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Post details Post   (Expand pics)
wicklore
2009-11-10 16:45:42
"The Slieve Blooms don
The Slieve Blooms don't offer many hiding places from hunters! (Expand pics)
Re: A different reason you can't go up a hill
I rang Coillte and asked them about the shooting notices that MV members are talking about. The lady I spoke to explained that hunters who have been granted permission to hunt on Coillte land are given these warning signs which they must put up when they are hunting. She said that there was no way to predict when or where the hunters might choose to hunt, as, like walkers, they might only make up their mind on a Sunday morning where they will go.

The lady suggested that if a group is planning to walk on Coillte land that they could ring Coillte in advance. Coillte could then contact the hunters who have permission to hunt in that area and ask if they intend to hunt on the day in question. This seems to be a laborious process, and even if hunters say they wont hunt there is nothing stopping them changing their minds at the last minute.

I next spoke to a friend who has links to a licensed hunter in Wicklow. I got some more information that may be useful to hillwalkers. Apparently the process for obtaining hunting licences is changing and becoming much stricter. Hunters can now get a three year licence as opposed to the old annual licence. However they must undergo medicals, pass training courses and explain to the local Garda Superintendant in person why they should get a licence. The process is designed to give out less licences, and to ensure properly qualified and experienced hunters get the licences.

My friend also told me that there are many restriction placed on hunters. For example a generic deer hunting licence will usually state that they are not supposed to hunt after a prescribed time like 11am. Also they must hang up the warning signs at all entrances to the Coillte lands on which they are hunting.

Finally I spoke to another chap at Coillte who said that the incidence of unauthorised firearms use on their land (AKA poaching) was increasing and Coillte would be anxious to get reports of this. He also told me that hunters dont get permission to shoot near high amenity areas, or near the national way marked trails such as the Wicklow Way

So what does it all mean? Well hunting season is from September to the end of February. Be aware that hunters are out there looking for game and deer. Not all of them are licensed or good shots. And be prepared to change your walking plans at short notice if your intended route is blocked by one of those warning signs. (Also be prepared to duck and hide)
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