The introduced European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) is not regarded as a major pest of agriculture and the environment. However, in localised areas it can cause damage by eating crops, destroying seedlings and gnawing the bark off trees and vines in orchards, plantations and vineyards. Shooting is the principle method of control, as hares are not susceptible to myxomatosis or rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), nor do they readily take poison baits. Other control methods used include exclusion fencing, use of repellents and trapping.
Shooting of hares is undertaken by government vertebrate pest control officers, landholders and professional or experienced licensed shooters. Also, recreational and commercial hunters consider hares to be a resource, so tend to shoot them opportunistically while hunting for other species such as rabbits, foxes or kangaroos. Shooting is usually done at night with the aid of a spotlight, but can also be conducted during the day.
Shooting can be a humane method of destroying hares when it is carried out by experienced, skilled and responsible shooters; the animal can be clearly seen and is within range; and the correct firearm, ammunition and shot placement is used.
This standard operating procedure (SOP) is a guide only; it does not replace or override the legislation that applies in the relevant State or Territory jurisdiction. The SOP should only be used subject to the applicable legal requirements (including OH&S) operating in the relevant jurisdiction.
|Region||Australia - national|
|Documents||HAR001: Ground shooting of hares [375 kb PDF]|
|Secondary title||Standard Operating Procedure|