Policy Briefing about research that has just been published. Note that there are links to more detailed information from the sidebar of this briefing.
In summary, the briefing states that the evidence used to support the culling of mountain hares to control ticks, louping ill and increase grouse densities is limited and equivocal.
The research comments on the estate in Morayshire where it was shown that the culling of hares did help with the reduction of tick numbers and the prevalence of louping ill. However, this is seen as an exception as there were very few other hosts on this estate, particularly deer. The point is not that hares do not carry ticks, but that the culling of hares in the presence of other hosts will not be effective.
Before embarking on any management programme, it is important to dispel myths and apply fact. This is particularly true of a tick reduction programme. Great attention to detail is required by everyone involved in the management of the area (for example, sporting and agricultural tenants, owners, keepers) for the duration of the project which is likely to be at least five years, and above all, funding is required for the duration. If these requirements cannot be satisfied, I suggest it would be better not to start with a control programme and to invest the funds elsewhere.
Based on my experience gained on similar schemes in different parts of the country, I would be pleased to help anybody who believes they have a tick and louping ill problem.