Implications of proposed ban on Night Time Hunting/Shooting for Gun Clubs and Predator Control:
1. Gun club members will not be able to use their Firearms for Vermin Control for 7 months of the year.
2. From my own experience, and talking with other gun club members from around the country 90% of foxes shot at night, are shot in the proposed curfew period.
3. The proposal that all land owners, be informed of when you are going to be on their property and what time you will start and finish, may work for large estate’s in Britain, but these proposals shows that a total lack of understanding of gun clubs and their interaction with farm owners in Ireland. Farm owners give permission for gun club members to shoot over their land, which very much includes predator control at night. On a typical traditional nights predator control (lamping) gun club members may cover an area of a 100 or more farms. Foxes when encountered may cross numerous boundaries before a safe shot can be taken. The proposal that these farmers should be notified for every visit stating when you are going to on their property and for how long, even though they have already given permission for you to shoot over their land is totally unworkable.
4. Gun club members involved in predator control at night are the eyes of the community on the long dark nights of winter, and supply An Garda with a vast amount of information on various illegal activities they encounter. By imposing this ban we are given free range to those involved in these activities.
5. By imposing this ban, fox numbers will increase to the detriment of ground resting birds, or wild pheasants, grouse, our grey partridge from our grey partridge projects, our wild ducks and geese, red listed birds such as woodcock, curlew, hen harrier, corn crake and all other ground nesting birds including snipe, skylark, meadow pipit, water rail etc. etc. are all going to come under increased pressure from predation by foxes at a time when these birds numbers are at an all-time low, and at a time when we the tax payer are paying millions through glas schemes for farmers and through funding to the NPWS to protect them. Farm animals such as lambs and domestic poultry are going to be seriously impacted by the increase in fox numbers.
6. In summary, shooting at night is a safe and effective way of predator control; it has been carried out by gun clubs in conjunction with the farmers whose lands they shoot over for the past fifty years or more. Through knowledge handed down and through proficiency courses run by the NARGC gun club members carry out predator control at night in a legal, safe and effective way. In my opinion these proposals have to be rejected at all costs, and it is incumbent on all our members to do what they can to help in this fight. The petition organised by the NARGC should be taken to all farm owners in your gun club are to be signed, and to all other people in your community who will be affected by these proposals. It is only by a concerted effort by all our members can we hope to get these proposals rejected.
Yours in sport,
PREDATOR CONTROL OFFICER