Phoenix Park deer culls generate €10,000 for State coffers

OPW hires sniper to kill 225 fallow deer over past three years in herd management plan

The OPW would not disclose the fee paid to the Bray-based marksman contracted to kill the animals, as this was “commercially sensitive” data

The OPW would not disclose the fee paid to the Bray-based marksman contracted to kill the animals, as this was “commercially sensitive” data


Sales of deer culled from herds in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, have generated almost €10,000 for the State in the last three years, new records show.

The fallow deer were shot by a hired sniper and since November 2013, 225 animals have been killed.

Four culls took place between November 2015 and March 2016 to help manage the deer population in the park, and the resulting 108 deer carcasses were sold for €6,000.

Between November 2013 and January 2014, three culls were carried out, generating €3,775 for 117 deer.

Deer slaughtered from the park last spring were exported to the UK market as frozen venison, said Pat Doyle of Wild Irish Game, the specialist meat company that bought the animals from the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Mr Doyle said the well-fed deer from the park grasslands don’t suffer from the “hardship” that other wild deer endure elsewhere, and would have a greater fat content.

The OPW, which has responsibility for the Phoenix Park, said the wild deer stock there now numbers about 590. All income generated from culling goes back into central exchequer funding.

Fee paid

Records also noted that 87 other deer have died in the Phoenix Park since 2013 – mostly from road accidents, but also from natural causes.

Nearly 31,600 deer were shot dead during the open hunting season nationwide in 2014 and 2015, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

By the end of last month, 4,250 people applied for licences to kill wild deer around the country for this year’s season – which, for a number of species, spans between September 1st and the end of February.

The majority of hunters are from Ireland, but last year permits were also given to individuals from America, Denmark, Norway, Germany and England who visit on hunting tours.

The national wild deer population is estimated to be about 300,000, according to the NPWS.

It confirmed that each hunter can decide how they dispose of the carcass, but if they wish to sell it they must “adhere to various Department of Agriculture regulations”.

An OPW spokesman said that no injuries had been reported by any person who came into contact with deer in the Phoenix Park in recent years.

“However, we are aware of a stag jumping over a participant at a triathlon event in August 2016. The participant did not contact the OPW regarding this and completed the race.”