When you don’t know how you can hunt rabbits otherwise you haven’t hunted them shortly and want a refresher, I envy you just a little. Bunny searching is all the time a very good time, however getting began or restarted at chasing rabbits is normally stuffed with surprises too. Shock at how a lot motion may be had from a handful of hedgerows or briar patches. Shock a how accessible and simple all of it is. And shock, for certain, when a cottontail bolts from below 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. Beneath is a whole information on how you can hunt rabbits with or with out a canine, plus all the things else it’s essential know to begin busting some bunnies.

Find out how to Hunt Rabbits: The place to Discover Them

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 If meaning farm hedgerows choked with honeysuckle and wild grape or an outdated junkyard grown over in grass and briars, you’ll in all probability kick out a cottontail.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

Learn Subsequent: The ten Finest Shotguns for Looking Rabbits

Find out how to Hunt Rabbits With out a Canine

Discover a good thicket or perhaps a junkyard and also you’re in for a very good day of rabbit searching. Raphye Alexius through Getty Photos

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

Step 1: Snipe rabbits at daybreak.

At first mild, take out a binocular and glass new timber cuts, patches of just lately burned woods, or the sides of fields and meals plots. Winter rabbits want high-quality forage, and saplings and twigs in regenerating areas and inexperienced progress in burns or plots will preserve 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 car, together with a shotgun. You’ll be able to 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 mild. Ruger Ruger

Step 2: Work the sides 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 secure havens, however you’ll have an open shot while 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 very good guess. Brambles and thickets flourish within the elevated daylight alongside waterways, giving rabbits good cowl near accessible consuming water. The going might be powerful and briary, however rabbits dislodged from these hideaways are hemmed in by the water and have fewer choices for escape. Put up shooters upstream and downstream of the thickest cowl on the creek, and ship in whoever is carrying the hardest pants.

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

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

Step 5: Stage mini-drives for woods bunnies.

When you’ve labored fields and creeks, hit the woods. Two hunters shifting slowly about 30 yards aside is normal follow for leaping and taking pictures rabbits with out a beagle pack, however there’s a greater manner. Have one hunter transfer quietly ahead by way of the woods for 30 to 40 yards, then put up 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 sport ahead to the opposite gunner. Repeat as obligatory.

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

As the sunshine fades in late afternoon, make your manner again to a meals plot, current 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 mild winds down. When you comply with the plan above, you must finish the day the place you started—near the truck the place your rimfire awaits. And whilst you may need misplaced a pound or three in sweat and blood, a bunny-filled sport bag ought to greater than even the rating.

Find out how to Hunt Rabbits With Canine

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

Looking rabbits with canines may be very easy—if another person owns the canines. If that’s the case, you just about simply await the canines to run a rabbit previous you and then you definately shoot it or, at the least, at it. For the canine homeowners, although, operating rabbits is a critical enterprise that entails selecting good canines—sometimes beagles and infrequently an entire pack—coaching them, and searching with them typically sufficient to make all of it value it.

Operating 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 increase 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 residence city and in lots of different locations throughout the nation. Find out how to hunt rabbits with canines sometimes breaks down like this.

1. Launch the Canine Into Good Rabbit Cowl

You’ll be able to, theoretically, hunt rabbits alone with only one canine, but it surely works higher with at the least a number of of every and normally a couple of extra hunters than canines. Most often, critical 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 canines will normally unfold out just a little as they comb one of the best holding cowl, checking blowdowns and brush piles, till they leap a rabbit. After they do, they’ll begin yipping and howling, they usually pack will collectively on the path. If the rabbit places sufficient distance on the canines, 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 canines or attempt to get forward of them after they hit a path. But it surely’s essential to do not forget that rabbits have pretty small residence ranges that they’re loath to depart. Earlier than lengthy, they are going to circle again to the realm the place they have been jumped. So, when the canines leap a rabbit, it’s greatest for the hunters to easily unfold out in a tough semi-circle a secure distance away from each other and wait, listening to the canines, and maintaining your 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, however with 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 would possibly reposition some, however usually you take a stand, like a poster on a deer drive. Any time you hear the canines shifting your manner, it’s essential be on excessive alert.

4. Choose Your Pictures

People who find themselves searching rabbits with canines for the primary time naturally fear that the canines might be too tight on the rabbit’s tail to make for secure taking pictures. However sometimes, the rabbit is nicely forward of the canines, typically by 50 yards or extra. That stated, you continue to have to choose your photographs. Ensure the rabbit is nicely away from the canines, and even whether it is, by no means shoot within the course of the canines both. The nice factor is that in this sort of hunter, it’s straightforward to watch out and endurance, as a result of the rabbit you cross on might very nicely come circling again round and offer you one other likelihood.

Find out how to Hunt Rabbits: Weapons and Hundreds

photo of two popular guns for how to hunt rabbits
Two of the preferred rabbit searching weapons ever—the Remington 870 in 20 gauge and the Ruger 1022 Carbine.

One of many issues I like most about rabbit searching is that the weapons concerned are so cool. Or at the least they are often. Studying how you can hunt rabbits doesn’t actually require something particularly by way of a shotgun, which implies you need to use nearly any shotgun you want. When you’re new to it, simply take no matter shotgun you might have or can borrow. Or, if you happen to’re a little bit of a shotgun nut, it’s the proper excuse to bust out an outdated basic pump gun or beater side-by-side. I’ve a buddy who use a 20-gauge H&R Topper single-shot, only for nostalgia’s sake. Similar goes for .22s. A Ruger 10-22 is about excellent for rabbit searching, but it surely’s additionally actually enjoyable the bust out that outdated Marlin or Winchester rimfire lever-action or an historical Remington Mannequin 12 pump or basic Nylon 66.

Similar goes for ammo. You don’t want something fancy. Twelve or 20-gauge sport a great deal of 6 or 7 1/2 shot are normal fare. For extra skilled hunters, a 28-gauge or .410 present just a little further problem. For .22 ammo, any 40-grain hole level or round-nose searching ammo will do the job simply nice.

4 Nice Causes to Study Find out how to Hunt Rabbits

After 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 throughout me, and I might simply preserve strolling, on the lookout for a grouse to shoot.

A long time later, a buddy on our deer lease invited me to hunt cottontails with him after the deer season was over. I assumed What the heck? and went—and was just about blown away by that hunt. I’d forgotten how a lot enjoyable rabbit searching is and the way a lot there’s to like about it. So, let me depend the methods.

1. Rabbit Looking Is Enjoyable

Some kinds of searching require endurance or arduous work however the reward makes all of it value it. Different kinds 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 way in which, and also you get a number of taking pictures within the discount. To me, that is cause No. 1 to discover ways to hunt rabbits.

2. Rabbit Looking Is Straightforward

Bunny searching can get difficult if you happen to resolve to coach and run canines, however for many hunters it’s a easy as placing on an orange vest, grabbing no matter shotgun is useful, and strolling alongside some hedgerows or by way of 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 Inexperienced persons

As a result of is very easy, and since the gear necessities are so few, and since it will possibly present a number of motion with stable 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 sport and higher than nearly 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 likelihood you’ll lose the argument. We’ll get into cooking rabbits later.

Find out how to Hunt Rabbits: Most Generally Hunted Species

Cottontail Rabbits

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

There are 27 species on cottontail rabbits within the Americas, 9 of which reside all all through the Unites States. Because of this, overwhelming majority of hunters on this nation can discover a cottontail of 1 selection or one other inside driving distance of residence, 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 throughout the winter. {Photograph} courtesy of Denali Nationwide Park/Flickr

Within the continental United States, snowshoe hares may 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 called various hares as a result of their coat modifications from brown to white within the winter. Snowshoe populations are cyclical, with peaks averaging each 10 years or so.


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 provide them away, their extra-long ears will.

Find out how to Keep Secure Whereas Looking Rabbits

Bunny searching is more practical and enjoyable with a buddy or two. However each time you might have a number of hunters working collectively in tight areas, it’s essential 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. This may assist.
  • Be heard. Every time cowl or terrain prevents you from seeing each other, preserve 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 sensible. Any time you make a plan, for a brand new part of woods or patch of canopy, be sure to focus on and nail down secure taking pictures lanes. Saying it aloud will assist cement it in everybody’s head. Now go kick up some bunnies.

Often Requested Questions

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

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

The place can I discover rabbits within the woods?

Search for brushy cowl, swamps, current burns, power-line cuts, or just lately logged areas. Rabbits want brush and piles of sticks to cover below, they usually feed on roots and bark throughout the winter. You may also await contemporary snow and search for rabbit tracks within the woods.

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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