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what kind of advice would you give for someone whos never rabbit hunted. i bird hunt in the snow a lot and see tons of rabbit tracks but i have only once in 4 years seen a wild rabbit. does this mean it's a morning thing? i have kicked brush piles and nothing.... also, i have no (rabbit) dogs. i would like to extend my hunting season
a couple months and get into rabbit hunting but don't really know where to start. what are the different things i would have to do besides what i already do when i'm bird hunting? .... cause if i see a rabbit every 4 years, i'm gonna just live with a shorter hunt season. :lol:
 

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Find areas that have a lots of brush, blackberries, brambles or any kind of thick and tangled vegatation and that's where you will find some rabbits. If you go out on a sunny day look for rabbits sunning themselves in the little open patches in the brush. That's a start for you.
 

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One rabbit can make a lot of tracks so the number of tracks may not indicate the population, especially if it's been a few days between snows.

Rabbits (cottontails) love areas of thick low brush with ample downfalls or other sources of brush piles. Poke around these on days when the temps are above 20 degrees.

One method of hunting that I really recommend is to track the rabbit. Just after a snowfall go to an area where you know there are bunnies (remember to get permission if hunting private property) and track one set of tracks if you can. Doing this with another hunter is a ton of fun. One hunter can take the track while the other waits quietly in an ambush spot. The rabbit will usually circle just like he would if being trailed by a dog. When the cottontail comes by the "stander", "KA-BOOM" and you have the main ingredient for fried rabbit.
 

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find someone with dogs. i'll bet you dollars to donuts all you have to do with a beagle guy is mention you'd like to try hunting rabbits some day and he'll have you out there the next weekend... it how they are. in fact i will be surprised if you don't get an invite in your area from this post alone.
sadworld said:
what kind of advice would you give for someone whos never rabbit hunted. i bird hunt in the snow a lot and see tons of rabbit tracks but i have only once in 4 years seen a wild rabbit. does this mean it's a morning thing? i have kicked brush piles and nothing.... also, i have no (rabbit) dogs. i would like to extend my hunting season
a couple months and get into rabbit hunting but don't really know where to start. what are the different things i would have to do besides what i already do when i'm bird hunting? .... cause if i see a rabbit every 4 years, i'm gonna just live with a shorter hunt season. :lol:
 

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Rabbit hunting is a great way to stay active all winter long. Once deer season is over-with, it's bunny hunting for me.

I use a Remington 870 in .20 gauge loaded with 7 1/2 shot. Haven't gotten into using a .22 but I think I'll try that this year.

As posted earlier, look for fence rows with vegitation, brushpiles, briar patches etc. Any place that's "thick" should hold rabbits. Mornings are best. Bunnies, because they're on many predators menu, like to come out at night to feed because it's safer for them. So...the best time to hunt them is early morning before they get back to their burrows. I went out last week and saw lots of rabbits in the early hours. But as the morning wore on, the sightings became less and less. That's not to say you can't jump a bunny at 3:00 pm. There are some that will just huddle down in a hollow log and they will run as soon as you walk up to them...but most will be deep in a brush pile and getting them to run is impossible.

Some bunnies will sit no matter how much you jump on their brush pile. A trick I like to use is to stand quiet and still after kicking the brush. This makes them think they've been spotted. They become unnerved and take off running. Remember to watch behind you too. Many times I've left a brush pile, turned around and saw one busting off behind me.

It doesn't take much to kill a rabbit either. One or two pellets seem to be all it takes so make sure to let them get out a ways (depending on your choke) before you pull the trigger. Nothing worse than skinning your bunny and finding 15 pellets that have torn up the best meat...

As far as seeing rabbits....you will see more when you are hunting them. When I'm deer hunting I rarely see rabbits because my focus is on a different critter. The reverse is true too. When you rabbit hunt you'll only see a fraction of the deer you jump. At least that's how it is for me.

For gear....I have my 20 guage, Rockys with 800 gms of Thinsulate, Carhart bibs and an upland game coat. I wear a baseball cap and use thin leather gloves with "mitten gloves" as backup in case my hands get cold. A handful of Zip lock freezer bags and a towel to dry my hands and of course a sharp knife and/or game shears.

Hope this helps. Let us know how you do and don't forget to bring your camera!

Bob
 

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If your going alone, no dogs, do all the above, but stick with a nice little 22. Once you get the hang of what to look fo rmost of your shots should be on sitting bunnies. After a while you'll learn to pick that big ole black eye out no problem.
 

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2tundras said:
If your going alone, no dogs, do all the above, but stick with a nice little 22. Once you get the hang of what to look fo rmost of your shots should be on sitting bunnies. After a while you'll learn to pick that big ole black eye out no problem.
Thats always been my problem is locating the big black eye. I hunt in an area up north that has mostly big snowshoes and few bunnies, and I've just about stepped on them but the ones that I have taken were because I was able to see the black eye standing out from the white background.
I usually like to get out after a fresh snowfall to help cover up all those old tracks. I don't usually hunt with a dog but when I do its more to give my lab and shorthair exercise running around but not to focus on finding rabbits. I've hunted with people here before with beagles, and it was fun watching those dogs stick their nose in the snow and go to work.
 

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Sounds like you got the basics. Up here pushing through the pines as thick as the hair on your grandpas rear the eye really is what you want to look for. Like I said, once you learn to pick it out your 3/4 home. You should be spending as much time kneeling down and looking as you are walking. If you aren't going through spots where you have to crawl, find some thicker cover.

I usally dont pay a lot of attention of recent snow fall, if I get the chance to go, I'll go.

However, I really couldn't speak to that other species of rabbits you have done there. Never hunted them before.

I have a Ruger 10/22 with a 3-9 I use for plicking that works ok for bunnies. But my favorite is a 1930 something single shot 22, iron sites. Small, light, quick, and no worries about snow fallin all over it. Older than dirt but perfect. Find something like that and you'll need nothing else.

Where do you go up here?
 

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What a great post. I just took my son bunny hunting this past Sunday at about 2:30pm. We didn't see diddly poo. I asked a couple questions and got basically the same response as posted here. Now, I can't wait to go out the next time. I'll know what time to go and where to look.

Thanks everybody. Once again this site has enhanced my hunting experience.
 

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All sound good.I try to walk queitly through the area I am hunting.Try not to break sticks or crash through the brush if you dont have to.Alot of the times you can catch them suning themselves or just sitting in their hiding spot.I took a limit a couple of weeks ago in the middle of the day and I shot all of them while they were sitting still.Like others have said sometimes you can jump on a brush pile and nothing,other times they will jump right out from under you seemingly out of nowhere.They are masters of disguise pretty hard to pick out if your not looking specifically for them..Good luck...
 

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Hello SW
We only have cottontails in my area and I also hunt them without a dog.
I usually hunt mornings and am going for bunny's and squirrels when I do
with my 22.
I usually just walk trails real slow that go thru some good thickets for the first hour or so of legal hunting.
Since they don't change colors down here, they're a little easier to pick off
with the snow.
Sometimes I spot them first or they jump and run about 20 yards
and just sit there.
The key for me is to be on the trail that goes thru the thickets just as legal shooting time begins,the first half hour can be awsome.

I used to think that with all the coyotes around that the last thing
a bunny would be is nocturnal, Boy, was I wrong.

Mike
 

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sadworld said:
ok guys... in northern michigan i'm looking for white bunnies? i did not know they changed colors....
Sure they do.They are called snowshoe hares or varying hares.White in the snowy months and brown/grey in the rest.Helps them hide better.Of course until they change colors then all the snow melts due to a warm up...can you say sticks out like blaze orange on a snow covered field...:lol: .I have only shot 2 ever.I do not hunt them often enough to know to much about how to hunt them the best.
 

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We used to do a lot of snowshoe hare hunting over here, but there hasn't been a decent population in many years. Some of my fondest small game hunting memories involved hunting snowshoe hares in the cedar swamps and pine plantations here in Manistee and Benzie counties.
 
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