and one which can only be undertaken in the Autumn/ Winter period during the hunting season.”
Coillte confirmed that while the circular has been issued in recent days, this is no longer their current position nor was it ever their intention to take responsibility to reclassify deer management as an essential service under the Covid-19 guidelines. Their advice is that hunters licensed to hunt deer on Coillte property SHOULD NOT TRAVEL or undertake deer hunting on their property, in line with current Covid-19 guidelines and not travel beyond 5km for any non-essential activities.
Coillte support our position that deer management should be listed as an essential service to ensure licensed deer hunters can continue to work with farming and forestry to protect crops, and the wider ecosystem.
We also discussed those who cannot exercise deer stalking rights under their Coillte licence due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Coillte Teo have agreed to review each case on a case by case basis and ask impacted licence holders to contact their Coillte BAU Administrator.
Coillte Teo will issue a revised circular later today (see below).
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Irish Deer Commission
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Updated Coillte Statement
The following is the company’s position on hunting on Coillte lands given the move to Level 5 on the National Framework for Living with Covid-19:
It is a function of Government, not Coillte, to decide what an “Essential Service” is, and stalking/hunting is not included in the published list of essential services.
The country is currently at Level 5 of the Governments Framework for Living with COVID, which includes a direction to “Stay at Home” and not travel beyond 5km for any non-essential activities.
Given the contribution that everyone is being asked to make to control the spread of Covid-19, we do not believe it is appropriate to direct hunters to travel outside the 5km travel restrictions currently in place.