If you have an unfilled buck or doe tag, you still have another deer hunting opportunity when the post holiday late archery, flintlock and extended firearms season gets underway. The latter, however, is only open in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and it closes Jan. 25.
As for archery, the season ends Jan. 20 statewide except in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D which closes Jan. 25.
The flintlock season also closes Jan. 20 except in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D that has a Jan. 25 closing date.
For those who have filled their deer tags, there’s still small game to hunt. For squirrels, pheasants and rabbits, their season begins Dec. 26 and runs until Feb. 29. There’s also snowshoe hare, the neat white (in winter) rabbits with larger feet and longer ears than a cottontail. They also have a short hunting season that ends Jan. 3 and carries a one rabbit daily limit with three in possession. The reason for this is because of their small population and that’s primarily due to habitat loss and predation by foxes, coyotes, bobcats, weasels and some hawks and owls according to the PGC. They also succumb to diseases, parasites and of course hunting.
The snowshoe hare has a brown coat in summer that turns white in winter. It gets its name because the bottoms of their toes and soles are covered with course hair that grows long in winter making snowshoes of sorts. That allows them to support their bodies in deep snow and gives them traction on icy crusts says the PGC.
Unlike most cottontails, snowshoe hares prefer a mix of deciduous forests with conifers and and escape cover like rhododendron and mountain laurel. They can also live in swamps where cedar, spruce or tamarack grow. Hares will take to dense stands of aspen or poplar mixed in with pines. In Penn’s Woods, they’re usually found in high country with ridge tops, mountains, high swamps and plateaus.
And they are fast when spooked. They can run up to 30 mph on ground or snow and can leap 10 feet in one bound. Like cottontails when they are chased, hares run in circles but make a larger circle than a cottontail.
If I was ever lucky to get one, I’d take the meat then have it mounted because they are far and few between. If you feel the same, here are some words of advice from Bob Danenhower of Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield.
According to Danenhower, hare’s skin is very thin, and because of that, they’re very difficult to mount. He cautions to be careful not to inadvertently cut it at several places because it’s tough to sew the holes because of its thinness. Danenhower also says, “Before field dressing it, try not to get blood on the fur as it’s a devil to get out. Place a paper towel in its mouth to absorb any blood and hang it from its hind legs so any liquid can drain through its nose.” Good advice from a seasoned pro who has mounted a good many of them over the years.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.