As a youngster living at home, my family ate hares several times a week, from October through March. We kept beagle dogs for running rabbits and all we ever needed to do was to walk out back, let the dog loose and stand at the ready for the short-legged hound to chase a hare past us.
And then came coyotes and the rest is history. The last time I shot a hare on my woodlot was in the 1980s and since then, even seeing a bunny along the road was a special event.
So you can imagine my surprise when, looking out my window a month or so ago, I spied a hare happily grazing on some clover on my lawn. I was sure the bunny wouldn’t last long, since the woods around me hold many and varied forms of predators. But somehow, the little guy survived and in time, it even became used to me and wouldn’t run when I stepped out on my tiny, front porch.
This went on for some time. One day I heard a noise under my new bedroom and so went out with a flashlight to peer under the house and there was the hare, happily ensconced in the shade and safety afforded by my house. Normally, I would drive any critter away that was so bold as to live under my place. Not this time, though. I just didn’t have the heart.
Then several days ago, in the early morning, I stood by my glass front door and saw the hare eating clover blossoms only four or five feet away. I watched it for some time, marveling at how it rotated its lengthy ears to listen for any signs of danger. It rotated its ears like twin radar antennae and this, too, captivated me. I tapped on the glass and the bunny looked up, saw me and went back to munching on clover. Clearly, it had become used to me.
Then something totally amazing happened. Another hare, this one a bit smaller, bounced out of the nearby woods and ran up to hare number 1. Hare 1 immediately jumped in the air and ran at the interloper, driving it back in the woods lickety-split.
Hare number 2 hasn’t returned, at least as far as I know. I suspect it is a litter mate of hare number 1, but of a different gender. Or maybe not. It’s hard to know about hares.
With two hares living near (and under) my house, it seems a sure thing that soon, there will be more.
I shall soon purchase some Hare Off, an organic product that really works in keeping hares and other critters out of the garden. Even if the hare(s) do some damage, I will never do anything to harm them. I’m only too happy to see my old friends back after all these years.
Be fruitful, hares, and prosper.
An avid writer and naturalist, Tom writes four regular columns and a multitude of features. He wrote a long running award winning column "Waldo County Outdoors" and a garden column for Courier Publications