Milan's Linate airport was closed early Sunday while 200 hunters tried to outfox scores of hares infesting its runways.
The operation was ordered after hares became tangled in aircraft landing gear twice in recent weeks.
Officials say at least 80 hares are living on the airport grounds, confusing radar equipment and endangering flights taking off and landing.
"We have in the airport a security system which is activated by hares running past. Other risks could be hares being hit by aircraft or vehicles moving in the airport," Director of Operations at Linate Airport, Captain Marco Alberti, told AP Television.
At dawn 200 local officials, police and volunteers took to the tarmac, shouting, waving and clapping at the hares to get them to run into four kilometres of netting strung along the runways.
Around 40 hares were captured and put into boxes for transfer to nature reserves in the Milan area "where hunting is strictly forbidden," said Alberto Grancini, an official from the local Department of Hunting and Fishing.
Hare is a traditional dish in northern Italy.
Twelve flights were rescheduled to allow the hunt to take place before the airport re-opened at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT)
"The airlines informed passengers in advance so we avoided any inconvenience for passengers. The airlines re-planned their flights and operations restarted, as planned, on time," Alberti said.