12 Rabbit Hunting Tips

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Look for the rabbit’s round black eye when stalking.

Icy Weather Equals Hot Hunting

Cold, miserable days often provide the best gunning. Rabbit fur has poor insulating qualities, so rabbits are forced to take shelter from the weather, making them easier to find and less likely to flush wildly.

To find bad-weather bunnies, think like a rabbit. Where would you go to escape the cold if all you had to wear was a light jacket? Rabbit hunt places that are sheltered from wind and open to warm rays of sunshine, then move to other locales offering protection from adverse conditions.

Look 'Em in the Eye

Stalking rabbits as they sit in their forms is great sport, especially when hunting rabbits with youngsters not yet adept at bagging running rabbits. The trick is to spot the rabbit before it spots you. Considering the rabbit’s superb camouflage, this can be tough.

Old hands at this endeavor have a rule: look for their eyes instead of their whole bodies. A rabbit’s round, dark eyes look out of place against the crisscross of cover, and are easily spotted by a rabbit hunter who walks slowly, carefully examining all brush and weeds. You may overlook rabbits huddled in their forms, but you’ll also bag a few at close range after spotting the eye.

Watch Over Your Shoulder

In isolated patches of cover, a cottontail may head directly away, disappearing from sight, then circle well behind the rabbit hunter. Others sit tight until the gunner passes, then squirt out behind.

Look over your shoulder every few minutes, and you’ll glimpse some of these renegades before they make good their escape. Snap shooting is a must, so be careful to identify your target before shooting.

Stop and Go Rabbit Hunting

Youngsters love the fun and excitement of a good rabbit chase.

One rabbit hunting technique that has proven very effective over the years is based on the idea that rabbits are highly nervous animals, and suspense is something they can’t handle very well. It works this way. Enter a covert and begin walking very slowly. Ten paces, then stop for at least a minute. Then repeat the process. The sound of the approach is sometimes enough to make cottontails flush, but it’s just as often the silent period. Apparently, the rabbits think they’ve been detected and decide to make a run for it.

Woodland Rabbits

Most rabbit hunters think of thickets and field edges as the places to go for a rabbit race. Some fail to realize woods harbor rabbits, too.

Look for cottontails in brushpiles, honeysuckle patches, fallen treetops, cane brakes and other forest cover. Because such areas usually receive less rabbit hunting pressure, they often hide extraordinary numbers of rabbits.

Take a Kid Hunting

To get the most out of your next rabbit hunt, take a kid with you—a son, a daughter, a niece, a nephew, a grandchild or maybe a neighbor’s child. It was in the cottontail fields most of us were trained as young rabbit hunters. We may have dreamed of deer or more exotic game like grizzlies and lions, but with cottontails, you learned the crucial basics about hunting, nature and yourself.

Share these things with children. Share the fun and excitement, the triumphs and disappointments, the barrage of wonderful sensations experienced on a rabbit hunt. Our heritage of hunting is a priceless treasure. Do your part to pass it on.

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