Reports of hare coursing are being reported in a number of areas around the county and the police are asking for your help in reporting any incidents or suspicious activity.
Hare coursing tends to occur at this time of the year after harvest when large areas of land have been cleared of standing crops and can continue into the Spring.
It usually occurs at dawn or dusk but we have had reports at all times of the day and night.
Hare coursing is a blood sport where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares.
It is illegal in the UK under the Hunting Act 2004, which makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs. Anyone convicted of the offence can receive a fine of up to £5,000 by a Magistrates’ Court.
Legislation also gives police the powers to seize and detain vehicles and equipment until the court hearing. Powers to seize vehicles may also be granted under section 30 of the Game Act 1831.
Warwickshire Police is part of Operation Galileo, a national approach to hare coursing with police forces working together to tackle this illegal wildlife crime.
Coursers can also cause damage to crops, field boundaries such as fencing and can cause issues with livestock if they drive through or run dogs in a field that they are in.
What to look out for
You can help us fight hare coursing by looking out for activity in your area.
- Coursing tends to happen on large flat areas of land.
- Be aware of a vehicle or number of vehicles parked in a rural area, perhaps by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path.
- Usually estate cars, four wheel drives or vans and may have evidence of dogs.
- Binoculars are used to spot hares or at night strong lights or beams.
- Coursers will often walk along the field to frighten a hare into the open. Hares live and breed above ground and at this time of year are extremely vulnerable as there is little or no cover for them.
- The dogs used tend to be sight hounds, such as lurchers or whippet type dogs that chase by sight rather than hunt by scent.
If you see hare coursing taking place, or suspect it is happening in your area contact the police straight away. We advise that you do not approach the participants.
It may help us if you can answer any of the questions when reporting a wildlife crime:
- Are the suspect/s alone or in a group?
- Are they trespassing?
- Do they have equipment with them?
- Do they have dogs or firearms with them?
- Where are they going?
- Where have they been?
- What do they look like?
- Have they any vehicles?
- What are the number plates and vehicle models?
- Can you safely get a photograph?
NEVER PUT YOUR OWN SAFETY AT RISK.
You can also report it online at www.warwickshire.police.uk.
Warwickshire Police have a dedicated Rural Crime Team and Wildlife Officers who work with response and local beat officers to address wildlife crime and catch offenders in our county.
Thank you for your assistance it is greatly appreciated.