Close season would be 'bleak prospect' for brown hares - Our letter in The Telegraph

Boxing -Hares -3-wwwdavidmasonimagescom

There is no evidence to substantiate the claim that “hundreds of thousands” of hares are killed during their breeding season each year (Farmers and gamekeepers hit by ban on hare shooting, 18 March). Hares can cause serious crop damage occasionally requiring farmers to control individuals. Decades of our research have shown this has no measurable effect on the overall population, whereas loss of habitat and fox predation have a profound effect. There is a real danger that the proposed introduction of a closed season will result in farmers having to anticipate, in advance, the unpredictable level of crop damage likely to occur and take pre-emptive action during the open season. Couple this with the upsurge in illegal hare coursing and we will have created a bleak prospect for the conservation status of this treasured species.     

 Dr Alastair Leake

Director of Policy

Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

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Hare numbers

at 21:06 on 23/03/2021 by John BURROUGHS

I lived though the 1953 Eastcoast floods Foulness lsland where l live was totally flooded for days drowning 90 percent of all creatures. 7 years after the event ,my father and a team of his friends shot 90 hares a long with 80 wild partridges and 230 pheasants.This was on 800 acres.The hare population now is a third of that and we haven't shot any for 25years.Why so good in only 7 years,no predators.


at 20:31 on 23/03/2021 by Christopher Land

The wish to protect hares doesn't seem to include preventing the platoons of ignorant trespassing walkers who seem to think they have a right to trample over every field with dogs off the lead. Around here our hares have declined drastically due to disturbance by out of control dogs and their equally out of control owners.

Culling Hares

at 17:01 on 23/03/2021 by W Runciman

We would not shoot hares in the spring or summer even though they will nip off long rows of sugar beet plants, but I quite understand others may need to control the amount of damage done to young plants. What we definitely do not need is more legislation. Until a few years ago we had more hares and often saw leverets, then buzzards arrived and now kites!

Hate populations.

at 15:18 on 23/03/2021 by Alec Swan

Hare numbers fluctuate dependant upon wet winters and predation upon their leverets from buzzards, kites, badgers and foxes. Hares are NOT routinely shot in their breeding season, but in February and dependent upon populations. This is just a further effort at political advancement and control. Hares will NOT benefit from a close season.

Lack of hares

at 15:01 on 23/03/2021 by John bob

Drive around Lincolnshire and see all the tree trunks, old farm machinery in gateways to keep out the illegal hare coursers, our hares are depleted, and what's left the buzzards pick off.


at 14:36 on 23/03/2021 by Cookie

Oh no not another lot of restrictions !. Soon we will need a licence to get out of bed in a morning. As for closing down the control of hares in the summer months all i can say is try seeding 40 .000 red onions in trays planting them out and watch the hares eat them to ground level Not to mention brassica plants cabbages cauliflower etc. Around here (south west lancs) hares are on the increase and in the last few years ive noticed leverrets in mid august and im pretty sure some are having two or possibly three young a year. Many farmers have to control hares on horticultural crops in the summer months and a ban on shooting is just another nail in the coffin for fresh local prouduce. Ive even tried staking out blow up dolls in the fields ! Which scares the hell out of most people but the hares take no notice after a week or so.


at 14:34 on 23/03/2021 by A. Pilcher

Two years ago on a shoot in the Isle of Wight we saw over 30 buzzards in one field sitting on the fences. We have now got sea eagles. Hare numbers have greatly reduced over the last few years. The leverets do no have a chance.


at 14:34 on 23/03/2021 by A. Pilcher

Two years ago on a shoot in the Isle of Wight we saw over 30 buzzards in one field sitting on the fences. We have now got sea eagles. Hare numbers have greatly reduced over the last few years. The leverets do no have a chance.

Hare numbers

at 14:11 on 23/03/2021 by Martyn Simpson

Hares on this farm are thriving , it’s been common to see double figure numbers this spring. Wet weather is bad news for newborn hares so I suspect a record dry spring last year meant many more leverets survived to adults than normal. We still grow a good mix of winter and spring sown crops including sugar beet which Hares show an unhealthy interest in the spring. They will go along a row of beet taking maybe a metre of plants. I’m expecting we may have to cull their numbers on beet fields this year.

Hare population

at 8:05 on 23/03/2021 by Smith Brothers Farms

We are suffering large drops in our population of hares. We believe this to be due to the increase in the Badger population ,which we have no means of controlling.

Brown hares

at 11:19 on 22/03/2021 by Bobby Alvingham

25 years ago there were a huge amount of brown hares in the area that I live in the Chilterns. In the late 70's approximately 100 were shot every year for food. None have been shot on this ground since 2000. Now it is rare to see one, and whilst farming has undoubtedly had an impact ( although thankfully this has been recognised and efforts are being made to address this) at the same time we have seen the successful reintroduction of Red Kites and a huge increase in the amount of Buzzards in the area. Yesterday on a walk I counted 62 Red Kites in the sky above me at one stage. This is not unusual, and they and their chicks need food. I saw one Hare which was worth commenting on. At the same time we have seen the virtual disappearance of Lapwings in the area. Ground nesting birds and animals seem particularly vulnerable to increased predation whether it be fox, badger or Corvid. Coincidence or are the unintended consequences of this reintroduction of an apex predator tipping the balance away from the poor old Hare? As an aside, over the last year I have watched red kites kill countless ducklings and frogs/toads and even witness them steal food from a BBQ. Kites are majestic and publicly very popular- unless you are their food source!

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