Fallow Deer - Dama dama / Red Deer - Cervus elaphus / Sika Deer - Cervus nippon / Muntjac Deer - Muntiacus reevesi

Deer Crimes

Wild Deer are protected by law in the Republic of Ireland under the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012.

Unless authorised to do so under a valid licence or permission granted by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012 it is unlawful to:-

  • Hunt wild deer
  • Shoot wild deer with firearms and ammunition other than a type authorised for that purpose (See Wildlife Act,1976 (Firearms and Ammunition) Regulations, 1977)
  • Course (pursue/chase) wild deer with dogs
  • Enter on lands with a firearm or other hunting equipment for the purpose of hunting wild deer without the permission of the owner/occupier of the land
  • Hunt red deer in County Kerry
  • Hunt or disturb for the purpose of hunting a wild deer by means of mechanically-propelled vehicle, whether it is being so propelled or is stationary
  • Hunt a wild deer at any time during any period beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise
  • Hunt a wild deer using any lamp, light, torch, mirror or other artificial light reflecting or dazzling device or appliance
  • Hunt a wild deer using any device for illuminating, image intensifying or heat seeking a target or any device for night shooting
  • Hunt any (wild or captive) deer with two or more dogs (Except by a person on foot under and in accordance with a licence granted under section 29 or a permission granted under section 42 of the Wildlife Act,1976)
  • Be in possession of a wild deer, whether alive or dead
  • Sell, keep for sale, offer for sale, purchase for resale or engage in taxidermy in respect of a wild deer whether alive or dead, or any venison or other parts, products or derivatives thereof
  • Deliberately introduce any non-native animal species into the wild (e.g. Muntjac or Chinese water deer)

A few examples of licences or permission which may be applied for under Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012:

Section 29 Licence to hunt wild deer with firearms under and in accordance with the Wildlife (Wild Mammals) (Open Seasons) Orders 2005 to 2012 allows wild deer species to be hunted at certain times of the year.

Section 42 Permission to stop serious damage to crops, forestry, livestock, etc by protected wild animals can be applied for by the owner or occupier of property to scare, capture or kill any protected wild animal as he thinks appropriate to stop the damage. (e.g. damage to crops or a forest plantation by wild deer)

Section 23(6) Licence to keep an injured or disabled wild animal with the purpose of rehabilitating it for release back into the wild.

Wildlife Act, 1976 (Firearms and Ammunition) Regulations, 1977
These regulations specify the ONLY type and ONLY calibre of firearms and ammunition which may be used to shoot deer species:
Firearms – Centre-fire rifles of not less than ·22 calibre with a muzzle energy of not less than 1,700 foot pounds.
Ammunition – Any bullet for use in such rifles, weighing not less than 55 grains.


Carted stag hunting was made illegal in June 2010
Carted stag hunting; the practice of taking a captive-bred, de-antlered red deer in a trailer to a location for a hunt, releasing the farm reared animal into open countryside and pursuing it on horseback with a pack of hounds before recapturing it for use in subsequent hunts.

Recording evidence at the Crime Scene

Assessing whether a criminal offence has taken place may not always be straight forward and other possibilities such as natural deaths, predation and legal hunting should be considered.

If you come across a wildlife crime scene or a dead bird or object that may be related to a wildlife crime, every piece of information is – or might be – important, but it needs to be recorded properly and accurately for the authorities to have a chance of prosecuting an offender.

Reporting a deer crime

To report suspected illegal deer activity contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service
Tel: 01-888 3242 or LoCall 1890 383 000

For a pdf of contact numbers for your local NPWS Conservation Ranger click HERE

If you can’t reach NPWS personnel call An Garda Síochána:

If the crime is in progress or about to happen, or if the offender is still at the scene or has just left call 999 or 112

If the event is finished then either call your local Garda Station (Garda Stations Directory) or the Garda Confidential Telephone Number 1800 666 111

[Although it will assist the NPWS and Gardaí if you provide as much information as possible, you do not have to give your name if you ring to report an incident.]

If the deer is alive and is injured, also call a wildlife rehabilitator/vet from the contacts page of Irish Wildlife Matters Irish Wildlife Matters
If you witness any crime involving a deer, also contact Irish Deer Commission

For more information on reporting and how to follow up on a reported crime click HERE