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The past couple of years had seen significant developments for the future of game shooting in Ireland culminating this year in the removal of the Curlew from the quarry list. While it was accepted that the numbers of native Curlew had dwindled, it was totally unacceptable that certain parties had once again placed the onus on the Irish Game Hunter, rather than addressing the causes of this decline viz. Land Reclamation, Habitat Loss etc.
Another area of concern to hunters and dog owners was the introduction of mandatory micro chipping. This was scheduled to be rolled out next year and might well be another layer of bureaucracy designed like the hike in the gun licence fee to limit by stealth the number of hunting dogs in the country. Since the famous Countryside March in the UK, Governments on both sides of the Irish Sea had learned a valuable lesson. That lesson had been that rather than alienating vast swathes of society bringing large crowds marching onto the streets, in future, things would be done by stealth.
In relation to the Curlew, a sister organisation -The Irish Red Grouse Association- had conducted a nationwide Spring/Summer survey using volunteers and had found 2750 resident Curlew in 2012. Dr. Douglas Butler stated that the number of wintering Curlew was in the region of 75000, and bearing in mind that the shooting season to the best of his knowledge, was still during winter, even if a small number of Curlew were accidentally shot, the ‘natives’ amongst the 75000 would have to count themselves very unlucky indeed. He very much doubted if any sportsman could even be bothered shooting a Curlew since they were very unpalatable and in this regard, he supported the stance of Countryside Alliance Ireland in calling for a voluntary ban on shooting.
The Irish shooting community must never again allow the terms governing our sport to be set by those with an anti hunting agenda using fictitious figures for their own purposes.
In the coming months, The Irish Association for Game Hunting and Conservation will be issuing its members with Bag Return Forms and also Species Count Sheets for Teal, Snipe and Woodcock. It is impossible to overstate the importance of these species counts in relation to combating figures our adversaries might produce against us.
In this regard, I.A.G.H.C. also hoped to enlist the assistance of all game hunters willing to participate in the surveys and in so doing, they would help safeguard their sport into the future.
Membership was set at €5 with valid insurance for 2013-14.
Officers elected were as follows:
Chairman, Douglas Butler,
Vice Chair, Mary O’Regan,
Hon Sec. Seamus Butler,
Treasurer, Niall Fagan,
Safety, Pat O’Sullivan,
PRO, John Bourke,
Game development, Walter Phelan
Research, Rupert Butler,
Political Affairs, Anthony O’Halloran.
Membership Communications, Ken Morbin
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