Date lodged: 16 May 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what estimate it has made of the total annual harvest of mountain hares in each of the last five years.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 1 June 2018
The Scottish Government does not have access to the National Gamebag Census (NGC) dataset held by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). GWCT routinely publish only summary data, in the form of trend indices.
Following a request from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in June 2017, estimates of the number of hares culled were provided by GWCT to SNH up to and including 2015 only. The NGC data for 2016 and 2017 (which are required to derive these estimates) were not available at the time.
The estimated values are:
These figures are derived using modelling and calibration of NGC game bag figures against a historic baseline, namely the figure of 24,529 for 2006-07 as published in SNH commissioned research report 278: The distribution of Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus) in Scotland (2006-07). There is no indication of effort (i.e. number of guns and days of shooting etc) and the population index values from which these estimates are derived are, themselves, subject to varying levels of statistical confidence.