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Updated 27 November 2020 11:36am

Photo: Rob Suisted

Why are hares a problem?

Hares will strip the bark from trees and nip off any small, low or new branches and growth. As hares are usually found in lower numbers than rabbits, damage from hares is often less significant, although in some cases an individual hare can cause major damage in just one night.

Description and background

Hares are larger than rabbits with long, black tipped ears and long hind legs. Hares are yellowish brown, with black colouring on top of the head. Hares have a short tail which is black on top and white underneath, and is held down when the animal runs. Hares are usually solitary, although they can be found in groups at certain times of the year. Hares have no preference for long or short pasture, and will roam widely across their territory. Hares are often spotted whilst hiding in a crouched position.

What can I do?

Hares are best controlled by shooting, using a .22 rifle or a shotgun. Hares can be targeted either during the day, or at night with a spotlight. Where hares are threatening new plantings, hare exclusion nets can be placed around seedlings or palatable species. Hares will not readily accept any poison bait, and there are no effective trapping methods.

Additional information can be found at:

National Pest Control Agency (NPCA) Best Practice Guidelines

Bionet - information about pests and disease in New Zealand