Protection of wild hares etc. - inserted section 10A of the 1981 Act
45.Subsection (1) of section 10A of the 1981 Act provides for it to be an offence to kill, injure or take any wild animal listed in new Schedule 5A to that Act outside the close season for the animal. The penalties in section 21(1) of the 1981 Act apply in to any such offence. .
46.Subsection (2) of section 10A specifies close seasons for mountain hares and brown hares. The close seasons are 1 March to 31 July and 1 February to 30 September, respectively. Subsection (3) of new section 10A enables the Scottish Ministers to vary any close season by order.
47.Subsections (4) to (7) of section 10A enable the Scottish Ministers to specify by order a period of special protection of up to 14 days for any animal listed in Schedule 5A, to have effect as if the period were part of the close season for the animal. The provisions are similar to power to specify a period of special protection in respect of wild birds under section 2(6) and (7) of the 1981 Act.
48.Subsection (8) of section 10A creates a presumption in any proceedings for an offence under that section that the animal in question was a wild animal. Similar presumptions apply in relation to offences under section 9 of the 1981 Act and in new section 11E(2), as inserted by section 7 of the Act.