Does anyone hunt snowshoes with their birds? I know we have them here in WA but I've never really heard of many people hunting them. I imagine they aren't as plentiful as cottontails (where they do occur) and perhaps much harder to catch. Anyone have any info on them?
I have hunted them a bunch. I go on two trips a year to hunt them. One to northern NH and another to the Maine Snowshoe Hare meet. I actually find them much easier than hunting cotton tails in my area at least. They are usually found in very dense fir and balsam stands, telemetry is a must when hunting them in these conditions. They will can nail a bunny 10ft from you and because of the snow in the bells you will have no idea where they are.
I tend to stay away from these areas or only hunt small patches of pines where I can usually get the hare to break out. In Maine we hunt them in industrial areas. Not like the ones I am use to but we go out behind some abandoned factories just into the woods and push around. The hare sneak out slowly in front of you and if you have a bird that knows what they are they can be easily taken. We just get the birds to go out in front of us a little when they follow and push a walking bunny to wards them. If the hare decides to take a run thats when the real fun starts.
The other way I hunt them is with my beagle. Like other rabbits they always run in a circle. I just sit with my bird hooded let the dog get one moving. I have a slow working dog when I find the direction the hare is moving I put the bird up in a tree right in the hares path.
Sometimes you just get an easy kill with the bird dropping on an unsuspecting hare, usually the hare notices at the last second and puts on the jets and the fun really starts. Usually ends up with a stooping redtail colliding head on with a hare in full sprint.
One problem I have encountered is that birds at first don't know what big white rabbits are. I have had a small snowshoe hop slowly under a Redtail that was right on weight without the bird even looking. If you can give the bird a dragged snowshoe it helps a lot. At the last Maine meet we had a redtail and 3 Gos Hawks that had been killing cotton tails regularly refuse easy slips on hare, but after giving them a dragged one they were fine.
This year I am at school in northern Vermont and if my meeting with the director of Animal science goes well next week I should get either a Gos or a Redtail over my December break and chase snowshoes the rest of the year.
we have snowshoes hee everywhere the problem i have is getting a slip on them. They stick to the fur thickets and rearly come out in the open. but I'll keep trying once I find a place where the little buggers are close to an opening I'll be able to nail a few. Here's hoping for an early snow.
I'm sort of an Animal Science Major... a more narrow version of it. I'm seeking acceptance into the EATM program at my school. EATM stands for Exotic Animal Training and Management. It deals more with the exotic animals for a zoological career. My school has a zoo and everything, how cool is that?!
Jay and Chris-thanks for the info! Sounds like they are fun to hunt. I talked to a falconer here in WA who has hunted them before and there are a few spots with good numbers so I am hoping to get out there soon. I'll let you know how it goes!