Episode 19: Irish Deer Commission with Damien Hannigan


This episode is a deer season opener special! The 1st of September is approaching fast and it marks the beginning of deer hunting season in Ireland. My guest on the podcast is the Public Relations Officer for Irish Deer Commission, Damien Hannigan. We discuss deer conservation in Ireland, the position of various stakeholders on deer management, wildlife crime and many other deer related issues. It is a must-listen for all deer hunters and stalkers. Also, don’t forget to email info@irishdeercommission.ie to book your place on the Rut Walk in Killarney National Park, taking place on the 14th of October. The event is free of charge but places are limited, so make sure to book early.

Episode 18: Munster Drone Services with Shane and Chris


Once again we are pushing the boundary of what we mean by the outdoors. Without a doubt piloting drones is an outdoors activity. So in this episode our guests are two pilots from Munster Drone Services, fully licensed providers of professional drone aerial works. While listening you can learn about various types of drones, regulations related to flying drones and the many ways that a drone can be used. Spoiler alert, it’s not only photography, as it turns out drones are quite useful tools for farmers. Furthermore, we discuss the types of drones and how to get started and become a drone pilot.
You can get in touch with Munster Drone Services on 087 604 1469 / 087 940 1232

Sportsmen and Ecologists

While recording episodes of the podcast I get to meet and speak with people involved in the outdoors. Most of them are interested in the use and preservation of the natural environment. Among those people two distinct groups stand out the most: sportsmen, most often represented by hunters and anglers, and ecologists as in conservationists and environmentalists. In theory, they should represent one consistent front for protection of the natural environment. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Oftentimes representatives of these groups are involved in a counterproductive confrontation with each other. So, let’s dive into this issue and try to understand some of the reasons why this is happening.

For starters, let’s look at the common ground they share. Genuine ecologists are usually research scientists or employees of governmental or non-governmental bodies involved in the protection and management of natural resources. Of course we all know there are self proclaimed, shouty types, but I’m not going to talk about them here. Whenever I have an opportunity to talk to environmentalists I always ask the question, “Do you see sportsmen as allies in the efforts to protect the environment or as adversaries?” Based on the responses so far, I gather that sportsmen are mostly recognized as important stakeholders. Ecologists also recognize that they are an invaluable source of information about the state of the environment. It is because hunters and anglers spent lots of time in the outdoors and have an opportunity to observe nature and the changes it undergoes over time. They are often referred to as the boots on the ground.

Sportsmen also recognize the important role of ecologists as a source of information about wildlife and the environment. They also recognize that ecologists work to protect the resources they interact with. Wild game and fish. And here is where the tension starts. Ecologists often feel that sportsmen repeatedly engage in practices aimed mainly at their own interest, to the detriment of conservation. For example, when engaging in catch and release, they place more importance on taking a trophy photo with the fish over promptly releasing it back to the water. On the flip side, on many occasions sportsmen consider some of the regulations as limiting their activities unnecessarily.

It is not my intention to judge which side is right. Each case is different and everybody makes mistakes. Unfortunately, as the result of these tensions, the opportunity to create a combined, strong and environmentally minded front is lost. Sportsmen are often reluctant to engage in conservation initiatives worried that their interest won’t be recognized and they will find themselves on the wrong side of the equation. On the other hand, ecologists are reluctant to reach out to sportsmen for support, being afraid of a backlash.

It is my strong belief that true hunters and anglers are also environmentalists and conservationists. It is in their own interest, after all, that the waters are full of fish and the woods are full of wild game. In fact, there are many people who belong to both groups. It is not unheard of for a game and wildlife officer to also be an avid hunter or angler. These days, the natural environment is under more pressure from human activity than ever before. Only combined efforts to protect it can be successful. Sportsmen, ecologists, environmentalists and anybody else to whom nature is dear, should pull together. They should bury the discord about the way they intend to use it, and work together to protect it. Otherwise there will be nothing left to use anyway.

Episode 17: Sea Synergy with Eleanor Turner


This episode is for all of you who love the sea and especially the coast. My guest, Eleanor Turner works at Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre in Waterville, whose mission is: “To create meaningful experiences in nature for individuals or groups tailored to their needs that enable them to discover the rich diversity of Ireland’s environment and Wild Atlantic Way in a fun and memorable way.” Sounds like the outdoors to me!
In this episode we talk about various species of fish, sharks, rays and marine mammals as well as some conservation issues like overfishing and microplastics. In addition, we discuss some activities which can be experienced on the Irish coast. Let’s just say that an underwater safari is one of them! This is a very informative episode in which Ellie shares a ton of great and interesting knowledge.

Interview for GCR Digital Radio


This week, instead of the usual blog post I would like to share with all my listeners and subscribers an interview I gave two months ago. I was interviewed by Ben Kelly from the Wicklow Hour tweetchat for GCR Digital Radio. During our chat, I had an opportunity to talk about Tommy’s Outdoors podcast. I answered several questions ranging from how it all got started to who can be my guest. We also briefly touched on some topics that were discussed in previous episodes of the podcast.