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Hunting and poaching

Poaching

Poaching (hunting or fishing) is illegal if the:
  • game or fish is not in season
  • the person doesn’t hold a licence
  • hunter used an illegal weapon for a particular animal
  • animal or plant is on restricted land
  • right to hunt the animal is claimed by somebody
  • means used are illegal eg baiting
  • animal or fish is protected by law or has been listed as an endangered animal.
Signs to look out for: 
  • Vehicles parked on verges, in lay-bys or on bridleways. 
  • Lines of people walking through fields with dogs, trying to raise hare or game. 
  • Damage to gates and boundaries around land.

Hare coursing

Illegal since 2004, hare coursing tends to start around the end of August/beginning of September (after harvest), when large areas of land are crop-less. 

It usually takes place at dawn or dusk.

The obvious sign to look out for is a group of parked vehicles, perhaps by a farmland gateway, on a grass verge, track or bridle path.

There’ll usually have estates, 4-wheel drives or vans containing evidence of dogs.

If you witness hare coursing in progress, contact us immediately on 999. 

Hunting

It’s an offence to:
  • allow land to be entered or used for hunting 
  • participate in, attend or facilitate a hare coursing event or permit land to be used for hare coursing 
  • hunt mammals with dogs
Whilst fox hunting is illegal it isn’t illegal to 'trail' or 'drag’ hunt (using an artificial scent), exercise hounds with landowners consent or carry out ‘flushing’. 
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