If you happen to don’t know hunt rabbits otherwise you haven’t hunted them shortly and wish a refresher, I envy you a bit of. Bunny searching is all the time a great time, however getting began or restarted at chasing rabbits is normally stuffed with surprises too. Shock at how a lot motion will be had from a handful of hedgerows or briar patches. Shock a how obtainable and simple all of it is. And shock, for positive, when a cottontail bolts from beneath your ft and the taking pictures begins, and, hit and miss, you notice how a lot enjoyable you’ve been lacking. So, let’s get began. Under is a whole information to rabbit searching, with or and not using a canine, plus every little thing else you must know to start out busting some bunnies.

Rabbit Looking: The place to Discover Rabbits

All you really want to find out about discovering rabbits and hares will be summed up in three phrases: Low. Brushy. Cowl. If which means farm hedgerows choked with honeysuckle and wild grape or an outdated junkyard grown over in grass and briars, you’ll in all probability kick out a cottontail. If it means cedar shrubs in a boreal forest, you’ll possible see a snowshoe hare. Sagebrush and prairie grasses? In all probability a jackrabbit. The underside line is that any patch or thicket that’s dense sufficient to cover a rabbit from land-based predators and affords sufficient overhead cowl to maintain avian predators at bay is an effective place to attempt to kick up a rabbit or hare.

Rabbit Looking With out a Canine

Discover a good thicket and even an overgrown junkyard and also you’re in for a great day of rabbit searching. Raphye Alexius through Getty Pictures

Once you’re searching rabbits and not using a canine, you need to be the canine. You should stomp each brush pile and rattle each blowdown. Go away no briar patch untouched. That, or you need to slip round so stealthily that you simply see the rabbit earlier than it sees you. Each strategies are enjoyable. You may stomp sooner or later and sneak the subsequent. However why not mix them and hunt all day? Right here’s your dawn-to-dusk, step-by-step plan for hunt rabbits and not using a canine.

Step 1: Snipe rabbits at daybreak.

At first gentle, take out a binocular and glass new timber cuts, patches of just lately burned woods, or the perimeters of fields and meals plots. Rabbits want high-quality forage all fall and thru the winter, and saplings and twigs in regenerating areas and inexperienced progress in burns or plots will hold bunnies feeding for the primary hour of daylight. Stalk any rabbits which have ventured into the open. It’s not a foul thought to pack a scoped .22 rifle in your automobile, together with a shotgun. You may swap out firearms after the first-light sniper work.

A scoped Ruger 10-.22 rifle
Maintain a scoped .22 rifle useful for recognizing and stalking rabbits at first and final gentle. Ruger Ruger

Step 2: Work the perimeters after sunup.

Rabbits will retreat to close by cowl as soon as the solar has been up for a bit. So seize a shotgun and work over each tangle of hedgerow brush and field-edge bramble, and stomp on each pile of timber slash. Rabbits will use these as protected havens, however you’ll have an open shot if you push them out of the thickets.

Step 3: Hit the excessive floor for loafing bunnies.

Subsequent, transfer to dense cowl the place rabbits retreat to whereas away the noon hours. Excessive floor alongside creeks and swamps are a great wager. Brambles and thickets flourish within the elevated daylight alongside waterways, giving rabbits good cowl near accessible ingesting water. The going will likely be powerful and briary, however rabbits dislodged from these hideaways are hemmed in by the water and have fewer choices for escape. Submit shooters upstream and downstream of the thickest cowl on the creek, and ship in whoever is carrying the hardest pants.

Any open, sunny hillsides with sufficient low grassy or brushy cowl to cover a bunny are nice bets now, too, as loafing rabbits will absorb the nice and cozy rays. If you happen to’ve obtained a buddy, work throughout the hillside, one hunter excessive and one low. Bunnies bumped by the hunter above will normally bolt downhill to the hunter beneath.

Step 4: Hunt hunkered-down rabbits close to dwelling.

Previous homesteads, barns, and gear junkyards are sometimes deserted and ignored for years, and the dense cowl together with hidey holes beneath rotting flooring and rusting tractors will be bunny heaven. Don’t go them up, particularly if these covers are set in the midst of fields or pastures. Submit up gunners 20 yards from the corners of barns and sheds, and ship the beaters in. Rabbits will race alongside the perimeters of outdated homes and barns, then jet away from the ruckus into simple shotgun vary.

Step 5: Stage mini-drives for woods bunnies.

When you’ve labored fields, creeks, and brushy hillsides, hit the woods. Two hunters transferring slowly about 30 yards aside is commonplace observe for leaping and taking pictures rabbits and not using a beagle pack, however there’s a greater manner. Have one hunter transfer quietly ahead by the woods for 30 to 40 yards, then publish up and keep nonetheless, gun on the prepared. The opposite hunter then strikes ahead in a zigzag sample whereas looping out to at least one facet after which again to the stander, shaking brambles and stomping blowdowns to kick recreation ahead to the opposite gunner. Repeat as essential.

Step 6: Take a stand for last-light rabbits.

As the sunshine fades in late afternoon, make your manner again to a meals plot, latest burn, or new cutover. Rabbits will begin to transfer into these open areas to feed once more, so it’s time once more to glass and stalk as taking pictures gentle winds down. If you happen to comply with the plan above, you need to finish the day the place you started—near the truck the place your rimfire awaits. And when you may need misplaced a pound or three in sweat and blood, a bunny-filled recreation bag ought to greater than even the rating.

Rabbit Looking With Canine

photo of how to hunt rabbits with dogs
Beagles are by far the most typical rabbit and snowshoe hare searching canine, they usually make good companions, too. Getty Pictures

Looking rabbits with canine may be very easy—if another person owns the canine. When that’s the case, you just about simply anticipate the canine to run a rabbit previous you and you then shoot it or, not less than, at it. For the canine homeowners, although, working rabbits is a severe enterprise that includes selecting good canine—sometimes beagles and sometimes a complete pack—coaching them, and searching with them usually sufficient to make all of it value it.

Working beagles for snowshoe hares was an enormous deal the place I grew up, and to separate the work of it, the members of some massive farming households would elevate and prepare a beagle or two every after which get collectively on the weekends to hunt all collectively. It was a cool custom, and one that also holds on in my dwelling city and in lots of different locations throughout the nation. The best way to hunt rabbits with canine sometimes breaks down like this.

1. Launch the Canine Into Good Rabbit Cowl

You may, theoretically, hunt rabbits alone with only one canine, nevertheless it works higher with not less than a number of of every and normally a number of extra hunters than canine. Usually, severe rabbit hunters will launch three or extra beagles right into a patch of promising cowl, preferable a mixture of thickets and extra open areas. The canine will normally unfold out a bit of as they comb the most effective holding cowl, checking blowdowns and brush piles, till they leap a rabbit. After they do, they’ll begin yipping and howling, and the pack will come again collectively on the path. If the rabbit places sufficient distance on the canine, they might go quiet for a bit, however as soon as they shut the hole, they’ll begin singing once more.

2. When the Canine Sing, Unfold Out and Take a Stand

Novice rabbit hunters will typically need to comply with the canine or attempt to get forward of them after they hit a path. Nevertheless it’s essential to keep in mind that rabbits have pretty small dwelling ranges that they’re loath to depart. Earlier than lengthy, they’ll circle again to the realm the place they had been jumped. So, when the canine discover a rabbit, it’s greatest for the hunters to easily unfold out in a tough semi-circle a protected distance away from each other and wait, listening to the canine, and conserving their eyes peeled.

3. Be Affected person and Wait

Ideally, you need to put your self in a spot that’s open sufficient for good taking pictures, but additionally has sufficient cowl that the rabbit gained’t circle again into the thicker brush earlier than it will get to you. If the chase goes on some time, you may reposition some, however usually you’re taking a stand, like a poster on a deer drive. Any time you hear the canine transferring your manner, you must be on excessive alert, prepared for a rabbit to seem.

4. Choose Your Pictures

People who find themselves searching rabbits with canine for the primary time naturally fear that the canine will likely be too tight on the rabbit’s tail to make for protected taking pictures. However sometimes, the rabbit is effectively forward of the canine. Nonetheless, you must choose your pictures. Make certain the rabbit is effectively clear, and even whether it is, by no means shoot within the course of the canine. The nice factor is that in one of these searching, it’s simple to watch out and affected person, as a result of the rabbit you go on might very effectively come circling again round and offer you one other probability.

Rabbits Looking Weapons and Hundreds

photo of two popular guns for how to hunt rabbits
Two of the most well-liked rabbit searching weapons ever—the Remington 870 in 20 gauge and the Ruger 10/22 Carbine.

One of many issues I like most about rabbit searching is that the weapons concerned are so cool. Or not less than they are often. Studying hunt rabbits doesn’t actually require something specifically by way of a shotgun, which implies you need to use nearly any mannequin you want. If you happen to’re new to it, simply take no matter shotgun you might have or can borrow. If you happen to’re a little bit of a shotgun nut, alternatively, it’s the proper excuse to bust out an outdated basic pump or auto or beater side-by-side that has sentimental worth. My present favourite bunny weapons (this might change) are an Ithaca Mannequin 37 Featherlight 16-gauge, and Remington 1100 Particular Discipline 20, and an SKB Mannequin 100 20-gauge side-by-side. I’ve a buddy who use a 20-gauge H&R Topper single-shot, only for nostalgia’s sake. Identical goes for .22s. A Ruger 10/22 is about excellent for rabbit searching, nevertheless it’s additionally actually enjoyable the bust out that outdated Marlin 39A or Winchester 9422 lever-action or an historic Remington Mannequin 12 pump or basic Nylon 66.

Identical goes for ammo. You don’t want something fancy. Twelve or 20-gauge recreation a great deal of 6 or 7 1/2 shot are commonplace fare. For extra skilled hunters, a 28-gauge or .410 present a bit of further problem. For .22 LR ammo, any high quality 40-grain hollow-point or round-nose searching load will do the job simply superb.

Learn Subsequent: The ten Greatest Shotguns for Looking Rabbits

4 Nice Causes to Begin Rabbit Looking

If you happen to’re nonetheless not satisfied, let me attempt to persuade you. As a result of I needed to be satisfied a bit of. Once I was in highschool, there was a snowshoe hare or a cottontail rabbit beneath each third bush. My brothers and I shot and ate so many who I finally swore off taking pictures or consuming one other. Bunnies would spring from hedgerows and bounce from cedar bushes round me, and I’d simply hold strolling, in search of a grouse to shoot.

Many years later, a buddy on our deer lease invited me to hunt cottontails with him after the deer season was over. I informed him no thanks at first, however he stored after me. And finally, I believed What the heck? and went—and was just about blown away by that hunt. I’d forgotten how a lot enjoyable rabbit searching will be and the way a lot there’s to like about it. So, let me depend the methods—and the explanations you need to go.

1. Rabbit Looking Is Enjoyable

Some forms of searching require endurance or exhausting work however the reward makes all of it value it. Different forms of searching are simply pure enjoyable, from begin to end. Rabbit searching is the later. You go for a pleasant stroll with a buddy or two, you bounce bunnies alongside the best way, and also you get numerous taking pictures within the discount. To me, that is motive No. 1 to discover ways to hunt rabbits.

2. Rabbit Looking Is Simple

Bunny searching can get sophisticated when you resolve to coach and run canine, however for many hunters it’s so simple as placing on an orange vest, grabbing no matter shotgun is useful, and strolling alongside some hedgerows or by some thickets, stomping right here and there. It doesn’t require any particular abilities or specialised gear, and nearly anybody can do it.

3. Rabbit Looking is Excellent for Rookies

As a result of is very easy, and since the gear necessities are so few, and since it could present numerous motion with strong odds of success, rabbit searching is ideal for newbie hunters. And that simply provides to the enjoyable. Serving to a child or new hunter get their first rabbit is even higher than getting one your self.

4. Rabbits Are Scrumptious to Eat

A contemporary cottontail rabbit, cooked proper, is pretty much as good to eat as any wild recreation and higher than most something. If you wish to argue that squirrel or wild turkey or venison backstrap is healthier, I suppose that’s cheap, however there’s a good probability you’ll lose the argument.

Rabbits and Hares: The Most Generally Hunted Species

Cottontail Rabbits

photo of a cottontail rabbit
A cottontail rabbit in summer time.

There are 27 species on cottontail rabbits within the Americas, 9 of which reside all all through the Unites States. Consequently, the overwhelming majority of hunters on this nation can discover a cottontail of 1 selection or one other inside driving distance of dwelling, whether or not it’s the Jap, Appalachian, or New England cottontail of the East, the swamp rabbit of the South, or the mountain or desert cottontail of the West, amongst others.

Snowshoe Hares

A snowshoe hair in the woods in the snow.
Snowshoe hares are brown for many of the yr, however their coats flip white through the winter. {Photograph} courtesy of Denali Nationwide Park/Flickr

Within the continental United States, snowshoe hares will be present in elements of the Northeast and New England, down into Appalachia; elements of the Higher Midwest; and in mountainous areas of the Northwest. North of that, they’re present in Alaska and each Canadian province. Snowshoes are also referred to as various hares as a result of their coat adjustments from brown to white within the winter. Snowshoe populations are cyclical, with peaks averaging each 10 years or so.

Jackrabbits

photo of a black-tailed jackrabbit
A black-tail jackrabbit loafing in a grassy meadow. PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

Jackrabbits roam all through the western half of the U.S., from the plains states to the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. White-tailed jackrabbits dominate the northern half of that vary, black-tailed jackrabbits the southern half, with some overlap. Jackrabbits are massive, with some stretching greater than 2 ft lengthy and weighing as much as 10 kilos. And if that weren’t sufficient to offer them away, their extra-long ears will.

The best way to Keep Secure Whereas Rabbit Looking

Bunny searching is simpler and enjoyable with a buddy or two. However each time you might have a number of hunters working collectively in tight areas, you must be further cautious. Listed below are three good issues to recollect.

  • Be seen. Everybody within the group ought to put on each a hunter-orange vest and hat. You need to have the ability to see one another even within the thickest cowl.
  • Be heard. At any time when cowl or terrain prevents you from seeing each other, hold in fixed contact by whistling or speaking backwards and forwards. Once you leap a rabbit, give a yell. It tells your buddies to get able to shoot, and it lets them know precisely the place you might be.
  • Be good. Any time you make a plan, for a brand new part of woods or patch of canopy, ensure you focus on and nail down protected taking pictures lanes. Saying it aloud will assist cement it in everybody’s head. Now go kick up some bunnies.

FAQs

Q: What’s the greatest time of day to hunt rabbits?

Rabbits are most lively within the early morning and late afternoon. However you may nonetheless leap rabbits from cowl all through the day.

Q: The place can I discover rabbits within the woods?

Search for brushy cowl, swamps, latest burns, power-line cuts, or just lately logged areas. Rabbits want brush and piles of sticks to cover beneath, they usually feed on roots and bark through the winter. You too can anticipate contemporary snow and search for rabbit tracks within the woods.

Q: The place must you not hunt rabbits?

Keep away from old-growth forests or areas with none brush and canopy. Rabbits want locations to cover from predators like coyotes and birds of prey. Extensive-open floor with out issues like brush piles is inhospitable to rabbits.

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