Hunting Hares – Snowshoe Rabbits
The Archery Deer Season is over, ice fishing is getting to be routine and cabin fever is setting in, so what can we do. Well we can make some spiders & poppers for the fly fishing season, or make a few top water bass poppers, or even make a few jigs for bluegill fishing, but I have something else that will fire you up, Snowshoe Rabbits.
In Northern Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin we have Hares (Snowshoe Rabbits) that weigh in at 3 to 5 pounds, are fun to hunt, and not to bad to eat. Their large well-furred hind feet give this rabbit the ability to run across deep snow at high speeds, so you will want to invest in a good set of snowshoes if your going after them.
If you have hunted the cottontail they are very similar, so similar hunting techniques will work. Here are a few tips to help in your hunt. Snowshoes feed on twigs, shrubs, and young saplings just like the Cottontail. They will make small depressions in the snow under low hanging pine branches or blow-downs, concealing all but their ears and eyes. Trust that the Hare will circle back sooner or later, as they are not comfortable being outside their territory for to long.
Where To Find Hares
Snowshoe Rabbits (Hares) are much like their smaller relative the Cottontails, except they do not use burrows to hide in. So look for thick edge cover, tracks, scattered rabbit pellets, feeding areas, and runways.
How To Spot Hares
Once Winter hits the Snowshoe fur has already turned white, so the best part of this Hare to focus on are the brown tipped ears and their black marble eyes.
How To Hunt Hares
You can use dogs to hunt Hares but I prefer the two man approach, one stumping brush and pushing thickets while the other is off to the side in a ready position. Since Hares are easy to take down I like to use a double barrel 20 gauge, with low brass for the first shot and high brass for the back-up. If you missed the Rabbit you can always have one hunter tracking while the second hunter is waiting for the Rabbit to circle back, as Rabbits are reluctant to leave their home territory. Another way to catch Rabbits is by Using Snares, which are easy to make and use.