Today is one of those days I wished I had a shotgun for rabbiting. We usually see more game along the edge of forest with pheasants, squirrels and other critters which Pavel flushes out of the bush. This time, he flushed a lagomorph and gave chase. However, unlike the Vallhund’s previous attempts, the Laika didn’t catch it. While Riley the Vallhund was able to catch rabbits in rainy Vancouver, it was too hot outside (+21C to +23C) to go full-throttle.
Now, it is almost unheard of Laika being used to hunt rabbits. While I am already familiar with “beagling” or “corralling” because of my grandfather, there was very little discussions about how to hare-hunting with a larger dog. However, I know distant cousins and uncles in the northern territories who regularly rabbit with their random-bred huskies by sitting them at the end of the burrow and bolting the hare with smoke; or by training them to sit outside a bush before giving the cue to give chase. So, I asked a friend of mine whose family have had shot rabbits for their beagles, retrievers and Norwegian Elkhounds.
He recommended starting with a 20-gauge shotgun. If lamping is not allowed, then early morning or late evening is the best time to hunt snowshoe hares. Only shoot if one has a clear view of the rabbit and the dog is not closing in on it. With a Laika, not every shot will be taken and the Vallhund would be a better choice for rabbiting since by anatomical design the Vallhund is a slower dog.
He also mentioned smarter breeds which are reared with rabbit-hounds will learn to intercept the hare at the half-circle. So, the dog might be running the hares too close to allow for clear shot. However, hunting on a hot day will slow down the dog significantly. If one is really concerned about shooting a dog, then whistle-stop training should commence to slow down the dog enough to take a safe shot of the quarry.