Farmers in Lincolnshire say the county has one of the worst rates of illegal hare coursing in the country.
Illegal hare coursing usually takes place late at night
Lincolnshire Police say 1,048 incidents were reported between September and March - the highest-ever figure for the county.
Simon Fisher of the National Farmers Union said: "Last year was by far the worst we have seen - there were 19 incidents in one day alone.
"The problem is getting slowly worse, I am afraid."
He said Lincolnshire is good country for hare coursing because it is so flat and the racers see the dogs chasing the hares from the edge of the field.
"Farmers have approached the illegal hare coursers but it is not wise because you are likely to be beaten up and threatened," Mr Fisher said.
"They come down here to bait the local farmers and policemen."
He said farmers are demanding tougher legislation to deal with the offenders, who can often be violent.
Police need to be given greater powers if the problem is to be tackled effectively, Mr Fisher said.
"The laws available for the police are Victorian and date from 1830.
"Those laws were meant to deal with local poachers on the local estate.
"We need new legislation with teeth that will penalise people heavily for illegal hare coursing."
Hare coursing often involves thousands of pounds being gambled on dogs that are set on hares.
Farmers say gangs of men descend on fields without permission, destroying crops and threatening and intimidating anyone who stands in their way.