Written by Yanni K
Having spoken to a grape grower closer to home who was having trouble with hares chewing through irrigation pipes on another property in Moama, we planned a trip to head up there and see if we could shoot a few. We woke up early and were on the road by 3.30am hoping to make it there just on sunrise at 7am, stopping briefly in Echuca just before the border to grab a pie for breakfast. Arriving just after 7, we met up with the property manager who lived there. She was an extremely nice lady and had even gone to the effort of creating a map of the farm so we knew where to go, which saved us time of exploring the property. We soon came across the vines where we were told the hares would sit in between the rows in the shade. I parked the car and began to prepare.
My tool of choice for hares is my 1974 VG Bentley 12 gauge Side by side with Full and 3/4 choke through 28 inch barrels. An old field gun which I picked up last year for 200 Australian dollars, a real bargain if you ask me! I was running 32gr Winchester Ranger in #3 for when the hares took off, and 36gr GB Express in #4 for when they were already on the run. Well we began seeing several hares sitting in between the rows, yet some were a bit far and needed to be crept up on, giving us a small time frame to shoot them before they darted under the vines to the next row. Slowly, slowly I began seeing more hares, and my aim was pretty good being able to drop a hare on the run past 50m.
With four hares already to take home, we stopped for a quick snack and drink at about 9.30 and then went straight back to it. My mate who came with me was doing terrible and had not shot one, so he went and waited over a set of rabbit warrens and shot a few rabbits while I kept patrolling the vineyards. Slowly I got to seven hares, which was my personal best to date but I had to break it and get the eighth. I saw one about 150m from me on the edge of a row near the paddock. I crept up ever so slowly to him and let him run into the paddock when I was about 30m away. When he was about 50m away, the #4 GB Express sent him tumbling.
I was absolutely stocked at the amount of hares I had hunted and the meat that I would have. The fact that I had not yet hunted the other half of the farm occurred to me but I didn’t bother, since I would surely be back to hunt some more and did not want to disturb them. Needless to say both we and the farmers were extremely happy; we were welcomed back any time, and we would gladly help out again. That is the story of my best hare hunting trip so far, but I hope there are many more to come!
Yanni is a keen conservation hunter who is always keen to lend a hand to farmers in need. Do you have a similar story? Send it in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org