A step-by-step guide to hunting snowshoe hares in winter


A hare hiding alongside an old rock pile


While hunting alone for snowshoes is a great way to spend a winter day outdoors, few tactics are more successful than pushing through edge habitat with a hunting partner. This is particularly useful when you know hares are in an area, but you haven’t had a fresh snowfall to help track them.

Look for places with thick habitat surrounded by generally sparse cover. This could be dense cedars in a low-lying area at the edge of a hayfield, overgrown brush along a river, or blowdowns from storms. It pays to think creatively, and to check the spots you never thought could conceal hares—sometimes that’s exactly where they are. Ask yourself where you would hide during the daylight hours if you were a hare living in farm country.


One place I frequently hunt with a partner is a small hayfield that’s been left to grow wild, bordered by a river. When the field was first cleared, the farmer created rock piles along the river from all the stones his plough and frost pushed to the surface. Now, decades later, those rock piles are overgrown with brambles—so much so that if you look down from the top, you can’t even see the stones. But if you get down on your hands and knees, you can find spaces big enough to hide a clever hare. This spot is ideal because there’s no cover for 50 yards in any direction once the hares have been flushed.

When you do find such promising habitat, have one hunter push through, while the other hunter watches the edge for any sign of nervous hares, at the ready to shoot. If you and your hunting partner are blessed with a fresh snowfall less than 24 hours old, you can also split up to cover more ground looking for fresh sign. If one of you finds plenty of evidence that hares are nearby, you can then work the more promising area as a team.