Using a dog to chase a hare was made illegal in Scotland in 2002 by the passing of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act.
Peter Anderson, Philip Starr and Phillip Wilson, all from Macduff, had previously pled guilty to wildlife offences at Forfar Sheriff Court.
The court heard that on the afternoon of Sunday, February 2, 2020 a local spotted people with lurcher-type dogs on farmland near Balrownie, Brechin.
The farm owners were informed and went to see for themselves. They discovered a silver Ford car and noted the registration number.
Shortly after they saw men and dogs in one of the fields.
Two lurcher-type dogs were chasing after a hare. It appeared that one of the men was filming on a mobile phone.
The farmers phoned the police and when the silver car left the farm they followed at a distance and passed the details of the car’s movements to the police by phone.
Police stopped the car on the A92 Stonehaven road and arrested the men on suspicion of hare coursing. The vehicle was searched and the dogs, dog leads and a mobile phone in the back of the vehicle were all seized.
The mobile phone, which belongs to Starr, was sent for analysis and was found to contain a Whatsapp group with voice messages arranging to meet up to go hare coursing. There was also a video taken by Starr on February 2 which showed one of the dogs with a dead hare.
Anderson and Starr were given Community Payback Orders requiring them to carry out 190 hours of unpaid work and banned from having custody of dogs for two years. Wilson was given a Community Payback Order requiring him to be under supervision for 12 months and to carry out 190 hours of unpaid work and banned from having custody of dogs for two years.
Fiona Caldwell, Head of Wildlife and Environmental Crime said: "I welcome the sentence of these three men and the message it should send to anyone involved in hare coursing. The Crown will continue to work to ensure that anyone who hunts hares with dogs is brought to justice. We would encourage anyone who may have information to contact the police."