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Thread: Worst Rabbit hunter

  1. #1
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    Default Worst Rabbit hunter

    I guys, this will be my first post on these forums. However, I've been reading as much as I can to try and get up to speed on the hunting in the Fairbanks area. My wife and I have moved into a home in the Old Murphy dome area and have plans on staying in Alaska permanently since my early retirement from the Army. Recently I have made many attempts in several places to track down a spot to shot these rabbits. I have found lots of tracks.. I mean tons of tracks but I cant seem to sneak, or wait, or even just catch them off guard? I have gone out early morning, late at night to fields and snowmobile tracks. I walked for ever in the beautiful Alaskan outback? I guess I'm not looking for a handout more just some on the job training of sorts. I feel like it is something I am doing that is drastically compromising my approach to this kind of hunting? So I'm thinking a solid mentor might be able to help? So my proposal is this.. I will supply the spots < prob crappy ones cuz that appears to be all I know> gas, and transportation to any sight within 100 miles to any old timer that can show me kinda their ropes. I wouldn't even be interested in getting any rabbits just tips and insight. Thank you to everyone here by the way I have already learned so much. Cheers!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColdToes View Post
    I guys, this will be my first post on these forums. However, I've been reading as much as I can to try and get up to speed on the hunting in the Fairbanks area. My wife and I have moved into a home in the Old Murphy dome area and have plans on staying in Alaska permanently since my early retirement from the Army. Recently I have made many attempts in several places to track down a spot to shot these rabbits. I have found lots of tracks.. I mean tons of tracks but I cant seem to sneak, or wait, or even just catch them off guard? I have gone out early morning, late at night to fields and snowmobile tracks. I walked for ever in the beautiful Alaskan outback? I guess I'm not looking for a handout more just some on the job training of sorts. I feel like it is something I am doing that is drastically compromising my approach to this kind of hunting? So I'm thinking a solid mentor might be able to help? So my proposal is this.. I will supply the spots < prob crappy ones cuz that appears to be all I know> gas, and transportation to any sight within 100 miles to any old timer that can show me kinda their ropes. I wouldn't even be interested in getting any rabbits just tips and insight. Thank you to everyone here by the way I have already learned so much. Cheers!
    Hey ColdToes,

    Welcome to Alaska! In response to your question, hunting snowshoe hares right now can be a little difficult because they are in the bottom end of their 10 year cycle. I have been doing quite well, but I have some beagles and that gives me a distinct advantage when the numbers are low. I will give a few pointers though. Just because you are seeing tracks, doesn't mean the rabbits (hares) will be very close to the tracks in the daytime. A lot of times I will find lots of tracks of hares feeding at nighttime, but in the broad daylight they will be hiding out in the thickest parts of their habitat. Search in the thickest alder patches, patches of thick grass with fallen timber are hot spots to hide out. Basically whatever the thickest patches you can find close to a food source (mainly willows) you will find the hares bedded down in the middle of the day. They have excellent hearing and eyesight. Walk really slow and take your time. Walk a few steps, stop and search for movement. Also look for the black beady eyes. They are a dead giveaway. Look for the shape of ears sticking out too. Often times I'll see them in the thick cover just watching me. Like I said before, having a good dog really helps, but you can find hares in the low years if you know where to look. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Cold Toes, Reminds me of the first time I went hunting snowshoe hare with a couple buddies.. As we'd tromp along (uphill) one or the other would say "oh there's one" and shoot before I could figure out what they were looking at.. Then finally, just at about the top of the climb, one of my "friends" said "hey John there's one for you"... I looked and looked and finally saw those little black beady eyes and I shot that hare right in the head.. Then I stepped off the snow machine trail we'd been walking on, and sunk in up to my arm pits. I had to virtually swim and crawl on top of the snow to retrieve my Hare... Part of the secret is, Walk a ways, stop, look really hard for those little black beady eyes, or look for the black tip of an ear to twich.. You've probably walked by a couple hundred snow shoe hare with out knowing it. They are NOT going to move unless they feel threatened. (or have been shot at recently and are a little nerveous). My boys and I always quit hunting snow shoe hare the end of March, because they are shifting into their breeding cycle about the 1st of April.. Plus the Ptarmigan season closes on 3/31 in most areas.. So we begin to think of Summer things..

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    Well thank you in advance for the quick responses. I realize that the season is quickly coming to an end for most. However, my total failure this year is more to the point of the post. I am less interested in bagging any of them and more interested in figuring out my shortcoming. < Maybe for next year>? I think my problem is maybe two fold. 1} I can find tracks and they seem to be easy to figure out "fresh or not" and seem to point to locations well enough. The issue I am having is from there... the depth of all hiding spots seems to easily have the capacity to fit entire families of rabbit let alone one sinking away into the brush? Do they usually keep close enough to the surface to be able to see ears, eyes ect? All the cavities that are available for them to hide in are overwhelming if they hear you/see you/smell you?
    2} How much is location of viable hunting grounds important? Maybe this is a much bigger issue. I am thinking that given the lack of transparency in post on the subject. As well as, outright guarding of people "spots" is it possible that I have not run across a large enough population of them to make it possible to spot em? And again, the offer stands I wouldn't even mind not taking any guns at this point I just want to figure out what I have been doing wrong and correct it. Awesome response time guys!

  5. #5
    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    They've usually seen you long before you have a chance to spot them. Look around the base of trees, seems like every one I've spotted has seen me and is either standing still or working at putting the base of a tree between us so it can make its get away. As they start to turn color they'll become easier to spot. I saw one last night while I was walking my dogs because he was solid white still and there's no snow left around my house.
    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,
    Teach a man to fish and he'll also learn to drink, lie, and avoid the honey do list.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColdToes View Post
    Well thank you in advance for the quick responses. I realize that the season is quickly coming to an end for most. However, my total failure this year is more to the point of the post. I am less interested in bagging any of them and more interested in figuring out my shortcoming. < Maybe for next year>? I think my problem is maybe two fold. 1} I can find tracks and they seem to be easy to figure out "fresh or not" and seem to point to locations well enough. The issue I am having is from there... the depth of all hiding spots seems to easily have the capacity to fit entire families of rabbit let alone one sinking away into the brush? Do they usually keep close enough to the surface to be able to see ears, eyes ect? All the cavities that are available for them to hide in are overwhelming if they hear you/see you/smell you?
    2} How much is location of viable hunting grounds important? Maybe this is a much bigger issue. I am thinking that given the lack of transparency in post on the subject. As well as, outright guarding of people "spots" is it possible that I have not run across a large enough population of them to make it possible to spot em? And again, the offer stands I wouldn't even mind not taking any guns at this point I just want to figure out what I have been doing wrong and correct it. Awesome response time guys!
    Again, if you are seeing tracks, they are there. They are either just hiding in thicker cover or they are running out your range when they hear or see you coming. Try the suggestions already listed above. If you are finding plenty of tracks and scat then you are in a good or decent location. But like I said earlier, this year the population is low and they can be harder to find because of reasons mentioned earlier.

  7. #7
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Cold Toes- when the snow starts to melt some more, you'll see them. They'll be mottled white for a few weeks now still and show up on bare ground.

    As mentioned- we are at the bottom of the cycle... when at the top, you about can't leave the house without seeing a few dozen.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  8. #8
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    Try changing up the speed of your walk, if your walking fast, slow way down, if your walking slow, speed up. Also try kneeling down and looking under spruce trees.


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  9. #9
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I doubt they are much different up there than down here in south central. When I started I walked a lot and covered a bunch of ground. They hear you coming through open country and move to cover if they aren't already there. I started having success when I just forced myself to get right into the thickest most miserable brush possible. If I wasn't about to trip every 5 feet then it wasn't thick enough. I work it slow and pause often, sometimes for quite a while. They rely on their camouflage and the enemy of camo is movement. They will lose their nerve though and twitch or blow out. If they blow there are some tricks, a shot over their head may freeze em and weird enough some will lock up if you whistle at em. Worst case even if they do bust you and rip out at least you saw one!

    Another funny thing I have found is "seeing one" usually leads to seeing two. It's almost like your brain needs to imprint on the color, scale and shape of what you are looking at. For me this has proven true of grouse, bears, sheep, moose, caribou and mule deer and pretty much everything else I have chased around the woods.

  10. #10
    Member shimano 33's Avatar
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    Some really solid advice has already been given.. I have to agree with the thick statements. It seems like the slower and quieter you pick your way through the thickest section of Alders, your odds of seeing hare go up.

    Would be really fun to hunt alongside a 4-legged companion like Jack. If your really serious about these bunnies, a pup from a local breeder may be something to consider.

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