An ATV full of dead mountain hares on Farr Estate grouse moor


This photograph was taken today on the grouse moor of Farr Estate in the Monadhliaths in the Scottish Highlands.

As today is the last day of the ‘open season’ for killing mountain hares, this slaughter is not criminal in the legal sense. But in an ethical sense?

So much for ‘voluntary restraint‘, eh?

Seems they didn’t take heed of the recommendation to hide the evidence.

Many thanks to photographer Pete Walkden for letting us publish this image.

UPDATE 1 March 2017: Many people on social media, new to this blog, have been asking why mountain hares are culled. Please read this earlier blog (and the associated links) for an explanation.

UPDATE 2 March 2017: Call to stop mountain hare culling in Cairngorms National Park. Please sign the postcard here.

47 thoughts on “An ATV full of dead mountain hares on Farr Estate grouse moor”

    1. Well done i hope belittling another human being made you feel better. One day if you EVER rely on meat you have had stuff kept from a game keeper…. Farmers are gamekeepers. I cannot believe you think your opinion entitles you to call someone scum… your opinion does not validate your feelings of hate.

      1. Nope, he was right the first time. No scientific reason to slaughter hares, just some half arsed folklore and blood lust.

  1. If the swines left the raptors alone the hare population would be in balance. Why do these numbskulls hold sway over our uplands? Land reform is long overdue.

  2. As an aside, I’m dismayed to learn that although Roseanna Cunningham appears infinitely more promising in tackling raptor persecution than her predecessor, Aileen McCloud (let’s face it – it wouldn’t be difficult) – the wildlife policy officer at the SG remains the same person.

  3. It is all these people know.
    It is their life.
    Killing is their thing.
    Killing is what keeps them alive.
    And how dare the do-gooders interfere with their livelihood.
    What fun to be had with the gamekeeping community.
    With their inane talk of conservation.
    Their care of upland waders.
    But those Mountain Hares.
    Those trying-to-survive-in-the-face-of-adversity Mountain Hares.
    They only want to live the most frugal of lives.
    Pumped with lead and carted in Polaris.
    They probably reside in a stink pit now.
    In time their stench attracting foxes.
    Those foxes to the snares.
    Those foxes to the stink pit.
    The vicious, most vicious of cycles goes on.
    Oh what fun to be paid for killing.
    Oh what fun to be a gamekeeper.

  4. In January I came across 7 greylag geese piled on top of a stink out 5 foot across and 1 ft deep – put on one day before the start of the closed season for greylag geese. Sadly I didn’t have a camera. Days after the closed season began, the geese were removed. Sadly, hares, geese – these scoundrels don’t care. Restraint and compassion are not in their nature.

  5. Curious as to what is the purpose of this mass shooting? Is Scotland overrun by these animals, do they eat food intended for farm stock, are they harbingers of disease or are they part of the an impending environmental disaster?

    1. The biggest “ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER” is the gamekeepers on the grouse moors, they’re the biggest scourge to wildlife and countryside the UK has ever known.

    2. The main claimed reasons are
      One for “sport” (although this one is generally skipped over for 2 and 3)
      Second is to protect all the young trees and rare plants that the moors support (its always good to claim some general conservation good).
      Third and the key one is it is believed they carry looping disease infected ticks which can impact the grouse population. The evidence for this is unclear but thats enough to get them on the cull list.

        1. It is a rather special claim but I guess they realised saying they needed to shoot the hares so there would be more grouse to shoot later might not convince many people so decided to go for “what about the plants”

  6. As has been said if the raptors were left the hares would be kept in check. What is needed is something to control the numbers of ‘homo sapiens’ there are far too many of us.

  7. Maybe we need tell Ellie Golding from the BBC’s countryside program. A few week ago she was in search of the ‘elusive’ mountain hare. Well Ellie maybe this is why they are so elusive

    I did post on that program’s facebook page and link this site, only to be meet with responses from the nasty brigade.

  8. At a something of a tangent, it’s interesting to note that this vehicle doesn’t seem to have number plates. This is fine if it’s never driven on public roads (which seems somewhat unlikely). I’ve seen such vehicles being driven on public roads towing an open trailer with people seated (and even standing) on it for several miles which presumably breaks several other regulations. From what I’ve seen of fox hunts in England (mainly photos/video footage) similar ATVs without plates are regularly used on public roads by ‘terrier men’ and are only rarely prosecuted despite the frequent presence of policemen (but see A small point but one which seems to speak of a widespread view within the huntin’ & shootin’ community that the rules the rest of us have to abide by simply don’t apply to them.

    1. I will be interesting to see what the outcome of the recent Fox Hunt through a Macclesfield house estate is. A fox got chased into the back garden of a housing estate in Macclesfield whereby it was killed by chasing hounds.

      Now Change the Bloke following the dogs from wearing a Red Jacket to a shell suit and you have the same scenario but much different angle to the the way the crime is treated.

  9. XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX. But if we all do our bit to expose such happenings, then eventually the pressure from the public will help to enforce change. Maybe we need to look at how we step up and co-ordinate our facebook/twitter work as I am sure we are up against a co-ordinated enemy. The public needs to “take back control” of our uplands!

    [Ed: Thanks Peter. Your first sentence has been deleted as it was libellous]

  10. I did not think that was libellous, but thanks as I did not mean to be. Emotion must have got the better of me.

  11. Although I’ve seen no evidence that the hares cause a real problem by spreading ticks & disease to grouse & there is therefore no reason to carry out mass culls, it is important to present facts in this debate.

    The predation by raptors of the UK hare population is unlikely to have any balancing [ i.e. reduction ] effect on the hare population.
    Raptor numbers are controlled by the numbers of their prey in the UK not the other way round.

    Unless we present fact – based arguments to protect raptors we risk giving the grouse shooting brigade ammunition to protect their unsustainable industry.
    Despite their criminality these people are very able to use sloppy science against raptors.
    We’ve seen it many times in the wider shooting debate e.g. the ludicrous idea that sparrowhawks reduce songbird numbers.

    If there is empirical evidence that hare numbers are controlled by raptors in the UK it would be useful to highlight
    these sources, otherwise the argument should not be used.

    Keep up the pressure !

    1. Predation in general will control hare numbers however – the point being if the key predators were not wiped out of the uplands some sort of equilibrium would occur

    2. I don’t disagree sennen, but your interpretation of predator/prey interactions is a bit incomplete, as feedback in both directions does occur. However the principle you apply is exposing the true reason why gamekeepers cull hares, which is far more prevalent on grouse moors within the normal range of Golden Eagles. Eagle territories are of higher quality the more hares they support, so attempting to eradicate, or at best minimise, the hare numbers, can tip the balance of eagles holding territory or breeding successfully. The consequent reduction of predation on grouse, the prime objective, results in bigger bags once the shooting season arrives. I would however admit that most gamekeepers believe the spurious theory that too many hares leads to greater tick infestation of grouse. Of course other predators take hares, mainly foxes, but Hen Harriers are also known to take the occasional leveret. The only way out of this mess is to end grouse shooting and operate the moors as properly conservation-managed public land, and despite what the SGA proclaims, the control of predators would be wholly unnecessary.

  12. Repugnant, depressing and outrageous. It may not technically be illegal but in my opinion this practice is dressed up as conservation but is actually wholesale slaughter!

  13. Ain’t such a thing as too many red grouse though? Mountain hares one of the very, very few species that can actually benefit from grouse moors – and thereby give them any credence what so ever as a conservation asset – then they along with golden eagle, hen harrier and peregrine they get killed off effectively reducing ecological value to near zero – it’s just a big farm for red grouse and certainly juniper doesn’t benefit from muirburn. This video from Pace Productions (puke buckets to the ready) essentially admits that killing off fox (‘vermin’) is responsible for any excessive MH population there might be, think it’s quite illuminating.

  14. A photograph that tells the story of ONE estate out of many who carry out this annual slaughter. This is the NORM, and NOT the exception.

  15. Needles, senseless and destructive and performed for what reason ? Other than to satisfy cowardly and sadistic actions!

  16. Sorry not there is no reason for culling animals. Enough die naturally are coursed illegally and knocked down by idiots in vehicles. not too far away In the future we will live in a world without wild animals because as is now seen to be done, humans are destroying everything wonderful and beautiful in this world. God help us and stop this unnecessary act of barbarism.

  17. This is a disgusting practice which should not be allowed to continue.
    Presumably this is done for financial reasons but the mountain hares are beautiful creatures and should not be killed for financial gain by wealthy landowners.

  18. How long before the pro-shooters tell us that the hares were actually killed by wind turbines (of the non-existent kind). It would be one of their more believable claims.

  19. Disgusting cruel UNNECESSARY!! As has been said if the raptors were left alone the hares would be kept in check. What is needed is something to control the numbers of ‘homo sapiens’ there are far too many of us.
    Sadly the moronic scum doing the killing are left to get on with it..just like the vile fox hunt scum & the corrupt police do eff all to stop them! The justice system that allows this to happen is truly broken.
    Truly hoping for another olahue to wipe out homo sapiens…we are the ‘vermin’!

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