Grampian Police are urging farmers and the rural community to be vigilant over the coming weeks as they anticipate an increase in hare coursing and associated rural crime as we move into autumn.
As part of Operation ‘Lepus’ the Grampian Police Wildlife Crime Unit will be undertaking targeted patrols in known hare coursing areas in an effort to apprehend the coursers.
Hare coursing involves people accessing land with dogs with the intention of hunting for brown hares. Upon sighting a hare the dog or dogs are released in pursuit with the coursers often placing bets to see which dog will catch and kill the hare.
Hare coursing was banned in Scotland in 2002 under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act, which also makes it an offence for anyone to permit hare coursing on their land.
Hare coursing typically takes place in early autumn after the harvest has been gathered -when fields contain stubble that will permit the dogs to run- and in the early spring months before crops have fully established.