Hare Coursing

The public is being asked to be aware of any activity that may relate to hare coursing across the area.

The public is being asked to be aware of any activity that may relate to hare coursing across the area.

Hare coursing is the deliberate hunting of Hares with dogs. It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which creates the offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a wild hare or attempt to do so. This crime is predominantly seasonal occurring when crops are low during the spring or in late summer and early autumn around harvest time. However, hare coursing can occur at any time of the year on large areas of relatively flat land.

Those involved often travel long distances to engage in this form of anti-social behaviour and use dogs of varying breeds to chase hares by sight. Dogs bred for their speed and agility such as sighthounds, greyhounds, lurchers and whippet breeds are most commonly used for coursing.

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Coursers will usually walk the land with their dog(s) on slip leads searching for hares in hedge lines and often walk from the edge of the field into the middle and back again in a zig-zag manner to cover as much ground as possible. The slip lead allows the handler to release the dog quickly upon observing a fleeing hare.

Members of the public are urged to provide the exact location of the hare coursing activity, descriptions of persons, dog(s) and activity observed and note the make, model, registration number and any distinguishing features of the participant’s vehicle. Video footage may also assist police with enquiries if available.

Incidents of hare coursing should be reported to Police Scotland via 101 or 999 in the case of an emergency.

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