I’ll never forget the first time my dad took me showshoe hunting. I think he was just as excited as I was. We were hunting a spot he knew well. I always liked the way the snow looked in the woods. It was very early and it had been snowing all night and then started up again just before we left. We hadn’t seen any sign of hares, but it was still early so we kept on moving.
Suddenly, my dad stopped me and cocked his gun quietly. I looked up to see a snowshoe hare sitting peacefully on a log about 20 yards away from us. He just happened to be facing us. I dropped him in a shot. My dad let out a big yell, and we both remembered those moments for the rest of our lives.
Snowshoe hares are very, very good at hiding. They’re also very good at spotting danger and getting away quickly. But there are a few ways to sneak up on them and get an easy shot.
How Big Are Snowshoe Hares?
Male hares are slightly bigger than females. Mature snowshoe hares are between 17 and 26 inches long. Their ears are quite large, about 6 to 8 inches long, and almost stick straight up. Hares’ eyes are very large in comparison to the rest of their head, better for night vision.
Where Are Snowshoe Hares Found?
Snowshoe hares can be found in much of Canada and the northern part of the United States. They have been introduced in certain areas of the western United States and in parts of Europe.
How Are Snowshoe Hares Colored?
Snowshoe hares are quite striking, with a black-brown upper coat and light-colored belly, face, chin, and inner ears. As snowshoe hares grow older their coat becomes grayer. The snowshoe hare’s winter fur is coarser than summer fur and is about 4 inches long.
How Big Are Snowshoe Hare Litters?
Snowshoe hares breed from February to mid-May. Litter sizes vary from two to six, usually with four being average. Young are born in snow nests or shallow depressions and weigh about 1.5 ounces at birth. They are almost fully furred and their eyes are open when they emerge from the nest. They follow their mother on her feeding rounds within hours of birth.
4 Snowshoe Hare Hunting Tips
- Snowshoe hares are very good at hiding, so they will usually notice your presence if you walk up on them. They tend to make their dens under large boxes or logs. Larger hares will make the dens in a rocky area beneath trees where they can shelter from predators. Snowshoe hares are like most mammals: females will get ready for mating by rubbing on other female hares, and pheromones will be released into the air to attract males. Keep an eye out for rubs along your hunting area.
- Snowshoe hares can be found in a variety of settings—in the forest, in fields, along the coast, and even in cities. Look for snowshoe hare tracks around cattail marshes and wetlands. Also look for their tracks in fields where they eat grasses and other vegetation.
- Snowshoe hares are most active at twilight and early morning hours. They will scurry into dense vegetation when danger is near, but they will also become more active in open areas. You can usually see hares when it’s still light out, and then you’ll be able to sneak up on them until they are ready for bed.
- Snowshoe hares are nocturnal animals and tend to hide during the day. If you take a rifle along on your hunt you should always have your eyes open or have a spotter watching for them. There are a few more tips you can use to get an easy shot.
Snowshoe hares are a great part of our Canada and northern United States wildlife. They are incredibly hardy, with the ability to survive in many places in which other animals cannot survive. They’re also very good at hiding, so we need to be careful when hunting them. They have many techniques they can use to avoid detection, so it’s important that we monitor our surroundings for signs of their presence.