View Full Version : Rabbit hunting?

January 8, 2009, 02:44 AM
How many people rabbit hunt here?
Do you sit and wait for them to pop out or do you invade where they are living and force them out?

What kind of weapon do you use to take down a rabbit?

This past weekend I went with my cousin. I used a New England single shot 20 gauge. We go to fallen trees and big piles of brush that are covered in a foot of snow.

I enjoy it, but it is not easy.

January 8, 2009, 02:48 AM
I have hunted brush piles and the misty mornin grass next to woods... They are much easier to shoot then. I have also shot them in front of dogs as well.
Haven't gone on a bunny hunt in 25 years though. Now I will just pick one off for a doggy treat now and then.

January 8, 2009, 02:50 AM
This was my first time rabbit hunting and I got one. Lucky the rabbit just sat up and didnt move.

B. Lahey
January 8, 2009, 03:00 AM
Heck, I've hunted them all kinds of ways. Kicking brushpiles with or without a pointer, driving them with dogs in pines, brushy areas, and regular forests, still hunting in an area of known or suspected bunny activity, pellet guns in the backyard, it's all good fun and you end up with some tasty grub.

Rimfire, shotgun, or pellet rifle doesn't really matter to me as long as I put bunnies on the table. Delicious critters.

If you want an even tougher hunt, be the "dog". Or better yet, have one of your friends be the "dog". Find a ravine or other low, thorny and brushy section of bunny habitat with a limited area where you think you can guess which way the rabbits will move, set up at one end, carefully set up lanes of fire (so you don't shoot the "dog"), and have the "dog" drive them to you by crashing through the shrubbery. Hard work, but you can get quite a few.

January 8, 2009, 03:40 AM
my one fruitless Bugs hunting expedition was us walking around a wide open area abot 50 yards from a river, there were large piles of logs/bushes and we'd walk around.

I used a remignton 870 express and my buddy used a .22-250 howa.

it was fun though.


January 8, 2009, 03:49 AM
It has been a while,but I like walking the foothills,yucca and brush.Headpopping with a .22.

January 8, 2009, 03:53 AM
I'll be using my ruger 10/22 more often, even though I'll be getting a shotgun relatively soon.

January 8, 2009, 04:43 AM
G'day. I spent all of my teenage years 'hunting' these animals. Started out with a single shot .22 with open sights. Tried traps, ferrets, snares, 12 gauge, the occasional center fire and even a bow (cheap recurve kids bow). Even managed to just catch (kick, club, jump on) a few. Graduated to a semi auto .22 with a scope at around 15 years of age. The .22 is the most versatile method.
You will need to develop your own style to suit your conditions. If you go out enough you will eventually learn to spot them before others. If you go out enough in the same place you will eventually remember every rock and you will call the rabbit simply because there was never a rock in that spot. You will even kill many rocks that should have been rabits. This could even give you rapid sight acquisition skills, as well as moving target practice.
Yes, I may have spent to much time out in the paddocks. My family joke that one day somebody will mine the area for Lead.
Enjoy them while you can.

January 8, 2009, 09:44 AM
I haven't shot a rabbit in years, but I sure shot a lot of them when I was younger. Might just have to get out and hunt them again soon. I still know the areas, and I'd imagine the places where I found them then haven't changed too much.

I usually hunt gullies in the rolling hills of the Arizona desert. I like to walk along just below the ridgeline, and toss a rock here and there into the occasional brush pile/rat nest.

The rabbits are where they are. Sometimes across the gully/canyon, sometimes on my side, or sometimes I'll kick one out of the brush piles.

What I used back then depended on what I felt like using. Might have been an open sighted .22 rifle loaded with shorts, a scope sighted .22 rifle loaded with subsonics or high velocity stuff, a .22 mag, a handgun, a shotgun, or even a centerfire rifle on occasion (I only took head shots with it).

Heck, I've even killed quite a few with a pellet gun.


January 8, 2009, 10:02 AM
Love hunting bunnies. A couple of friends and I have a tradition of going out New Years day morning. Been doing it so long we can't remember how long. Started when there were just the three of us, now our sons go out with us. Usually kick brush piles and push trough thickets and kick them up for a running shot. Its always a good time walking around and spending time in the field with friends and my two sons whether we get something or not. I carry a Remingtom 1100 LT20, my sons both carry 870s. I think a 20 gauge is about the best round to hunt rabbits with. Try to spend as much time in the field as possible and learn where they like to hang out and what tey are feeding on in your area. The main thing is to just go out and have a good time.

January 8, 2009, 10:23 AM
I used to hunt cottontails with Beagles when I was much younger - what a blast! No hounds now so I just hunt with my brother & a buddy or two. We just walk them out of the sagegrush or still hunt them. Where we hunt they're like vermin - all over the place. Usually take 1 1/2 - 2 hours to limit out, ten rabbits each. These days we use .22 cal rifles or pistols. Bull barrel Ruger 22/45 is a hoot!

Pics: Rabbits before field dressing, Sitting rabbit before the shot


January 8, 2009, 11:08 AM
I mostly either shoot them from my porch or just walking around the yard. I keep several acres mowed and the little pests will usually sit still hoping that I won't see them. I can almost always just walk up within 40 yards of them. I use a shotgun or a .22. Sometimes when I see them I don't even bother going to get a long gun and use whatever handgun I have on at the time.

January 8, 2009, 11:11 AM
Dont you have a daily limit, jck?

or did you have a few people with you?

January 8, 2009, 11:22 AM
JCK posted a 10 per person limit...

January 8, 2009, 04:44 PM
i give a kick in and around the headgerows and brushpiles. its a bit tough hunting them without a dog. i saw one a month ago in a brushpile but by the time i drew a bead on it,it hopped off into a heavy pile of briars and thorns and i lost sight of it.

January 8, 2009, 05:15 PM
Anyone have a good little recipe for these guys? Also, what would ya pick, .22lr or 17hmr. I was reading about feild dressing and says for consumtion the cleanest shot possible is ideal to prevent any disease and such, so I dont know if that little magnum BB of a bullet would be too much.

Seems like huntin' wabbits would be a good way to get into hunting.


January 8, 2009, 06:23 PM
I would use a .22
Just a personal thing.

January 8, 2009, 06:24 PM
Maximus, Many like the buggers sauted and gravied and put over egg noodles or rice... I likes me a big ol' bowl of Jambalaya and use the same recipe as chicken...

January 8, 2009, 06:27 PM
I use a .22lr or a .177 pellet rifle for open morning/evening sittin' bunnies and a 20 gauge with 7 1/2 for pile bustin' to hit runners!
Never shot a .17 HMR but wouldn't hesitate to use it as it extends the range beyond that of a .22LR...

January 8, 2009, 06:34 PM
Not a hunter, but lookin to start. My question is...how quickly after shooting the rabbit do you need to clean it? Can you shoot a bunch of em and then clean em all at the end of the day?
Also...is 5.56/.223 too much for rabbit? Looking for an excuse to walk around in plain sight with my Sabre Defence and shoot at stuff.

January 8, 2009, 06:37 PM
Also was wondering about the cleaning.

And thanks hogdogs and smallgame!


January 8, 2009, 06:50 PM
we would toss them in our back pouch and clean at mid day... then go out for a late afternoon hunt and clean when done. this being in warmer climes and no one ever got sick. I would prefer to be able to toss them in a pile in the snow but we don't get that natural out door cooler...

January 8, 2009, 07:27 PM
In Utah we usually just clean em at the end of the day. We use everything from .22's to 416 rigby so sometimes they are pre-cleaned. Most of the time its a .22 or a 12 ga. with 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 oz. of 4's or 6's.

January 8, 2009, 07:36 PM
My cousin waits a few days, not sure why. But he waits a few days to clean 'em. We use .22's, 410s and 20 gauges to hunt rabbits.

January 8, 2009, 07:47 PM
I regularly go hunting with either the .22, the .17 HMR or a 12 gauge with #3 or #4's in it.

The .22 (Marlin 925T) is good for shooting a block I haven't been on before, or for a while. The rabbits aren't gun shy, sit there sunning themselves and are easy enough to shoot with a bit of care on my part to stay upwind.

The HMR (Savage Stainless - I forget the exact model) is great for those blocks where the rabbits are a bit gunshy so tend to stay further away, or if the wind is against me so they can smell me coming. It's more the snipe and wait type weapon (with a cheap bipod on it and a 5-20 power scope).

The shotgun (Winchester 1300 Defender) is for more awkward country where I can expect them to pop out of the undergrowth at my feet and run like hell. I reload my own shot shells and use #4, 1 1/4 oz lead shot which knocks them over quite effectively.

Also of interest - every Easter we (in New Zealand) have "The Great Easter Bunny Shoot" which is a 24 hour shoot to help land owners in the South deal with rabbits infestation. We have no natural predation here so the numbers largely go unchecked except for human intervetions like shooting or poison baiting.

The Shotgun is my preference there. The weather can be pretty foul at times and a large number of rounds are used (like... 200) between cleaning. The pump action is great because I can easily eject or "assist" the loading of a shell, where a semi auto just jams and is a bit of faffing around clearing it (in the headlights of a pickup, probably in bad weather) while the bunnies get away.

Hope that helps?

January 8, 2009, 11:17 PM
i would use the .22. if 1 i could use that here and 2 as long as i could get a few seconds of one standing still to get a head shot. i just use a 12 ga. with a 1 or 1 1/4 oz load of 6 or 7.5 in an ic choked barrel.

January 8, 2009, 11:58 PM
How many people rabbit hunt here?
Do you sit and wait for them to pop out or do you invade where they are living and force them out?

What kind of weapon do you use to take down a rabbit?

This past weekend I went with my cousin. I used a New England single shot 20 gauge. We go to fallen trees and big piles of brush that are covered in a foot of snow.

I enjoy it, but it is not easy.

I first started last year with a 10/22. After many unsuccesful trips, I moved up to a .410 Mossberg. Much more fun. Got 2 my first 15 minutes out. I usually just walk and kick them up.

Hopefully in the next couple years I'll get a nice dog to help.

January 10, 2009, 02:25 AM
My brother turned me on to a great recipe for the cottontails we shot (yes I had help - 10 bunnies is the limit per license/per day :D).

Anyway, we filet off the backstrap (tenderloin) cut them up into cubes, roll them in flour, salt, pepper and BAM! (a little seasoning) then drop them in to hot oil! A couple of minutes later and voila! Bunny Nuggets - good as gold!:)

I also like them fried like chicken then smothered in their gravey and slow baked until tender.

I tried some in curry sauce and loved it but my wife and youngest son found out after they ate it and refused to let me make it again (they both don't like eating little bunnies:p )

PS On the last hunt I loaned my rifle to another hunter. When he took too long to take the shot I offered to dispatch the rabbit with a rock - and I did. May be hard to believe but I have four eyewitnesses - two of whom are not related to me! That's goes to show you how many rabbits there are where we hunt.

January 10, 2009, 02:54 AM
Some pics for you.. I stalk, sit, spotlight, walk, wait, whatever the country offers that i hunt on. Rabbit hunting is one of my favourites i was brought up on it.

No shot gunning for me all rifle and ferreting. I use my brno 452 deluxe .22lr, but do some varminting with mt .222 rem and my mates swift.

I am only 27 and i have shot loads of rabbits here in Australia.

Do you have limits on how many you can shoot in the USA, i cant believe it if that is true. You can shoot as many as you want here they are a pest.

They taste great in the pasta sauce though. With my Italian back ground it's the best.

1st photo- shot 27 in two hours leading into the evening Jan 08, all with .22lr head shots.

2nd photo- On one of my favourite properties with my wife, shot 8 that evening i think. Oct 08

3rd photo- Spot the rabbit. Shot was taken while sitting on some burrows waiting for more to pop their heads out. They did got 3 i think, then i moved on. Same weekend as photo 2

Enjoy. :)

January 10, 2009, 02:59 AM
Well here in NY, the limit is 6 per day, per person.

January 10, 2009, 07:59 AM
I use a 20ga with 71/2 or 8s. I have never had the knack to spot them sitting - my grandfather told me to look for the round eyes. Onetime I stopped and just happened to look down and there was a rabbit afoot or less from my feet; he had flattened out to about the size of a large dinner plate. He finally got spooked enough to bolt.

January 11, 2009, 11:26 PM
If there was a limit here a rabbit would be our prime minister, we would be run over by them. Im actually going for a shot at my dads work soon want 30 this time.

January 12, 2009, 02:44 AM
G'day. Farmers in Australia can be fined for not trying to control the number of rabbits on their property. I have property owners that want me to shoot ALL the rabbits on their farm. The only problem is the farm is 2500 km away.:)

January 12, 2009, 02:52 AM
Wow. Can I stay at either of your houses?
I'll be your rabbit control specialist. :)

January 12, 2009, 03:18 AM
Right on skulls, they are about to drop poison at my dads work again so i have to go and clean up first. Cant wait..

Are there a heap of rabbits in the USA smallgame

January 12, 2009, 03:22 AM
It's not crawling with rabbits, but its also not completely dry.
You have to know where to look, or be lucky enough to see one running.

January 12, 2009, 03:29 AM
Here in melbourne they are all alond the side of the road.. Anywhere there looks like there will be rabbits--- well there is rabbits..

The population has declined since the calicivirus was introduced but there are still plenty around.

In the wild and the suburbs.

January 12, 2009, 03:31 AM
You got a spare room? Cause I'm coming over LOL.

How big are the rabbits there?
Just like any other rabbit or do you have some big 20lbs rabbits? :p

January 12, 2009, 03:36 AM
we have what you call cottontails, and hares... There are some species people have for pets they are quite big.

Farm rabbits are usually bigger too, you get them in butcher shops.

The wild buck cotton get to about 5-6kg, maybe 13lb.

January 12, 2009, 03:38 AM
any questions about rabbit shooting/hunting ask away happy to help..

January 12, 2009, 04:14 PM
G'day. When I was a teenager I took the flyscreen off my bedroom window and shot a rabbit while lying on my bed (about 80 yards). Did it just so I could say I did.
About 3 years ago I went to a station that a friend was working on. He removed the bedroom flyscreen and shot wild pigs while lying on the bed.
Back to rabbits. We had a cat that went and caught a rabbit and brought it home, then gave it to the dog (the dog was a border collie). It then went and caught a rabbit for itself. The cat would bring all kills home for my mother to see before eating the kill.
We got so tired of eating rabbit that we would stop bringing them home. Mum would ask how many we got and we would say that they fell into their burrow, or crawled into some blackberry bushes. Or we would only bring home enough to feed the pets.
If mum cooked anything with mince (from a butcher) she would thin the 'good' stuff out with rabbit mince.

January 12, 2009, 04:27 PM
Be vewwwy vewwwy quiet when hunting wabbits.



Just be sure it isn't duck season!!!!!

January 14, 2009, 08:51 PM
Just wondering if anyone used a .410 single shot, or even a .410 pump action shotgun to hunt rabbits?

January 14, 2009, 11:52 PM
.410 Bolt gun for the first 10 or 12 years of bunny whackin'... Pretty much a one shot killer too. I loaded 2 6's and a 4 shot for the ones that escaped my first 2 shots. I had the poly choke cranked pretty tight though.

January 14, 2009, 11:53 PM
Ahh. Thats awesome.

January 15, 2009, 10:57 AM
I do love rabbit hunting and i'm hunting them with my Beretta 12 GA AL 391. It is a real blast to go in to the field and have some rabbit action. Some of these fast runners will wait until last second possible to jump out right from underneath of your legs, so it forces you to stay "sharp" most of the time...;-)...on few occasions i have also learned that it is not worth to shoot at them from very close range from 12 Ga because bb's damage is basically devastating and there is not much meat left...

January 15, 2009, 04:29 PM
I've hunted them with .22 and shot gun. All the way from Jacks to cottontail to Arctic Hare.

I like the smaller ones fried, but the bigger ones I prepare in the rosting pan.

Place the rack in the bottom of the pan and pour in 2 cans/bottles of beer. Quality of beer doesn't matter much. Add 1/2 cup of Balsamic (some call it Balsamic vinegar.) Slice a large red onion thin and layer the rack with it.

Lay a whole rabbit (or two, belly to belly, head to tail) on the onion. Sprinkle lemon pepper (not lemon pepper salt) over the rabbits and cover with another sliced large red onion.

Cook several hours in a 250F oven.

I served this to a couple of guys who "don't like rabbit." They knew what they were eating because they watched me prepare it. There was none left, but they still "don't like rabbit." :D


January 15, 2009, 04:36 PM
Ahhh. Sounds good.

Shooting a rabbit with a 12 gauge at a short distance would ruin the meat. There wouldnt be much left. :)

January 15, 2009, 11:08 PM
Shooting a rabbit with a 12 gauge at a short distance would ruin the meat. There wouldnt be much left.
Same thing with the .410... maybe a wee bit less loss with the .410.

phil mcwilliam
January 16, 2009, 07:39 PM
When I was a teenager (some 30 years ago) my brother in law owned a few hundred acres near Cooma in Australia. There was a rabbit plague at the time & I would spend several weekends per year rabbit shooting down there. We had a rule that you couldn't shoot until you were at least 100 yards from the house in the morning, so as not to wake every one, but there were usually a few rabbits in the garden at the back door step every morning. My best tally for a weekend was 95 rabbits (between myself and one friend), both using 22's, and no shooting from a spotlight. My rabbit shooting these days is only incidental- I shot one two weeks ago with my 308 while out pig shooting(not much left of that rabbit:D).

Double J
January 16, 2009, 10:16 PM
Used to use a .22 rifle. Was real partial to a Winchester pump rifle. I sometimes ran beagles. Best dog I had was a CHA-WA-WA. Little fellow could get into the tightest places and come out with a rabbit. We don't have rabbits here anymore.

January 17, 2009, 12:36 PM
I don't start hunting bunnies regularly until pheasant season is over. I'll still take the german shorthair pointer along to help kick them up. We'll use handguns most of the time, both revolvers and autos, from .22 up to downloaded .44 mags. I've also used pistol caliber carbines and ak's. My ar is fun but anything less than a headshot will blow them apart. One great memory from a rabbit hunting trip was the dogs pointing a covey of quail with a steep hillside behind them. We had some pretty warm loaded .44s in our single action revolvers. Kicked the covey up and dropped a bird just ten feet from the end of the barrell, thought the muzzle blast had got him. Shot through the lower back, no meat damaged. My buddies couldn't believe it. I'll never top that one. Sorry for the long post, but the topic brought up some pleasant memories on a cold, windy morning.:)

January 17, 2009, 01:47 PM
I'm not much for shooting of cottontails unless i'm camping I have some great recipes if anyone wants them, but most of the time i go and shoot jack rabbits at night i never shoot from the road but we do locate them with spotlights, best night ever was 37 jacks, three porqupines and a skunk


January 17, 2009, 05:47 PM
Dad and I had about 20 beagles back in the 70's. We hunted rabbits every chance we got and used shotguns. Where we hunted it was thick and the action was fast and furious.

January 17, 2009, 05:52 PM
i still hunt em when i can see one.... used to go with 12 guage but no longer have a shotgun so just get one now and then with .22..

January 25, 2009, 09:42 PM
here is my most recent rabbit outing, actually i was coming out of my friends range and seen them both on the run.:D:D

January 30, 2009, 05:16 AM
TWO JACKS. Sure look like snowshoe hares :D

February 1, 2009, 07:43 AM
I like to hunt rabbits with a .22, not a shotgun, with shotgun its so easy,

February 1, 2009, 08:12 AM
If you like to hunt the sage brush try to find the lava rock piles. The rabbits love them in the winter time because they set on them and sun themselves to get warm. I bet if you think about it everyone out there that hunts sage brush can agree we have all shot many many rabbits off the top of rocks while they were getting some sun. I have found some lava rock piles that I was able to shoot 5 to 6 rabbits off of one right after the other.