Okay, technically rabbits have no season in oregon but I like to wait until the showshoes start to turn white before I start hunting them.
So today I decided to check and see if they had begun to turn, unfortunately for them, they have.
Snowshoe rabbits, or technically hares are classified as unprotected mammals in oregon and are therefore huntable all year around and with any weapon, so they are perfect airgun quarry. I like them best during cold weather when they change their color from gray to white.
The change in color is triggered by the amount of light they are exposed to rather than the color of the environment they live in, so this time of year (just before the snow falls) you get a few of what I call earlybirds. Some of the rabbits go white before the snow, which makes them much easier to see.
Today I was hunting cedar thickets near Mt. Hood in the national forest. Snowshoe hares live at altitudes higher than 4000 ft. Although I have seen them lower in places, generally they are up pretty high in the mountains.
My stratagy for today was to find a likely looking patch and scout for signs of rabbit activity, then if I think they are there, wait for them to come out just before dark.
Well I waited as long as I could, then started stalking around the edges of the thicket. I never could sit still for very long. So after spooking 3 hares without getting a shot (they were still gray and very hard to see in the shadows), I came across a white one sitting under some brush 20yrds away. I had to aim a little low as my Hatsan AT44S long is sighted in a 50yrds, but I squeezed the trigger and Mr. bunny is in the bag.
I continued this tactic until dark then headed back to the truck. I spooked two more gray rabbits with the same results as earlier, and near the truck another white one, but this one was headed for Canada, he took off and never stopped. Smart bunny!
Well at least I got one for the pot, and I know where to look for more once the weather turns. I can’t wait to hunt them in the snow. Then it will be more tracking and spotting as they are nearly impossible to see in the snow.