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Login Name Post: My first hare hunt.        (Topic#254853)
silly goose 
45 Cal.
Posts: 711
02-12-11 08:58 AM - Post#958022    

Two Christmas's ago, my wife surprised me with a beagle. I've always had dogs, but never a hound. "Sadie", as my boy named her, has since commanded my off time during the winter. She is a joy to watch, and this has been an exciting journey for me. I basically just take her, and I learn as we go. She has been doing well, probably not compared to dedicated houndsmen and their hounds, but for me, she's more than I ever could have hoped for.

Sometime last fall, I got the idea that I wanted to have a go at snowshoe hare. I live in upstate NY, but not far enough to see hare. I've never seen one. Thursday night I had to work late, but was also provided an unexpected Friday off.

I slept in til about 7:30 and woke to a clear crisp morning, with no wind. Hmmm... I like it, but maybe I should have left by now. After coffee and a hot shower, I decide there is no time like the present, load up some gear and the hound, and start the drive to Speculator NY. Never been, had no idea where I was going, but I did have a map and compass.

At about noon, the hound and I turn into a pull off on rt 30. I let Sadie out to stretch, and pull out the map. Within minutes two trucks with snowmobile trailers pull in, and the tranquility is gone. We pack up and look for new territory. Within a half mile, I see some young hemlocks(at least I think they are hemlocks), and I can see hare tracks from the road. This looks as good as anywhere. I've never seen hare tracks before, I like it.

I pull as far off the road as I'm able. I put on a couple more layers, my sorels, and a pair of insulated coveralls. Now for the best part, I uncase the New Englander and load her up. Why do I enjoy that so much?

I put on my snowshoes and when I'm sure no traffic is coming, I let the dog out and we cross the road. There is a 3 foot snow bank, frozen solid, between me and my first hare hunt. I'm sure I looked kinda funny as I tried to figure this out. I finally took one large step to the top. Now I had to wonder if that tweak in my back was just a little stretch,or was this gonna setup on me. I'll worry about that later, I had to find the hare that made those tracks.

I started to make my way into the cover which consisted of mature hardwoods and these young hemlocks. Within ten steps, I found myself flat on my face. I'm not real sure how I got there, I just know that gravity won. I'm starting to wonder how this trip is going to go. And on a good note, I did keep the gun out of the snow. Imagine walking by and seeing a T/C New Englander above the snow being held up by one arm. Thats probably what it looked like. I didn't have time to scribe a note like "Hatchet Jack".

Anyway. I dust myself off. I don't think I even cussed, I'm hare hunting, its all good. I had a great feeling. I crossed a lot of tracks, and even found a couple droppings. No fresh tracks though. The dog was working well, covering a lot of ground, and looking into all the things I would hope she would. She doesn't seem to miss much.

The snow is fairly deep. About 30 inches. For the most part, the snowshoes sink only about 6 inches, but sometimes fall in about a foot and a half or so. The dog was doing well as there was a couple inches of powder on a crust that held her. The scenery was picturesque. The branches still held the previous nights dusting of snow. The air was as crisp as I ever remember, and cold to any exposed skin.

After a couple hundred yards, I came to a trail of some sort. I started to follow it, for the easier walking, and realized it was an abandoned snowmobile trail. There was a tree down every so often, easy to negotiate overall. The cover went from open hardwoods to clusters of the young hemlock. Many places for a hare to hide, and I was surprised at how many things looked like hares. I was full of anticipation, and was sure I'd hear the dog start a run at any time.

We took our time, kind of traversing a slight slope, staying at the same elevation. We crossed several tracks, none fresh, maybe some as recent as the day or night before. About a mile and a half in we startled a grouse. On second thought, it would be more accurate to say the grouse startled us. I haven't seen a grouse in quite some time. I thought that might be a good point to start working our way back out.

Before heading out I took a moment to absorb all that was around me. It was beautiful. Many different trees that I'm not all that familiar with. Silence. It was deafening, and amazing. I can't get silence where I live. I live in a great place in its own right, but no matter where you go, you can always here a car, plane, train or truck. Not up here. I loved it. I was hare hunting.

The walk back out was fairly uneventful. We got back out to the road. Undressed, fed the dog. Put my coveralls on the seat for the shivering beagle. She shivered as she fell asleep, but she quickly warmed up.

I left with a great feeling. I thought sure we would have come across at least one hare after seeing the tracks, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I'm sure there are a lot of things we could have done differently, but like a lot of things I've learned in life, we are going this alone, and earning everything we learn. I needed this hunt as a basis to start, and now we move on, and try different things. I wish I could have posted a pic with an arm load of hare, but really, I think I'd be satisfied if every day were as special as this one. I'm a hare hunter, and I'm liking it. Thanks for listening.

Hairy Clipper 
40 Cal.
Posts: 202
Hairy Clipper
04-03-18 11:57 AM - Post#1677953    

    In response to silly goose

I thoroughly enjoyed your hair raising adventure. Being in southern Minnesota where the snowshoe hare is extinct, I have yet to see one myself. We used to have jack rabbits here forty years ago, although there were not many. A rabbit hunt sure does sound like fun and now I am wondering, since some time has passed since you wrote this, how has the hare hunting been going? Being a retired barber, I have not been hair hunting in some time, but, plan to get out hare hunting next hunting season with a .32 flinter.

58 Cal.
Posts: 2372
04-06-18 12:15 AM - Post#1678387    

    In response to silly goose

Silly Goose, enjoyed your post makes me wish I was back up in Maine. I've actually been hunting for my hare for 15 years or so. Hairy Clipper it's just as well you are retired, no money to be made off me.

Edited by hawkeye2 on 04-06-18 12:15 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

Hairy Clipper 
40 Cal.
Posts: 202
Hairy Clipper
04-06-18 08:32 AM - Post#1678404    

    In response to hawkeye2

I am glad you could follow that post.

ny griz 
58 Cal.
Posts: 2455
04-07-18 11:18 AM - Post#1678562    

    In response to Hairy Clipper

Enjoyed your post.It isn't always the getting of game to enjoy the outdoors.Griz

Posts: 7862
04-17-18 02:10 AM - Post#1680050    

    In response to silly goose

Your hare hunting adventure was very interesting and although you didn't see any hares, sounds like the trip was a success.

I've hunted hares in northern Wisconsin for over 50 yrs and have experienced the highs and lows of the hares' cycles. Hunting in the high time of the cycle is exciting and seeing WI doesn't have bag limits on hares, our party of 4 has shot over 2 dozen hares in a day...this has happened a few times. Never used a dog on hares, although some do. A larger hound is used because of the deep snow.

In the high part of the hares' cycle the hares are better tasting because most of the hares are young and some would say, kinda dumb.

During the highs, I mainly used a .22 pump early on and then switched to a .45 flintlock. .....the kills didn't decrease the flintlock.

Hunting hares at the bottom of their cycle requires a lot of walking and a shotgun is used......the surviving hares are smart and fast. A welcome event is flushing a grouse and usually the cycles of hares and grouse don't match up so at times the grouse are the majority of the bag.

Wintertime in the woods hunting hares on snowshoes is a nice way to enjoy a day's hunt which might be "hareless" if at the bottom of their cycle. .....Fred

45 Cal.
Posts: 973
05-15-18 02:06 AM - Post#1684734    

    In response to silly goose

Thanks for taking the time to share this experience!

Gerard Dueck 
45 Cal.
Posts: 790
Gerard Dueck
05-15-18 09:53 AM - Post#1684763    

    In response to silly goose

I've found that a cotton tail will run a circle about 2 acres and circle back whereas a hare will easily run a section or more and possibly just keep on going. Spent more than a few weekends trying to recover beagles that went berserk on a hare and got lost. I hope your beagle knows enough to break off and come back.

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