Brown hare population in Germany reaches all-time high

Brown hare population in Germany reaches all-time high

Germany’s brown hare population has declined sharply since the 1980s, but the German Hunting Association (DJV) recorded an all-time population high in 2023.

More hares than ever hopping across Germany

The German Hunting Association has announced that it recorded more brown hares than ever per square kilometre in Germany in 2023.

Last year there was an average of 19 brown hares per square kilometre in the federal republic, up from 16 in 2022.

The DJV counted the hares using the so-called “spotlight method”, where hunters count how many of the nocturnal animals pass in front of their spotlight at night. Across around 400 areas in Germany, hunters conducted two counts last year, one in spring and one in autumn.

Where are the brown hares living and why is the population growing?

According to the DJV, the highest population density of brown hares during 2023 was found in the lowlands of northwestern Germany and the lowest part of the northeastern lowlands.

A dry spring in 2023 was cited as one of the main reasons for a population surge last year, which provided a great environment for the hares to rear leverets. “You could say that the hare is a winner in climate change,” DJV representative Torsten Reinwald told the dpa.

That said, the population spike is not expected to last, with long-term predictions pointing towards an overall decline in brown hares as more forest and wild land in Germany is cleared for farming.

Thumb image credit: Monika Surzin /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



Leave a comment