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Deep Snow Hare Hunting In Alberta, Canada

by Derrick Tappin

Sometimes in Alberta we will get record snowfalls, but that never stops us from hare hunting. We will go out with our hounds in just about any type of weather, as long as it is not past 20 below zero. This day there was about 24 inches of snowfall from the night before and my biggest hound is only 14 inches tall, so you can imagine what type of a day it was going to be. Regardless of the amount of snow, the temperature was only 10 below zero, but it was a very nice sunny morning with lots of fresh hare tracks on the ground.

The snow was a little crispy but it was still very light, and when the hounds ran through it they looked like miniature deer running about and bounding up and down like a carousel. I was running three of my hounds and we were also running a few friends hounds that were not use to the deep snow, they were like a couple of kids playing for the first bit then they started to get serious about jumping some hares. My hounds were running a hare and when the hare came across the line we noticed he was having about as much trouble getting through the deep snow as the dogs were having.

The chase was on, and the dogs were determined to get this one, even though the dogs were way behind him because of all of the deep snow. They ran this hare for a bout 2 hours, and then we finally got a good shot and took him down. The dogs proceeded to hunt and to our surprise they were on another one in no time. We were shocked that the hounds were making it through all of the deep snow. I knew my hounds would run but I did not think that they would go with such drive and determination. The fact that the snow was so deep, didn't seem to bother them or even hurt the scenting conditions which were the amazing part of this story.

I was out hunting for about 5 hours that day and I have never seen my hounds work so hard, with so little, for virtually nothing. They only ran 4 hare that day and we shot 3 of the 4. We were not at all disappointed in the hounds! They have run in just about all conditions, and I think that this snowfall was the worst one yet. The running just seemed to get better as the snow was melting down to about normal height which is about 15 inches deep.

But the fact of the matter is that people should get their hounds out in these bad conditions and run them until they do not want to run anymore. Believe me when I say that you will not hurt them at all. In fact, they are tuff little soldiers and they will let you know when there’s no hope for hunting.

The more you run them, the better your hounds will get as snow runners. Also, it does not matter how old your hound is. I say take pups out as soon as they can walk properly. Let your pup get use to these harsh conditions so that it will be able to handle them later in life. I was running two hounds that I got from a fellow named Dan Brinsky. One was 11 months old and the other was 6 months. My older hound Echo Boy is a real veteran with 6 hunting seasons behind him already. Old to young it does not matter get them out there if you want experienced hounds that will be familiar with all of the worst winter conditions.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).