Protection for mountain hare increases to full protection from 1 March 2021General News
The Statutory Instrument was laid in the Scottish Parliament today (27 January) to enable provisions for licensing control of mountain hares under the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020 to take effect this year.
This formal procedure was anticipated and from 1 March it will be illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take mountain hares at any time without a licence from NatureScot. This will be done by adding Mountain hare to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Under existing legislation there is a closed season for control of mountain hares from 1 March to the end of July, but licences can be applied for. This same closed season licensing regime will continue from 1 March to 31 July 2021.
From 1 August 2021 the new licensing regime will take effect and all hare management at any time of year will need a licence. We understand that applications under the new system can be made from July 1 onwards.
The moorland management sector and other stakeholders are still in discussion with Naturescot on the detail of the new licensing scheme, particularly the grounds on which licenses can be applied for. This will be finalised by the end of February.