Hunting rabbits with dogs can still be a real challenge: hares 1, hunters 0
I don’t get a chance to hunt rabbits over hounds nearly as much as I would like to do it, so when a friend provided an opportunity recently, I made like a rabbit and jumped at the chance.
Even better, a friend and fellow hunter who has never hunted rabbits with dogs was able to join us for his first experience. We’ve hunted rabbits together many times, but usually one of us gets to play “dog.”
Within minutes of jumping out of the trucks, our three beagles were hot on the trail of a snowshoe hare. In fact, the five of us were still loading guns and exchanging pleasantries when the hare – or another one that had been spooked by the commotion – popped onto the trail and ran down it for 20 or 30 yards, teaching us a lesson in preparation before it jumped back into the woods.
The dogs continued to run rabbits nearly continuously for over three hours, but even though there were five hunters, nary a shot was fired. Outside of the chance we blew when we were too slow getting ready, our newbie had the only opportunity to touch off a round, but he was a little unsure of the shot and he held off.
Whoever says that hunters with dogs have all the advantages over game has obviously never tried it. These snowshoes had the upper hand on this day. The dogs struggled in crusty snow – sometimes losing the trail for a little bit. And to complicate matters, the hares kept taking our trio of beagles across the two-track that divided public from private land, limiting our chances, further.
In spite of the lack of shooting, we all agreed that we’d had a good hunt. The weather was fine, and it’s always a pleasure to hear hounds howling their pleasure at being after a rabbit.
So on this day it was snowshoe hares – 1, hunters – zero, but we’re scheduling a rematch, soon.