Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Hare Shooting


Britain’s hares have been in serious decline for many years. Since the late 19th century the number of hares has reduced by around 80%. While changes in land use and agricultural practices have played a big part, the shooting of hares for sport is responsible for the death of as much as 40% of the national population each year, and our already much diminished populations can barely hold their own.

Incredibly, the hare is the only ‘game’ mammal in England and Wales that is not protected from shooting through its breeding season. ‘Closed seasons’ apply to most species of ‘game’ animals to allow them to raise their young, but hares receive no such protection. As a consequence, many hares are shot early in their breeding season (which typically runs from early spring into the Autumn). This not only affects the numbers of young coming through to form the next generation, but also results in animal suffering on a massive scale as dependent young hares (leverets) are left to starve when their mothers are shot.

Born Free, alongside our partners at Humane Society International and the Hare Preservation Trust, campaigns for a closed season for hare shooting, which would bring England and Wales in line with Scotland and most of the rest of Europe, stop the shooting of hares through their breeding season, and end the unnecessary and cruel orphaning of leverets.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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