A deer, illegally killed by a hunter in Mayo, was discovered after a Garda pulled over a Volkswagen van and noticed blood seeping from it. Noel McAndrew of Muingnalee, Porturlin pleaded guilty to killing the protected deer, the unauthorised possession of a firearm, hunting a wild animal without a licence and the possession of a protected animal. His actions were described at a sitting of Achill District Court as ‘utterly despicable’. More details in the Mayo News report below…
Erris man admits killing ‘proud’ and ‘handsome’ red deer
Mayo News, 17 May 2016
“Why would your client kill such a fine animal?” was Judge Mary Devins’s reaction after hearing how an Erris man fatally shot a protected red deer close to the National Park in Ballycroy.
Noel McAndrew of Muingnalee, Porturlin pleaded guilty to killing the deer which is a protected animal, the unauthorised possession of a firearm, hunting a wild animal without a licence and the possession of a protected animal.
His actions which took place in Srahnamonragh, Ballycroy in the early hours of July 25, 2015 were described as ‘utterly despicable’.
The deer which was described as a ‘proud handsome animal’ was killed by Mr McAndrew when a lamp was shone on it. He killed with a clean shot to the head. The deer was on private lands adjacent to the National Park in Ballycroy and Mr McAndrew was at the side of the N59 when the shot was fired.
Mr Michael Bohan, solicitor for Mr McAndrew and his two co-accused – Patrick Calpin and Patrick McAndrew both of of Porturlin – said his clients all admitted going to Ballycroy to kill a deer but denied that they had done it before. Mr Calpin and Patrick McAndrew pleaded guilty to possession of the deer.
Last week’s sitting of Achill District Court heard that the three men were detected by Garda Seán McHale with the dead deer in the back of a Volkswagan Transporter at 3.10am.
Garda McHale explained he was travelling along the N59 when he saw a van acting in a suspicious manner and performed a u-turn on the road. He pulled the van over and spoke to the three occupants and noticed the barrel of the gun in the front.
When asked why he had the gun Noel McAndrew said it was to shoot foxes but Garda McHale noted he was 35 miles from his home.
Blood seeping from van
Judge Devins heard that when they noticed blood seeping from the van, Garda McHale searched the vehicle and found the dead stag. He cautioned Mr McAndrew who admitted shooting and fatally wounding the deer. Garda McHale seized the deer along with the gun and ammunition.
The .22 rifle used to kill the deer was deemed inappropriate for deer hunting and should only be used for killing vermin which the rifle was licenced for. When asked by Judge Devins if the defendant had the correct firearm, would it have been lawful, Garda McHale said the defendant also needed a licence to hunt and during a certain time of the year.
Mr Bohan said his clients went to kill the animal to eat the meat and explained venison can be frozen and refrozen and still be okay to eat.
In his evidence, Noel McAndrew said he accepted what he did was wrong and explained they shone a lamp into a field from the side of the road and fired a shot. He said he suspected someone was coming so they put the deer in the van and hoped the gardaí would pass by.
Mr McAndrew said he was adamant he never shot a deer before and when asked by Judge Devins how he managed to kill the deer first time, he said he had shot rabbits and foxes before.
Mr Bohan said his clients were genuinely remorseful for what they did and had a sum of €500 each to donate to a charity the court saw fit.
Judge Devins accepted they had faced the charges fairly and pleaded at the first opportunity and agreed to adjourn sentencing until July 14 in order to decide the appropriate recipient of the money.