Hunter Competence Assessment Programme (HCAP)

At a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the National Association Regional Game Councils (NARGC), held on the 16th November 2017 the new requirement for a HCAP prior to issuing a license was discussed and debated.

The NARGC is aware of the new mandatory requirement for Deer Stalkers to have HCAP or equivalent course in 2017.  There is a growing concern that the new mandatory requirement which has been brought to have a HCAP prior to issuing a deer hunting license is draconian, and this will not benefit to any extent the members affiliated to the NARGC or Deer Stalkers.

We are disturbed that there was no consultation that we the NARGC were aware of and have had this requirement forced upon us.  The introduction of a HCAP without consultation with the relevant shooting bodies, does not ensure a diligent critique to see if the course is fit for purpose.

We have read with concern the press release which places the Deer Alliance at the centre of what is a commercial venture, with no viable alternatives open to a member, it is the equivalent of having one company providing driving instructions for the whole of Ireland.

The arguments for HCAP we believe may not be valid, and it will not improve health and safety.   Answering 30 multi choice questions and attending a range test does not mean that the hunter is competent.   It means he has been able to regurgitate spoon fed knowledge and sat in an artificial environment where he placed shots into a target.

Having completed HCAP with a number of fellow hunters, the most truthful statement that came from our conversations, was it was a test of memory rather then a test of ones knowledge or skill.

We wish to assure all that we have been in contact with NPWS and anticipate an early meeting.

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