The Scottish Government recognises that mountain hares may need to be controlled for land management purposes, but is opposed to large-scale culls of the species.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is working with key stakeholders to improve transparency and understanding about the reasons why some moorland managers continue to wish to cull mountain hares. SNH aims to work with land managers to put in place effective and sustainable management of mountain hares that is consistent with the species’ status on Annex V of the EC Habitats Directive.
To help achieve this, SNH met with Scottish Land & Estates, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and several Donside estates in April 2016 at Edinglassie estate to discuss the cull of mountain hares. Since then, a subgroup of the Moorland Forum has been charged with producing guidance for land managers on mountain hare management. In addition, the Cairngorm National Park Authority is advising land managers to count hares alongside annual grouse counts, share information on counts and cull numbers and set out the reason for culling hares in any given case.