Farmers in the Boho area have raised concerns about the presence of wild deer and their impact on rural life.

Those living in the area have been dealing with a wide range of issues such as deer and potentially other animals breaking down fences, the trampling of drains and the fear that disease may be spread.

There have been claims by one farmer – who wished to remain annoymous – that the herd has grown in recent years and is a worry in the area for public safety, especially road safety.

The Impartial Reporter raised some queries about the animals’ presence in the area to DAERA, and asked who is responsible for the deer.

In response, DAERA confirmed the presence of wild deer in the area. A spokesperson said: “There are no registered deer herds in forests in the vicinity of Boho; however, wild deer are present and transient throughout West Fermanagh, including through the nearby forests of Belmore, Ballintempo and Sillees forest blocks.”

The spokesperson continued: “These deer are classed as wild animals and managing the impacts caused by wild deer is the responsibility of affected landowners, including Forest Service for its estate.

“The sporting rights for these forests are owned by third parties.”

Some in the area believe that not enough is being done to control the herd and its impact, particularly by the Forest Service.

A DAERA spokesperson confirmed that the Forest Service is not erecting fences to contain the deer in forestry land.

A spokesperson said: “Forest Service does not erect deer fencing to contain wild deer in these forests; however, occasionally it may use temporary fencing to exclude deer from certain areas where tree crops could be vulnerable during establishment.”

When asked if DAERA identify deer as a potential threat to livestock through the spread of disease or the worrying of animals, a DAERA spokesperson said: “Deer may transmit Tuberculosis to cattle.

“However, for this to happen, an infected deer population would need to coexist with cattle in a manner which facilitates the transmission of infection.

“The Department is not aware of any reports of wild deer having worried livestock.”