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Hares and licensing

Background and legislation

The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 introduced closed seasons for the killing or taking of wild hares. As a result and under the amendments made to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) it is now an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a mountain or brown hare in the close season.  

Close season dates

Mountain hare - 1 March to 31 July.

Brown hare - 1 February to 30 September.

Applying for a licence

It is possible to licence individuals to kill or take mountain or brown hares in the close season.

Licences can only be granted for specific purposes which include:

Please note, a licence will only be granted for control of hares in the close season in exceptional circumstances.  You must be able to provide clear reasons why control outwith the close season would not resolve the problem.

Licence application form to control hares in the close season  Word document

How we will assess your application

In order to issue a licence, we will consider the following:

  • that there is a valid licensable purpose (e.g. that hares are causing serious damage to growing timber);
  • that there is no alternative to licensed control (e.g. fencing, or control outwith the close season);
  • the conservation impact on the species.

In order that your application is dealt with as quickly as possible, please ensure that the reason for which you seek a licence and why the work needs to be carried out during the close season are very clearly justified on your application form.

Licence returns

It is a condition of each licence that a return is submitted. Please refer to your licence for the relevant return information required and send to licensing@snh.gov.uk clearly stating your name and licence number in the subject.

Renewals and amendments

If you hold a licence which you wish to renew or you wish to amend your licence you can:

  • telephone 01463 725364 (please make sure you have your licence number to hand); or
  • email licensing@snh.gov.uk putting your licence number in the subject.

For further information or advice please contact licensing@snh.gov.uk or telephone 01463 725364.



Last updated on Friday 18th March 2016 at 13:18 PM. Click here to comment on this page