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When it comes to mating, Arctic hares make a big show of the chase. To get a female’s attention, a male will pester, scratch, box and lick his potential mate in a plea to start a family. Once united, the pair remain together until the baby hares are born. 

Iqaluit photographer Fred Lemire got a close-up glimpse of the ritual last spring. He’d trekked out to his favourite photography spot outside of town when suddenly, one hare, then another, bolted into view. “During the chase, they would sometimes stop and leap four feet into the air to avoid getting punched or scratched,” says Lemire. It went on for 45 minutes—and possibly longer, but the sun went down and Lemire had to head home.

 “The North is mainly about people’s stories, but I picked northern animals for this grand prize,” says Paul Aningat, one of our photo contest judges, who joined us from Arviat, Nunavut. “It seems difficult to recreate the same scene—plus, it’s an amazing shot.” Many thanks to Paul, as well as Yukon photographer Peter Mather and our very own art director, John Pekelsky, for judging Up Here’s annual photo contest. Lemire takes home a Nikon D7200 HD-SLR and lens, courtesy of our sponsors at Nikon.