I MUST thank both P Handy and M Large for giving me the opportunity to discuss the subject of coursing and the hare.

Their recent rather whimsical letters suggest that neither of them have been coursing but that they have gained their distorted view of the subject from the contrived literature handed out by organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports and some well-edited video footage.

I have to point out to these two correspondents, who believe the hare is a timid creature traumatised and in a state of near collapse after being chased for 30 seconds that they are totally wrong.

If this were the case, the hare, instead of prospering in our countryside for centuries when hunting and coursing were far more prevalent, would have died out years ago due to natural selection not favouring their so-called timid nature.

I must yet again direct P Handy to study the inquiry into hunting conducted for the present Government by Lord Burns. Burns found that the hare population was stable and in fact above average in areas favoured by coursing due to conservation activities of those involved.

Burns also found that hare numbers could well drop if the sport was banned.

It all begs the question - are P Handy and M Large more interested in banning a people and their sport rather than saving a single hare?