Country Corner

A hare hides in the tufts of grass
A hare hides in the tufts of grass

A big old jill hare tries to look like a tuft of grass and hopes I will pass without noticing her.

Male and female hares are known as jacks and jills or bucks and does. With eyes in the sides of her head she can see all around, and with those enormous lugs and that sensitive nose, there is practically no chance of a predator approaching without being seen, heard or scented, most likely all three.

So confident are hares in their tuft-like fur, they will sit tight and allow walkers to pass really closely. Or perhaps their confidence has more to do with their absolute faith in their explosive acceleration?

Regular readers will know I have stravaiged around the countryside all my life and tend to be a bit of a grumpy old man when it comes to the way we have treated our wildlife friends. Hares are among the mammals which have declined most in my time.

With no exaggeration whatsoever it used to be almost impossible to walk, cycle or drive along country roads without seeing a hare or two. However, in those days most farms were both arable and livestock farms.

Grass fields, whether for hay, silage or pasture, were common. Now they are as scarce as hares have become.

The vast majority of our countryside is farmland and if we are serious about conserving wildlife, this is where we have to direct our efforts.

Farmers have been encouraged to force the maximum productivity from the land. This has brought an end to mixed farming .

It is time for a radical rethink.

By George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services