Untrained eyes might well have missed hares

From: Sid Pearson, Scarborough.

I HAVE to reply to the article about the decline in hare numbers. This is not the first time this scare story has been raised (Yorkshire Post, March 9).

It is a scare story because the opposite is true. I am a farmer and have noted hare numbers for over 50 years. I would say that during the last few years hare numbers have been at record high levels.

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The article criticises modern farming methods for their so-called decline. Modern farming methods actually encourage hare numbers.

A few years ago, most of the arable crops were sown in the spring. The land was ploughed during the autumn burying available food leaving just brown fields during the winter.

Nowadays, most cereals and oil seed rape crops are sown in the autumn. This gives a supply of food for hares all winter.

Maybe one reason why these so-called scientists think that there has been a decline in numbers is that they are townies with no countryside skills. Because the hares’ natural environment is open countryside, their survival depends on camouflage and keeping absolutely motionless. If you have an untrained eye, you could be standing yards from one of these animals and not see it.

As for the miscanthus, yes it is not the type of cover suitable for hares, but the percentage of this crop grown will be very small in relation to cereals, grass and rape crops. Also the land that miscanthus is mostly grown on is not usually the hares favoured habitat.