Sleet and snow stung my face. A foot of powder covered the ground and the wind whipped through the spruce forest.  For a moment I let my thoughts drift to the low country, where spring was on its way.  Here at 4,500 feet, however, winter showed no sign of retreat. The bay of hounds suddenly reminded my frigid fingers why we were there. I was accompanying Bob Beahm, former school principal turned hunting guide, and his skilled beagles on a hunt for snowshoe hares. The dogs were hot on the trail of a bounding white rabbit, and their howls were…
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Rabbits Run in February

Sunday, February 02 2014 3:00 pm - for Small Game
February is the time of year when small game hunting seasons are the sportsman's only focus — a time to join some rabbit-hunting friends in pursuit of cottontails. Beagles will chase the rabbits using their instinctive drive, and the hunters will move to cut them off. The hunt will demand an early start, and vigorous activity as sportsmen walk the land and enjoy pulse-quickening excitement when the rabbits are running. Rabbit hunting can usually involve a small pack of beagles. Their keen noses can pick up the faint scent of the cottontail. The pack, when fully engaged, can sound like a…
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If you're looking to extend your hunting now that deer seasons have mostly closed, consider an outing focused on the humble cottontail. In many states rabbits are open through February or later. And contrary to what you might have heard, you don't need a pack of beagles to successfully hunt this quarry. Exciting sport can be enjoyed just working through the woods, fields and brushy areas either alone or with a friend or two. Of course if you have access to a good pack of beagles, by all means let them accompany you on the hunt and flush out the…
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Snowshoe Hares the Hard Way

Tuesday, January 07 2014 6:00 am - for Small Game
Winter in the north can be an awfully long season. Ice fishing, tying flies and the planning of hunts certainly make it more enjoyable, but sometimes even these things won't cure cabin fever. That's when I go hunting for snowshoe hares.   Contrary to tradition, author Steve Galea prefers a .22 rifle over a shotgun when snowshoe hare hunting. Some hunters wouldn't dream of hunting hares without at least one beagle. There's no doubt that a good rabbit dog adds to the experience on many levels. The tonguing of a trusty hound hot on a hare's trail is a type…
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Squeeze-Play Rabbits

Saturday, November 09 2013 6:00 am - for Small Game
The effort succeeds because of teamwork. Each team member has a specified role to play, and if he does his job properly, the team scores. It's the old squeeze play. The runner is on third base. The pitcher winds up and throws. The runner breaks for home on the pitch. The batter bunts. The runner scores and the crowd goes wild. The effort succeeds because of teamwork. Each team member has a specified role to play, and if he does his job properly, the team scores. A successful squeeze play results not from individual actions, but from a team effort.…
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Steps to Prevent Rabbit Fever

Thursday, April 11 2013 12:00 pm - for Small Game
Rabbit hunting is about as fun as it gets when it comes to hunting small game. Memories of my childhood days, when all I had to do was grab my single shot Stevens 12-gauge shotgun, head out the door of the old farm house, wake my sleeping beagle from the front porch and hit the fencerows to find bunnies still inspire me. Those experiences are some of my fondest childhood memories. However, I still remember, too, the warnings my Dad used to give my brother and me about watching for sick rabbits. “You don’t want to get rabbit fever,” he…
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Rabbit Hunting 101

Wednesday, February 27 2013 6:00 am - for Small Game
There's no doubt about it: chasing rabbits is fantastic sport. Hunting cottontails may lack the sudden explosiveness of quail hunting or the mesmerism of a green-timber mallard hunt at dawn, but it has an immeasurable allure all its own. If you carefully pick the coverts you visit, you can be fairly certain you'll bag at least a few rabbits, making each day a success. Thus, rabbit hunting is a great way to introduce youngsters and novices to hunting. Chances of gathering enough rabbits for several tasty meals are excellent as well. And whether you hunt with or without dogs, you'll…
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12 Tips for Rabbit Hunters

Wednesday, February 20 2013 11:00 am - for Small Game
Although most rabbit hunters bag a few cottontails or swamp rabbits on each trip afield, certain techniques can bolster your success. These 12 tips should help you better enjoy the experience of rabbit hunting this season. Leapfrogging Rabbit hunting is a great way to get afield and put some good-tasting meat on the table. As farming operations and urban development encroach on prime rabbit hunting areas, large contiguous blocks of hunting territory are harder to find. This has caused many rabbit hunters to abandon the traditional method of hunting all day in one large swath of brushy territory.  Instead, many…
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Hounding Bunnies

Friday, December 14 2012 12:00 am - for Small Game
At the roar of my single-barrel 12-gauge Stevens shotgun, an enormous cloud of dry October dust enveloped the cottontail rabbit bounding full speed across my Dad's cut soybean field. Rowdy, the family beagle, had pushed the bunny out of a maze of wild cane and blackberry tangles which served as a border between the neighbor's farm and ours. Rowdy disappeared into the dust cloud and proudly emerged with the bunny in his mouth. The chubby little beagle mix and I celebrated our good fortune with my shouts of "good boy, Rowdy," and a healthy dose of ear rubbing for him.…
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