Farmers should be allowed to shoot deer on their own lands, but only where deer are causing a menace to farmers, according to Cavan Fine Gael Councillor Winston Bennett.

The range of problems associated with deer, including the spread of TB, was brought up at a recent Cavan County Council meeting, where Bennett was speaking.

"Where deer are causing a menace to farmers on their own lands, like when a dog is worrying sheep, they should be allowed to be shot," he told Agriland.

Under the law, deer can only be hunted in Ireland with a licence and the penalties for hunting deer without a licence can include fines and/or imprisonment, or both.

In 2015, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht issued over 4,600 deer hunting licences in 2015.

To date this year, the Department has received almost 1,400 deer hunting applications.

Deer hunters have been encouraged by the Department to submit their applications early in order to ensure that their annual licences are processed and issued before the commencement of the deer hunting season on September 1.

What do you think - Should farmers without a licence be allowed to shoot deer that encroach on their lands and cause problems for farmers?

[poll id="59"]

Earlier this year, a report on Bovine TB by the Department of Agriculture found that incidences of TB in cattle herds last year fell on 2014 levels.

In 2015, there were 15,317 reactor cattle, down 828 head on 2014.

The highest number of reactor cattle was in Co. Clare with 1,383, followed by Co. Wicklow with a total of 1,184 reactors and Cork South with 1,127.

The lowest number of reactor cattle in 2015 was in Co. Dublin with 63 reactors, followed by Co. Louth with 120 reactors and Co. Kildare which had 138.

TB reactors map