View Full Version : Rabbits out of control

May 4, 2009, 03:22 AM
The big news in Melbourne is that rabbit numbers are the highest in over 50 years in our state of Victoria. It has hit the papers been on radio and there is a special presentation on it this week, thursday night.

I think it's total CRAP, i have hunted rabbits for 23 years now starting at the age of 5 with dad, using ferrets and shooting. The rabbit population is no where near the numbers it was even 10-15 years ago.

The media talks about places like Bacchus Marsh with is a rural suburb, 40 min away from me. Even Werribee where i go at my dad's work, yes there are rabbits but not in plague proportion.

Where i hunt out bush for rabbits there are no where near the numbers that used to be on these properties 10 years ago. Example 1990 to 1999 my family and i would get at least 100 pair in a 2-3 day hunt. Now the same properties we are lucky to shoot 20-30 rabbits.

The only understanding i have of this farce is that the bulding and construction of new estates and suburbs are driving the rabbits together in smaller areas. When surveying the areas it shows bigger percentages of rabbits, but no mention of what the areas are.

I do agree there are many healthy pockets of rabbits in Victoria and Australia but not the biggest numbers in over 50 years...

Anyway thats enough from down under..............

May 4, 2009, 10:40 AM
Butta -

One thing that can drive the population up is as the suburbs spread, the access to hunters and/or natural predators goes away. Whitetails in Maryland have that situation - enough land to thrive, but no way for hunters to get at them.

So you might not see a lot more where you hunt, but the population may actually be higher because of human influences.

Of course, I could just be wildly speculating and that situation may have nothing to do with your report...


May 4, 2009, 10:55 AM
Oooooh to live in the suburbs of Australia and have plenty of traps on hand!

May 4, 2009, 12:33 PM
Id rather have too many rabbits than too many coyotes :(

May 5, 2009, 10:51 AM
Perhaps the rabbit counters are doing the same thing that the drive-by media does here in the US; wait until the rabbit hops and count him again. How else could BO have such a glowing performance report with the abysmal leadership shown during the rescue of the captain of the Maersk freighter?

May 5, 2009, 11:44 AM
You guys should invite me :P

Double Naught Spy
May 5, 2009, 04:06 PM
so butta, you are reporting that there is an article that contains information about which you don't agree? So what if they make a claim that you don't agree with? What is the purpose of posting to us that you don't agree with an article we haven't even seen?

May 5, 2009, 05:25 PM
Heard its spread into southern NSW aswell. Though as always, nothing is ever as bad as the media spins it as.
Couple of farmers mentioned an increase in rabbit numbers in the Cooma-Monaro Shire, but nothing near what is reported, sounds likes it more a case of the next generations of bunnies being immune to the latest poisons. I still think that .22 HP lead poisoning is the best method for rabbit control.

Remember mate, this is the same media that says we brutally bludgen joeys to death with steel bars and leave dead roos to rot in the fields (thankyou Sydney Morning Herald).

May 5, 2009, 07:59 PM
What about those Cane Cutter toads? I thought that the toads were taking over Oz.

May 5, 2009, 10:32 PM
i have hunted rabbits for 23 years now starting at the age of 5 with dad, using ferrets and shooting.

Now Ive heard of hunting with dogs, and birds, but never ferrets!!!
Now that is something I would love to see.

May 5, 2009, 10:48 PM
I see more deer than rabbits here where I live! Twenty years ago we had them everywhere. Birds of prey, increase in coyote population, urban sprawl, and other factors I'm sure have led to a huge decrease in the numbers of cottontails. I don't even know anyone that hunts them anymore.:(

May 6, 2009, 01:43 AM
I posted these comments because i thought my American friend's might like to know what's happening down under. The fact that i gave my opinion is no big deal................................. I am just baseing my opinion on 23 years of rabbit hunting, and wanted other opinions on my thread....

Prime8. Hunting rabbits is great fun for kids and adults. It also produces the cleanest rabbits because your able to bleed them alive after removing them from the nets.

As a kid i owned about 20 ferrets some breeders and some workers. I had to knock a couple of the big bucks off because they would kill the rabbits instead of chasing them out of the burrows.

My dad and i biggest catch from onw warren was 32 rabbits. We did not have enough nets to cover the all the holes, we lost a lot as well. I was about 13 years old on that day and the were ferreting in a place called Little River. It's about a 20 minute drive from my house. Actually i remember now it was the base of the You Yang ranges.

I still go ferreting today but i hire them instead of having to look after them.

May 6, 2009, 06:47 AM
You know, there's a general opinion in other parts of the world that the average Stateside person doesn't give a damn about what's happening in the rest of the world, at least the 'smaller-time' stuff like hunting etc. or whether there are actually any other places in existence out there.
Double nought's post just adds to that impression.
Thankfully, it's obvious here that most other guys in the forum are not so insulated.

Us Oz folk visit here to get a better perspective on the Yanks' great hunting culture and what is definitely the country at the leading edge of the sport firearm world. But we shouldn't be seen as dodos about hunting either. With all our gun-law problems, we still have a great hunting culture and a government who reluctantly and ever-so-quietly accepts that hunters have a role to play in helping keep our huge feral and pest animal problems under some semblance of control.

If you guys had seen what a real rabbit plague was like in Oz a lifetime ago , you'd understand what it all means to us. You can't believe what survivors and destructors those little b*****ds are given the right conditions!

Go on Butta, tell 'em about ferrets.

May 6, 2009, 02:37 PM
I did not know that Australians refered to Australia as "Oz," Foxrr. That's pretty funny. :D

I've read about what a problem rabbits are in some places of the world, and it is surprising that the government isnt more supportive of hunters to control the populations.

there's a general opinion in other parts of the world that the average Stateside person doesn't give a damn about what's happening in the rest of the world

That's really sad to hear. It might be true, too. But the general opinion stateside is that America is overworked as the world's police force and that too many American eighteen-year-olds are getting killed before they are old enough to buy their first beer while the world watches and criticizes from the sidelines.

Unemployment has reached its highest level since the Great Depression, consumer spending power is at a new low, 20% of American mortgages are underwater, college tuition is still outpacing inflation, malpractice insurance is so expensive you cant deliver a baby in Las Vegas, the youth of the country is looking for free rides (disability, food stamps, unemployment), our banks are insolvent and at the spearfront of a global economic crisis, our automobile makers cant make a decent car or turn a profit, our health care system is unsustainable, our social security system is unsustainable, the Chinese economy is putting ours to shame, Chinese hackers are stealing blueprints to our fighter jets and our credit card numbers, China is the number one source of new billionaires, China has a massive overpopulation, our Navy is thinly stretched, at war, but still expected to protect the Somali coast, the Russians have a fighter plane that embarasses the twelve-years-in-the-making F-22 Raptor, we have been at war for 8 years (the longest war ever fought by an all volunteer army) which has been financed mostly by Chinese bought T-bills, and radical muslims are becoming a legitimate threat to acquiring Pakistan's arsenal of nuclear missiles and it doesnt look like anyone else is going to step up to the plate to stop them.

The upside? The one thing that mass media enjoys more than criticizing success is to gloat over an ugly fall. :rolleyes:

so yeah, Australian rabbits often get overlooked :D

May 7, 2009, 02:13 AM
Thanks Foxrr... It actually brought back memories talking about the ferreting. And yes just trying to give an insight to our american friends about whats happening with some of our pest species.

By no means am i having a crack at our US mates, you guys have been great on knowledge, opinions and advice... :D

I might start a thread on ferreting when i have a little more time.

Atticum i understand it is hard for you guys at the moment, i have family in the US which i am visiting in August. Ill do my best to pump some money into the economy. Especially your awesome hunting stores. Cant wait

Carne Frio
May 7, 2009, 04:25 AM
Hunting with ferrets sounds like a lot of fun. Sort of like
falconry for the common man. What species of ferret is
used ?

May 7, 2009, 04:47 AM
I dont think there are differernt species, i think they are closely related to the polecat. I had different colour ferrets all the time. Some were vicious buggers but others were so tame you could let them climb all over you.

I remember as a kid i used to carry one on my shoulder from warren to warren. Until one day she didnt come out. This was caused by a rabbit dying in the burrow and blocking there way out or they would make a kill and get full. The ferret would then nest down for the day especially if you worked it too hard.

we tried smoking her out that did not work, so we covered the holes best we could and came back in the morning. But she was gone... One of the best working ferrets i had.

May 7, 2009, 09:43 AM
Hunting with ferrets? I second the motion for a thread on that. I'd love to hear more about it!

May 10, 2009, 09:43 AM
I'll leave detailed description of ferret hunting to butta because I've never done it, only read about it. Looks like fun tho.
Just to give some background on European rabbits in the land of Oz :)
Some homesick Pommy bloke introduced a few rabbits into the east side of Australia back in the 1850s to indulge in a bit of Blitish-style sport - you know, pip pip ohld chap.:rolleyes:
By the 1920s it was estimated there were 10 BILLION (that's right!) rabbits spread across the continent. Some of the pics and movies made of the plague before the first introduction of a controlling disease in the 1950s - myxomatosis - are just incredible. Myxo decimated the rabbits but it wasn't too long before immunity reared its ugly head and the little critters made a huge comeback. About 10 years ago another disease, calisi virus was released in Australia and once again numbers of rabbits went into a sudden decline, especially in drier country. But they're on the way back again big-time as once again those rabbits with a level of immunity re-establish themselves. Short of global atomic catastrophy it's unlikely the battle against rabbits will ever be won in Oz. Good for hunters but with an estimated cost to agriculture here of around a billion dollars every 5 years (I believe), real bad for those on the land.

May 10, 2009, 10:06 AM
Well said Atticum

Death from Afar
May 11, 2009, 12:15 AM
Me and four mates shot 1400 in 3 days once. It was quite entertaining.

May 16, 2009, 01:09 AM
Spot on foxx, unreal to think there was ten billion of them. Myxo virus killed about 95% of the bunnies. Myxo is still around today but you will only find affected rabbits where the numbers are fairly large. there are exceptions though.

Ill get that thread on ferreting soon, just got back from holidays. :D

James R. Burke
May 25, 2009, 06:11 PM
It was good to hear a post from Butta 999. Keep them coming we do care. Some folks hear dont realize what a problem that can be, pretty neat hearing on how you hunt them. I live in Northern Mi and like Sportdog said I see more deer than rabbit hear. Might see a bunny in the yard now and then, but dont see much of them in the woods anymore. Keep those post coming from down under there great to hear how you hunt them etc.

May 26, 2009, 01:18 AM
Cheers james im going for a hunt in two weeks so ill have some more photos too i hope:)...

Then in four weeks im off hunting Sambar deer with the hound crews, which my best mate is in.

James R. Burke
May 26, 2009, 04:17 PM
Good luck on the hunt! Jim