Hare numbers

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I read, with some concern, the letters from Duncan Orr-Ewing and Ray Murray (25 March) which suggested that grouse moor managers, in particular, are responsible for excessive culls on the mountain hare populations. Any such managed cull is carried out only to reduce hare numbers in years when a local census dictates.

The letters failed to take into account the cyclical nature of mountain hare populations and also the wide annual fluctuations between areas of their range.

The mountain hare population, within the East Grampian area, is at a high level unseen for 15 years and this situation should be celebrated and not blighted by misleading information.

As stated in the letters, a lack of sound scientific data prevails and until such data is available to land managers, should the control of mountain hares not continue in the sustainable manner which has been in place for a century?

Michael Nisbet

Former Head Keeper at Airlie Estate

Kirriemuir, Angus

Dr Adam Smith (Letters, 27 March) exhorts a “balanced approach” to limiting tick numbers on moorland.

He does not acknowledge that mass slaughter of mountain hares in the supposed interests of increasing red grouse numbers appears to be pointless when other tick hosts such as deer are present, as they usually are.

This matter is of concern to the Scottish Raptor Study Group in view of the importance of the mountain hare as a prey species for golden eagles.

Patrick Stirling-Aird

Scottish Raptor Study Group

Dunblane

I am a gamekeeper on Gannochy estate. This week we saw hundreds of hares. We have just upgraded most of our hill roads which involves placing drainage pipes at regular intervals. The hares love them using them for shelter and protection.

I have been here for more than 11 years and the hare population is without doubt at its highest now

Dave Clement

Glen Esk

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