Snowshoe Hare Population Explosion!

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Denali, Photos, Travel, Wildlife 7 Comments

Snowshoe Hares

Eight snowshoe hares in a short section of road in Denali National Park, Alaska.

Two years ago I spent a fair amount of time photographing hares, as it seemed the population had peaked.  Last year I was surprised to find even more, but this year the number of hares was nothing short of unbelievable!  Driving the road in evenings and mornings was literally was a challenge, often they wouldn’t move from the road and you would have to drive around them.  Dozens were killed by cars everyday making easy pickings for other wildlife.  One wolf in particular seemed to walk the road every evening just eating road killed hares.

I understand there was a population explosion like this in Denali in the early 70’s, but the peaks since then have been far smaller.  It will be interesting to see what happens next year, typically the population will completely crash, and finding any hares becomes a challenge for years.

I make the long drive home last night after an fun and productive trip.  I have more stuff to share over the next few days. 

Comments 7

  1. I guess it’s all good for the wolves as long as it lasts. Oh and for photographers as well. Will look forward to seeing more snowshoe images.

  2. Great picture, Ron. To me it’s pretty sad that a car would intentionally run over one of these cute critters. I know some are probably hit by mistake, but I’ve been in dozens of situations where I almost ran over an animal, & I was always able to avoid hitting one. I’ve been in the car before with people who don’t even try to miss the animal. They just run right over it thinking it has no feelings. I have been in many heated discussions because of that. Hope these cute little critters don’t become road kill. Stay safe, as always!!

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    Thanks Paul!

    Hi Beth,

    Thanks. I know what you are saying, it is unfortunate. I hope most of the dead ones were accidents, but you never know. I’m sure the buses hit a lot of them – they have a schedule to keep, and didn’t seem to slow down as much as I did, so they probably couldn’t help but hit some – I’m sure their passengers weren’t happy when they did!


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  5. Hi Ron,

    Looks like you and Janine had another great trip! I saw your note on NSN saying that the front of th park was exceptional when you visited.

    Dana and I are heading up there Tues- 2 nights in Riley due to lack of other options and then 3 in Tek. We’re excited since you had such a good report. I may not even bother with the bus as I’m keen on spotting a lynx. Dana saw one last year in Sept during the lottery.


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    Hi Tim,

    Great to hear from you! Sounds like you are making great use of that camper – you should have a great trip. I saw tons of sign around the Savage Campground, and heard of numerous sighting. This is where I saw my lynx. The Tek Campground area should be great as well – I have seen them near there in the past. I would love to go back just to work those forests.

    Have fun and let me know how it went.


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