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Snowshoe Hare Hunting on Vancouver Island

Anything you need to know about the best time, places, outfitters, and regulations of Vancouver Island snowshoe hare hunting, you can find here. We are ready to help you make a rewarding BC hunting opportunity.

The content is valid until June 30, 2022.

The snowshoe hare, also known as the true hare, is one of the most widespread small game animals in North America, but not that much on Vancouver Island. Annually, many people set a time for hunting these little creatures. Amongst all the rabbit-like creatures in BC, the snowshoe hare has the winner population in each province and accordingly, its hunting is popular amongst the locals.
Snowshoe hares may seem similar to rabbits, but they have more oversized ears. Although there are many snowshoe hares, hunting them is not as easy as it is said. That is why the "Hare of the North" endears itself for hunting. Its fur changes from solid white in the fall and winter to gray in the spring and summer. Hence, it's sometimes called a "varying hare." The snowshoe hare weighs between 1.43 and 1.55 kg (3.1 and 3.4 lbs.), which can offer you a delicious meal right after a hunting practice in the snow. The snowshoe hare feeds on succulent green vegetation from spring to fall and forages on buds, twigs, evergreen needles, and bark during the cold of winter until spring. People go snowshoe hare hunting mostly for sport, fur and meat.
To have a successful snowshoe hare harvest, you should know every possible detail regarding the hunting trip ahead of you. Thus, this article will introduce and explain everything you must know, including hunting regulations and methods assigned to this small game in advance before going out for hunting on Vancouver Island.

History of Snowshoe Hare Hunting on Vancouver Island

Snowshoe hares are the indigenous cuties of Canada, widespread in all the provinces. Hunting snowshoe hares has been going on for so long in Canada, and still, it is of the favourite harvests amongst the Canadians. Snowshoe hunting doesn't have significant history on Vancouver Island; because hunting them is restricted to 1-14 and 1-15 areas.

Vancouver Island Snowshoe Hare Hunters

In hunters' society, the only thing that matters is who won the hunt's trophy! Well, one of the factors that hunters can brag about is the challenge they have during a hunting trip, whatever the game is! Believe it or not, sometimes hunting a big game animal is far more manageable than a small one. Snowshoe hare hunting is one of the most challenging small game hunting. They are speedy, and due to the pure white colour of their coat during winter, they are almost invisible.
Snowshoe hare hunters should be patient and take the time while hunting to examine the snow for tracks because the hare is a creature of habit, and their routes through the forest will be well-packed. Hares are very sensitive to noise and movement; so, be as subtle as possible to have a successful harvest.

In addition to the challenge snowshoe hare hunting brings, its meat and fur are also other points that can encourage a hunter to go on a hare hunting trip. Later we will explicitly elaborate on the reasons why people go snowshoe hare hunting.

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Reasons to Hunt Snowshoe Hare on Vancouver Island

As already mentioned, the prominent reason hunters are enthusiasts for hunting snowshoe hare is the challenge they must take over to do so. But besides that, they can benefit from the flesh and the fur. Not to mention that they can desiccate the body and add it to their small game collection. Voila!

✔️ Meat: The snowshoe hare flesh is edible as long as it is well-cooked. After the harvest, hares are skinned and cooked without the inner organs and then used in barbeques and stews. It is low in fat and has many good nutrients. Hunting snowshoe hare will provide a small fresh meal you can enjoy right after a challenging hunt.

✔️ Fur: Hares are skinned before being cooked. Their hair is used for clothes, blankets and socks. If you had the chance to go hare hunting in winter, their fur is pure white, and you can prepare lots and lots of beautiful clothing.

✔️ Decoration: Trophies are how a hunter can remember the extraordinary story of each hunting experience. In this case (i.e., snowshoe hare hunting), the trophy can be considered the desiccated corpse of the hare. Imagine you've had a successful hare harvest and now to celebrate that you want to invite some of your friends over. Then they may see the desiccated hare and ask you to tell them the narrative of your hunting experience. Just picture it, how proud you would feel at that moment?!

Vancouver Island Snowshoe Hare Hunting Highlights

1. The most active time of the day for snowshoe hare is between sundown and dawn.
2. The most popular method of hunting snowshoes is with a brace of beagles.
3. The number of the snowshoe hare changes as time does. Their population is the most after their mating season, and a drop in the population was observed right before the fall.
4. To be able to snare the snowshoe hares in the Vancouver Island region, you must have a licence and pass the trapping course. Otherwise, that's illegal hunting.

Where to Hunt Snowshoe Hare on Vancouver Island?

The coniferous and boreal forests in the north side of the Vancouver Island region are best for snowshoe hare hunting. You can find snowshoe hares in high elevations in cedar groves, spruce trees, swamps, or any place with thick conifer trees. Do you want to make your harvest even more thriving?
Find your prey around cutlines, field edges and brush piles. To track snowshoe hares before hunting takes place, know that they may browse in young forest areas and seek well-worn forest paths to eat various plants and trees. Snowshoe hares usually feed at night and inhabit spruce bogs and alder swamps. They hide under young spruce trees in old fields or live in full-grown conifer forests with lots of woody debris as cover. For now, the management units (MU) or the hunting areas designated by BC regulation for hunting snowshoe hare are 1-14, 1-15 on the region 1 (Vancouver Island) map. After all, hunters should be aware of no hunting and no shooting areas.

When to Hunt Snowshoe Hare on Vancouver Island?

The snowshoe hare is one of the Canadian indigenous species and is widespread all around the country. However, not the exact amount with the same density exists in the Vancouver Island region. Therefore, according to the hunting and trapping synopsis presented by BC Government for 2020-2022, snowshoe hare harvest is not permitted in all seasons. Based on the synopsis, the open season for snowshoe hare hunting starts in August and continues until the end of April. The peak time for hunting hares in the open season is during winter, for you can track down the creature on the snow.

Be careful! The colour of the snowshoe hare during the cold season is pure white, which can be problematic when talking about hunting hare in winter. They have the exact same colour as the snow, which can provide them with a fantastic cover. You can only identify them by the tiny black ear tips and their eyes. So, heads up! Although winter is the peak season for snowshoe hare harvest, it is not going to be an easy hunting experience.

Protected Areas of Vancouver Island, Based on the BC Act

How to Track a Snowshoe Hare on Vancouver Island

You know that the best time for hunting the snowshoe hare is during the cold season. Why is that? Well, you can easily follow the hare's footprints on the snow and catch your prey. Try spotting them before they see you, which is a real challenge since the snowshoe hare is white and hidden in a carpet of snow. You have to look hard to spot black ear tips and the eyes.
 Walking down more giant logs and deadfall is very helpful because you'll have an overview of the hare raceway set out in the forest and, most importantly, the snowshoe hare tracks. You will know when you get close if you see any beds and droppings.

Constantly change your body position to get a different view and visually search your immediate vicinity to see the best time for hunting. If it feels any threats, the snowshoe hare freezes to take advantage of its camouflaging white colour, or it may run. Don't urge hunting until you've looked everything over twice. Move slowly and listen for warning thumps. It is best for hunting partners to have walky-talkies since hare's circles are so large that they will make a well-coordinated attack. Consider all the tips for experiencing successful snowshoe hare hunting.

If you want to start your snowshoe hare hunting in seasons other than winter, the best way to track them down before preparing your hunting plan is to identify first their habitat and then their habits. Knowing their practices during the daytime or after nightfall is the key to a prosperous snowshoe hare harvest that works during cold temperatures.

Snowshoe Hare Hunting Methods on Vancouver Island

Since we are trying to introduce you to everything legal regarding hunting snowshoe hares, the only firearm you can use to hunt hares in the Vancouver Island region is a rifle; in other words, no shotgun hunting is allowed. Other than firearms, you can choose to hunt with dogs or falconry, making your harvest even easier. The traditional hunting method is to walk hares up, with one or more hunters moving side-by-side irregularly through the cover. Knowing the hare's habits will speed the hunting procedure up.

Rifle Hunting

You can choose which rifle you're more convenient with for hunting: rimfire or centrefire. Try to keep your gun loaded all the time to be ready to shoot the moment you gaze upon a snowshoe hare. Hunting with rifles is relatively easy (provided that you are a good shooter) and it doesn't as noisy as shotgun hunting.

Bowhunting

It is the classic old-school way! Although bowhunting (or bow hunting) can be real fun, hunting the snowshoe hare with bows might be challenging or even problematic. To have a successful harvest using the bow hunting method, you must possess extraordinary aiming skills.


Trap and Snare Hunting

A snare is made out of a noose of wire or cord. The size of the wire and the height off the ground are very important elements in catching the hare in minimum time. Once the rabbit's head is into the snare, the bottom of the trap will touch the rabbit's chest and start riding up under the chin. As the hare continues to walk and the snare will tighten against the carotid arteries in the neck, this will result in a painless death.


Hunting with Falconry

It is using gigantic birds of prey to hunt these little whitey white creatures. They have sharp eyes and can detect the hare in miles. Hunting with falconry is permitted for small game harvests based on hunting and trapping synopsis.

Hunting with Dogs

Start with placing your dogs in the area where you expect hares, such as the densest areas. They should be able to track the hares by their scents and signal you if there is any hunting opportunity. Hares usually run large loops trying to outrun the dogs, so don't worry if your dog goes too far. The beagle was traditionally bred for hunting small game animals. Even though they are well known for their curious and fun-loving nature as house pets, beagles still play a significant role in snowshoe hare hunting in North America. They use their keen sense of smell to find and pursue the hares until their human companions successfully harvest.

Snowshoe Hare Hunting Regulations on Vancouver Island

Regulations | BC Snowshoe-hare Hunts | Region 1

Vancouver Island Snowshoe Hare Hunt Cost

The snowshoe hunting tours take about a day or two, and the price depends on the package's services, such as meals and the number of hunters. Regardless of that, our snowshoe hare hunting prices generally start at $125. It can increase based on the convenience service you expect us to provide you during your hunting trip.

Choose Among the Best Guide Outfitters for Snowshoe Hare Hunting in BC

To experience a successful snowshoe hare harvest in this region, we offer hunting guide and outfitter services.
1- Plan for your snowshoe hare hunting in advance.

2- Choose the areas where you intend to go for your snowshoe hare hunting on Vancouver Island.
3- Apply for and obtain the necessary license for your snowshoe hare hunting.

4- Select the right outfitter to be by your side in a snowshoe hare hunting adventure.

But why does choosing the right snowshoe hare hunting guides
matters before starting a snowshoe hare hunting adventure? They provide their guests with appropriate gear and adequate scouting knowledge to ensure that every hunter involved in that trip would have the best chance of a successful snowshoe hare harvest. If you want to make sure that your snowshoe hare hunting adventure on Vancouver Island is going to be the best experience ever, choosing the right outfitter is a MUST!
If you need help or have any questions regarding the choice of the best outfitter, please contact us.

Tips for Hunting Snowshoe Hares on Vancouver Island

✓ Move slowly through the habitat.
✓ In open areas, use binoculars to scope ahead and look for snowshoe hares.
✓ Stalk slowly into your gun range.
✓ Cooperate with other hunters to drive the animal out of cover. They prefer to stay in full cover and don't go out unless you push them out in the open area.
✓ Fresh snow is the best to track hares. They often follow the same paths and leave a well-worn trail, pay attention to the trails to find your hunt.
✓ Snowshoe hares' white coat provides excellent camouflage during winter. Their fur changes its colour in spring and summer, which helps them camouflage with dirt and rocks.

Customize Your Hunting Trip on Vancouver Island


Bear
Cougar
Deer
Elk
Wolf
Duck & Goose
Grouse
Pheasant
Snowshoe Hare
Raccoon
Band-tailed pigeon

Vancouver Island Snowshoe Hare Hunting Common Questions and Answers

Snowshoe hares are safe to eat when they're cooked since rabbits can carry tularemia, bacteria and pass it on through internal organs, be sure to cook it well.
Snowshoe hares are often found in the densest cover day and forage in the open forest by night, making them the coolest places for snowshoe hare hunting. They prefer valley bottom and flat habitats over high elevation steep habitats in northern BC.
They eat the new growth of woody vegetation and herbaceous plants in summer. And during winter, they eat twigs, buds, and bark. Snowshoe hares
Although winter is the best time to hunt rabbits and hares, the opens season for snowshoe hares on Vancouver Island is during August.
The best time of day for snowshoe hare hunting is from 2 p.m. until the end of the day. That is because it will generally warm up during this time, and the rabbits are usually on the move and feeding.
As the most populated and under-hunted small game in North America, people are also interested in hunting them on Vancouver Island.
The price for snowshoe hare hunting starts at $125.
Snowshoe hare hunting is one of the most challenging small game hunts. They are speedy, and due to the pure white colour of their coat during winter, they are almost invisible.
Hunting snowshoe hare doesn't need so much gear. Depending on the season and the weather, your equipment list may vary. Have proper clothes, good boots or snowshoes, a hat, gloves or mittens, a GPS tracker, rifle, trap and snare, a plastic bag, and camping equipment may be on your list.
If you're headed on a winter snowshoe hare hunt, you need some warm and comfortable clothes. It is better to dress in layers. Choose quiet clothing because hares have exceptional hearing. Don't wear a coat or pants that scratch, squeak or otherwise make noise when walking. Wool is an excellent choice. It keeps you warm and does not generate any sound.

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