This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
We have no rabbits in America, although the animals called rabbits - but really hares - are sufficiently plentiful to afford good sport with dogs, in the fall and early winter. It may be of interest to note here that the principal specific differences between bares and rabbits, are that the former breed twice a year only, and make their forms upon the ground under the shelter of bushes or tufts of grass, weeds, or brake, while the latter breed once a month and are burrowing animals, making their hiding-places underground and in company on the sides of dry banks, the places being called "warrens."
The larger hare, which changes its color in the winter, is abundant in the Eastern States, Northern New York, Canada, and the wooded portions of the North-western States. The writer has had excellent sport in the wooded regions of the northern peninsula of Michigan and the adjoining part of Wisconsin, in the early fall, when a few sharp frosts have caused the woods previously dressed in their gorgeous habits of crimson and gold, to drop their foliage and admit the light of day without interference. The most useful dog in such a case, is a setter trained for this especial work, taught to beat the ground properly, point his game, to range low and to retrieve well.
The Small Bare, which does not change color in the winter, affords good sport in the fall, in the cultivated country further south, in open woods, stubble fields, and meadows. For hare shooting alone, a pair of small beagles are to be preferred. The pace of these little hounds is comparatively slow, but they will follow up their game tirelessly through all their doublings and twistings, and will always bring them back to the starting point. Here, covered by a stump, a tree, or a bush, the sportsman stands still, waiting for the return of the game, and listening, meanwhile, to the small music of these melodious little animals during the few minutes the circuit is making. The cry of the hounds will inform the hunter of the direction in which to look for the game, and unless he remains perfectly motionless, without doing more than breathing quietly, and even scarcely winking, he will find the wary and suspicious animal to dart away suddenly, or to steal off unobserved within a few paces under cover of the smallest possible shelter. Sometimes a spoken word, an ejaculation, or a whistle will arrest the fugitive, and give time for an effective shot, almost at point-blank range. With a number of guns in a well furnished covert, and a few couple of beagles, lively sport can be bad.
The ground best adapted for this sport, and where plenty of game is to be found, is in ranges of scrub oaks, pine barrens, and low bushy thickets, such as occur in many places on Long Island, Southern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and the "old fields" of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.