The Classic Pursuit of the Snowshoe Hare
Snowshoe is a term used for many things – from a piece of winter sports equipment to a creature found in North America that is literally one of the most unique ever created.
The snowshoe hare has extremely large hind feet, as opposed to its other furry brethren, and hunters can always spot its trail, seeing as that those feet leave marks in the snow that lead the hunter in the right direction. The size is a must, of course, because these feet stop the hare from sinking into the snow when hopping commences. It also helps that the feet have fur on the soles in order to keep the freezing temperatures from hurting the hare as they, too, celebrate winter.
There are even more protective defenses for the hare. They have the ability to camouflage themselves as well as the family from Duck Dynasty does. The hare’s fur turns glossy white in the winter to allow the creature to meld into the backdrop which makes them much more difficult to hunt. And although the ears of the snowshoe hare are shorter than the ones belonging to its extended family, they still have the ability to hear quite well when it comes to any steps closing in.
Weeds, grass, summer veggies are something the snowshoe hare dines on, but they actually become carnivores, and will turn to dead rodents in order to build up their diets during the winter. No hibernation is needed for them, either. The snowshoe hare is all about hunting at night, and sleeping for months on end is not in its repertoire.
Deer season is, of course, still the most popular for the hunter. But the over-sized snowshoe hare is also a winter pastime that has grown in popularity over the seasons. With shotgun handy, and the dogs by your side, the hunt is on – and can end up to be one adventure that’s truly exciting.
Many use the snowmobile to track down the hare (with trailing sleds for any dogs that might come along); while others stick to the old ways and don snowshoes in order to cross the frozen tundra.
Now, when it comes to the best hunting tip that all should remember when they’re out there bracing against Old Man Winter, is to have protective clothing, especially eye protection. Eye injuries crop up far too often in a world of spruce trees mixed with fir that carry a great deal of small, easily missed, dead branches.
If the dog is not handy, hunter’s should go in pairs so that one can do the beagle’s job by breaking through the brush and seeking out tracks. The other waits patiently and looks for any movement that the frightened hare might make.
That watcher must be constantly alert, seeing as that the snowshoe hare will not leave their familiar territory. They will build, work and stay within the large circle of their habitat and never stray. In the winter, the snowshoe hare’s territory averages only twenty acres, which is their downfall. When uncovered by the dogs or human noise, the hare will run in loops inside this small acreage instead of fleeing, which allows hunters a victorious day.
If the hare is spotted, blowing a whistle or making some kind of high-pitched noise can stop the hare in its large tracks. They are very interested creatures and easily startled, which also helps the hunter get a perfect shot.
But, remember, the white-on-white movement is difficult for the eye to spot. Which means even when the dogs bark and you’re hiding in that thick strip of cover, the snowshoe hare can still disappear right before your eyes by blending into the backdrop.
The snowshoe hare season will go far into the month of March, so there’s plenty of time to land that mighty buck before trying your luck. But whether you go solo with the dogs, or with a buddy, the fact remains that hunting the hare is one of the coolest and most memorable sports around.