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Thread: European hares and rabbits.

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconer View Post
    I am happy to be back on this forum. it has been a while. I am a falconer, hunting with a goshawk. Typically i hunt rabbits. I have tried ducks as well, but you need some ducks in puddles or they just dive back in as the gos overtakes them.

    In the 80's we used to hunt European hare around the Pearson airport area, Those days are gone, although I hear there are still some on the airport.

    i decided I would like to try again so I checked around and followed the "where are those hares now breadcrumbs", and i have secured permission to give it a try.
    I will have to be lucky and get a close slip hopefully at my feet so I can get there and give the goshawk a hand if she manages to hold on to one.
    If I pull this off, my season will be a tremendous success. Wish me luck!

    I will be NE of Toronto. While I understand the need to protect your hard won hunting areas, It would be great to hear the areas the hares still exist. I find unlike the cotton tail or Snow Shoe, the Eurohares are in some specific spots or locations but not widespread. I was reviewing some earlier threads from a few years ago where some very good gun hunters were having success . If the gun hunters don't hunt the hares, we will literally have no feedback on how the hares are doing. Nobody is watching!
    With Covid I was limited as to how often I could go to work, so during the summer months, I went to areas I had heard they existed and started talking to farmers in the fields, land owners etc. What became clear was the hares were doing "ok" in some areas but other areas they were not present.
    The next question is why aren't they more widespread? I am not a wildlife expert, but like many of you, I have spent time in the field . I think there is no doubt the increase in coyotes both in numbers and their physical size and pack like attitude was and is bad news for hares as well as other wildlife. When you walk good habitat you see the coyote agrees with you re the tracks and scat that is present.
    I think farming practices, in some cases have made things a bit more difficult for the hares. I often find when speaking to farmers who have hares on their property, they also have not changed their farms much at all. They still have bands of land between fields with zig zag cedar rail fencing . These provide the hares with food sources and protection from weather . I also noticed they like big plots of land. If they were to hear a coyote coming, they can make good their escape with a large head start and not be encumbered by anything while running at warp speed. I have also heard a few farmers say the hares were often close to their buildings not unlike the Cotton tail. Perhaps this is also safer than being way out in the open. Coyotes are not willing to come too close to farmer's homes etc.
    Without these attributes, my guess is this makes life much more difficult for the hare. I think it also explains why , at least speaking for myself, you don't see the hares spread out in much larger ares.
    I trust some of the hare hunters will respond.

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  3. #12
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    I will be hunting in the opposite direction , NE of Toronto. I was lucky to meet up with a farmer who owned 6 farms. He was even kind enough to send me a pin as to where he had seen them running across the road. Ironically, it was the exact same location i was told about a road kill. That will be a good start for me.

  4. #13
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    Man I haven't seen any jacks in years. My dad use to bring at least 1 home everytime he went up. Now we cant even get lucky to see 1

    Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk

  5. #14
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    After the last snow. I went by atv around my farm and through the hardwood . This was after 2 days of snow. Absolutly no tracks of any kind. . This is hayground and lots of feed. Deer do leave but usually an odd track going through. Haven;t see jack sign , in 2 years. Usually some coyote sign. They come right through our yard, at night. old243

  6. #15
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    Good morning fellow hunters. I have not made any comments since the last one November 15th. The reason is that my goshawk got a lung infection and died just before Christmas.
    I will post a new thread on my exploits looking for the illusive European hare.

  7. #16
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    Ok guys, I had decided in the summer that I would try and find where the European hares were. I had a couple small leads and then a friend sent me a pic of a road kill hare.
    from that point it was game on! I had permission to check and hunt with my hawk which passed away just before Christmas. Nevertheless I pushed on. I had time on my hands and once I got my butt in gear along with my small Munsterlander, off we went. Once the snow was on the ground, it was not that hard to determine if there were hare.
    I wanted to not only find out if there were hare, but also to determine why the hare were in one spot but not another.
    I have probably been out looking about 10 times. I was on foot with the dog. I would find tracks in a ditch going out into the fields. I have hunted cotton tails for many years so instantly knew the difference. the tracks and the space between the tracks is about 3 times as big as a cotton tail.
    The last time I hunted them, was about 35 years ago. I hunted them with my hawk around Pearson Airport in grass fields. They were sitting in forms .
    I can say these European hares are acting quite different. I have read a few of you guys mentioning woodlots. I flushed one (or should I say the dog did) right out of a timbered woodlot with lots of spots for them to hide, not unlike a Cotton Tail. I paid close attention to the tracks and where and what they appeared to be foraging on.
    This particular woodlot was surrounded by very large cropped hay or similar fields. The hare tracks only went out a little ways from the wood lot to eat what they could dig up in the field and then back into the woodlot.
    Occasionally I would see a single set of tracks moving from one side of a field to another. Then tuck in parallel to the tree or fence row.
    I can say the hares do seem to prefer the zig zag cedar rail fence rows with overgrown cover . I saw signs where they have been eat low hanging branches.
    I noticed they are not fond of making their way through meta farm fences, preferring to run across the open fields.
    I did see coyote tracks but I was surprised not to find the coyotes appearing to track the hares, nor did I find any kills.
    In terms of numbers, based on the tracks, I would say the population is just beginning to come back a bit. But I can also say the numbers of tracks I saw in a given field was sparse.
    I was exclusively looking about 1.5 hours north east of the city. Once I had a handle on what seemed to be their typical habitat requirements. Zig zag cedar rail fences, old farming equipment cropped hay fields (only saw 1 set of tracks in a corn field) , I could find the tracks. I have not flushed too many, I saw a comment about the sound of crunchy snow and perhaps the dog working ahead of me, may be flushing them early before I can see them. I found it very interesting that you could see sign in one field but the next farm over with different farming practices, crops there would be no sign of them.
    So the next thing I did was look for similar farming habitat back south towards where I lived. I was very pleased to say I found tracks in large fields there too. In fact I found one set of tracks about 5-10 minutes just north of my house. I will go out some more. I would like to determine what their numbers are. Could I flush enough in a day .
    If there are any hunters who would like to chime in as to how they actually hunt them, I would really appreciate that. As I said I have not hunted them as the hawk died. I simply followed tracks and worked areas as described earlier.
    I must say I am very pleased to say they are out there. Just how dense the population is. I am not sure yet. thanks

  8. #17
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    Sorry for the loss of your goshawk. Sounds like your on the right track pinning down a Jack. Main thing hunting solo you have to evade their ears. You stand a better chance at a close flush when the snow is soft and fluffy, hard and crunchy a blocker and pusher approach is a good way to go.
    Time in the outdoors is never wasted

  9. #18
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    Sorry to hear about your hawk..... Thanks for sharing your research, good luck.....
    "Everything is easy when you know how"
    "Meat is not grown in stores"

  10. #19
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    Good morning fellow hunters. As i stated in my last submission Jan 29th. My Goshawk passed away on Dec 23rd. nevertheless I kept going out looking and I certainly found the signs they were out there. For the most part I saw single tracks. I would find the tracks as they entered the fields. It looks to me, as if the population is indeed getting a bit better. I can see by the tracks the hares are beginning to act more like Cotton tails. never going too far from cover. This is likely to stay safe from Coyotes. Anyway, I would be really pleased if some of the guys who have succeeded in hunting the hares could tell me a bit about how they actually hunt them. When i have gone looking, it appears they flush way out in front of me. I look forward to your feedback. Oh, and i will be out there next year with a new hawk. Its not over till we catch one!! Thanks

  11. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconer View Post
    Good morning fellow hunters. As i stated in my last submission Jan 29th. My Goshawk passed away on Dec 23rd. nevertheless I kept going out looking and I certainly found the signs they were out there. For the most part I saw single tracks. I would find the tracks as they entered the fields. It looks to me, as if the population is indeed getting a bit better. I can see by the tracks the hares are beginning to act more like Cotton tails. never going too far from cover. This is likely to stay safe from Coyotes. Anyway, I would be really pleased if some of the guys who have succeeded in hunting the hares could tell me a bit about how they actually hunt them. When i have gone looking, it appears they flush way out in front of me. I look forward to your feedback. Oh, and i will be out there next year with a new hawk. Its not over till we catch one!! Thanks
    Sorry to hear about your bird.

    We went up to the farm last week and in the hardwoods there was lots of rabbit poop. More than I've seen in years. Looks like they are slowly but surely starting to come back this way as well. I'm around 82 area. There's been a couple guys saying there are still rabbit around here but like I said before we haven't seen any in years. This is the first year I've seen sign on them in a while.

    Will you be getting another bird? All the best, love reading your writeups

    Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk

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