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Old December 17, 2012, 11:29 AM   #1
ChasingWhitetail91
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Rabbit Hunt

I want to get out and go rabbit hunting before the season is over. I've never been before and am looking for some advice. I plan on checking some brush piles, rock piles, and real thick growth that i would normally avoid when deer hunting. Any tips on hunting them? Im still unsure as to what gun i will use (.22lr or 12/16 ga) and which loads would best suit me.
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Old December 17, 2012, 12:49 PM   #2
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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If you have snow on the ground and your rabbits have turned color already (white) Pretty hard to see em in the underbrush. 22 rifle is good if your a good shot with one. Otherwise there is nothing wrong using what you have available in shotguns.7-1/2 or #8 shot is plenty. Smaller the gauge the better. Just try to knock them on their noggin. Don't forget to be prepared to whistle too. Works good to stop them when rabbits are seen close but in their high-balling get'in away mode. "A loud whistle slams their brakes on" I kid you not.
I try to get out once every couple weeks to chase them around if I can. Keeps the eye sharp and the mutt skinny when He's got some gumption to leave the kitchen corners comfort. (bed) We usually end up coming home with a partridge or two instead though._ Old pooch isn't a quick as he once was and then again neither am I. >
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Old December 17, 2012, 01:07 PM   #3
ChasingWhitetail91
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Usually we have a foot or so of snow by now, but this winter has been very mild. Would this effect thier movement making them more or less active? Also where I hunt its a hill with a hay field on top and a thick marsh down low with pretty open woods on the slope. Should I hit the top of the hill around the field or focus more on the edges of the marsh?
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Old December 17, 2012, 02:37 PM   #4
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Quote:
but this winter has been very mild. Would this effect thier movement making them more or less active?
No. It doesn't seem too.

My best guess. Along the edges of either. Watch for rabbit runs. See allot of their tracks crossing in and about a small area. Pretty good guess there's one in the local. They seem to be more active in the last couple hours of day light from what I've seen. Although their out and about all day long. If they've seen or feel threatened by (hawk, owl, or fox). They'll stay in the heavy bush for awhile afterwards. Their a fickle little animal. They can be just about anywhere really. Take your time hunt slow. Don't watch your feet. Concentrate on the brush on all 3 sides of you instead. You'll see em. Hunting with a pooch is a little bit different. Dog does all the seeing and foot work.

s/s
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Old December 18, 2012, 05:01 PM   #5
Erno86
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If you hunt snowshoe hares...you can pick them out in the snow, by looking for one of there black eyes.
If you have access to good rabbit hunting lands...I would invest in a good hunting beagle or more. You can run rabbits with them, during the off season, which is an excellent sport. If you jump a rabbit... you get the beagle excited by yelling "THERE HE GOES". Point the dog to the fresh rabbit trail, by yelling "HE YA, HE YA, HE YA, HE YA", THATS IT --- GO, GO, GO. You can use a hunting bugle, in order to bring the dog pack together.

Unless the dogs chase the rabbit into a hole, he will usually run in a circle, back close to the place where you jumped him. Locate a good vantage point, or opening in the brush for your shot. You can usually tell the direction the rabbit is taking by the sound of the dogs. You'll have an excellent rabbit dog, if he does not prefer to track deer or fox. If the dogs go out of earshot...they are usually trailing a deer or a fox.

Sometimes...a beagle will backtrail in the wrong direction. Not only stomp a brushpile --- but be still for a minute --- which might get the rabbit nervous, thinking the you've spotted him and will bolt from his hidden lair.



I prefer a fine balanced 12, 16, or 20 guage double...like a Parker or L.C. Smith --- improved cylinder and modified --- #6 or 71/2 high brass shot. Gut the fresh rabbit, out in the field...and give the dogs the heart and liver. Teach the dog to retrieve your shot rabbit. If the rabbit is only wounded... grab him by his hind legs --- and judo chop him at the back of the neck --- with the edge of your hand.


If you do not have a dog, hunt with a partner... so either one of you can be the dog substitute. Jump the rabbit...and head out in the direction the rabbit took, while baying like an old coonhound --- continue by walking around in large circles --- back to your partner.

Last edited by Erno86; December 18, 2012 at 05:56 PM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 08:19 PM   #6
warbirdlover
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Old guy I knew and I used to hunt rabbits. They'll take off and make a circle back just as already mentioned. Always. We didn't have a dog but would get most of them coming back. Never knew about the whistling.
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Old December 18, 2012, 08:49 PM   #7
reloader28
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If they're on the run or in brush, I like a shotgun, preferably small. Even trap loads work, but I prefer light loads of 5 or 6 shot. More fun than trap or skeet shooting if they're running.

If you can get them standing still a 22 is perfect for head or chest shots. Theres nothing to eat on the front legs around here anyway.

I really like light loads in the 357 pistol shooting 38spl on the run or standing still. Killed many with that. In fact we ate 2 last week that was 38'ed.

Last edited by reloader28; December 18, 2012 at 08:54 PM.
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Old December 19, 2012, 04:38 AM   #8
FrankenMauser
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Lesson #1
(Already mentioned)
Rabbits circle around, and come back to a spot very close to where you jumped them. You can chase them in circles, all day, if you're stubborn and not paying attention. Sometimes the circle is 10 yards in diameter; sometimes it's half a mile. Unless you catch them foraging very far from their home, it's always a circle.


Lesson #2
They're always watching. The rabbit knows you're there, long before you see it. Being able to spot the ears, eyes, or mouth is very helpful in getting the upper hand. Otherwise, you'll be waiting for them to provide a shot opportunity after they jump.

-#2.5
Rabbits will often wait until the very last moment, before jumping. I've actually stepped on cottontails and snowshoes that waited until my boot was coming down on them, before they tried to run. (Sagebrush plateaus.) The closer they are to their warren (burrow) or form (above ground 'nest'), the longer they'll wait before giving up their position.


Lesson #3
They like to run, pause, look back, and run again. If you jump a rabbit, stay still (or move minimally, to keep an eye on it). It should stop, and give you an over-the-shoulder glance. That's your last chance to turn it into supper, before it decides you're a real threat. Once it decides to run again, you won't get many shot opportunities. (Revert to Lesson #1)


Lesson #4
If you don't have a shotgun, the odds of making a successful shot on a running rabbit are fairly low. It can be done, and I'm sure there are some excellent hunters that make it look easy; but I've never met one.


Lesson #5
During the winter, they're 50% hair. Your best bets are head shots or center of chest (with meat loss). If you aren't precise with your shots, you'll just be giving them a haircut.



My personal preferences vary, depending on the species, terrain, vegetation, and time of year.
Generally, I go for the .22 WMR for areas that will provide longer shots (≥50 yards).
In areas where I'm likely to jump or spot them up close, I usually carry a handgun. But... a .22 rifle is not unheard of.
I almost never take a shotgun on a rabbit hunt. The animals are always too close (and will be blow to pieces), or too far away (and it won't be an ethical, fatal hit).

By species, I would say it usually breaks down like this:
Snowshoe - whatever I have in my hand (I don't actively hunt them - opportunistic kills, only). .22 LR would usually be sufficient.
Cottontail - .22 LR / .22 WMR
Jack - .22 WMR / anything centerfire (we get some big jacks out here )
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Old December 19, 2012, 06:49 AM   #9
hooligan1
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Me and some of my best buddies grew up hunting rabbits down in the bootheel, and one particular place we stumbled onto was a briar patch that was about 3 or 4 acres in size. We used to stomp the edges and got pretty good at predicting the rabbits course of exit through this huge tangle of briars.
In 1978 it snowed 14 inches, and those bunnies were stacked behind briair clumps, you could see them long before you walked over them, so one of us used a .22 rifle. That year between 4 of us, we took 64 rabbits out of that patch.
Nice memory!
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:33 PM   #10
ChasingWhitetail91
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Thank you for the advice, I was going to try sitting in an area I know there in. Will they come back if I spook them walking in, and if so will they see me right away or do I have a chance staying hidden.
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:39 PM   #11
jimbob86
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Rabbits are kind of territirial- they will run in a big circle when flushed, usually coming back home to familiar territory.
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Old December 22, 2012, 07:18 PM   #12
ChasingWhitetail91
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Seen one last night right before dark but it ran into a rock pile before I could get a shot off. Gonna try my luck again Monday evening with the 16ga instead of my .22 Bugz 1 Elmer Fudd 0
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Old December 23, 2012, 03:59 AM   #13
FrankenMauser
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For me, the standard "score" is usually something like:

Code:
Rabbits-3    Me-0
On a better day, it might be:
Code:
Rabbits-13    Me-2

If I was more patient, I'm sure I could increase my success rate; but I'm usually too lazy to hang around and wait for them to circle back (I can't stand sitting still, waiting on game animals). Most of the time, while rabbit hunting, I'm just out for a walk, trying to push/flush them and pick them off when they stop for the over-the-shoulder glance. If I miss, I keep walking.
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Old January 11, 2013, 07:35 PM   #14
ChasingWhitetail91
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Bad news, I didn't get a rabbit before the season ended. Good news, season ended and my dad started breeding rabbits for meat.
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