View Full Version : Rabbit hunting

January 9, 2001, 10:37 PM
Took a long, early lunch today to rabbit hunt on a
co-worker's farm. Three of us went, and ended up with 4 for the pot.
I am afraid I must make an observation about myself. I am soft.

I have discovered I am more of a shooter than a hunter.
Or, I enjoy the hunt, but I am not as willing to clean and prepare the kill for consumption.
As these were the first rabbits I have ever shot or cleaned,
I really don't enjoy the mess and time it takes to do this.
Right now, the pieces are soaking in salt water, and they will be cooked tomorrow.
I am sorry, but I am soft. I never had to forage for food, nor kill critters to keep the family fed. I am a punk.

I really enjoyed being in the woods with friends, and the excitement as we kicked up our prey, and the walking through the deep snow is sure to let me sleep well. I never got a shot off at these rabbits, as my buddy forgot to return the .410 I loaned him. I used a S&W 22a instead.
The rabbits my companions shot were dispatched with a Mossberg 500 in 20 ga and an older Ithica pump in 16 ga.

I guess I am more of a varmint hunter, and look foreward to the challenge of the hunt, but I like the steak and chicken I buy at the market. I do feel, however, if the quarry is commonly edible game, if you shoot it, you should eat it.

I hope 'yall don't think bad of me, and I really respect the many folks who like to hunt and kill and cook their own food as a matter of course. Good luck on your safaris, local and distant. I will support you all the way.
But for me it's beef. That's what's for dinner!

January 10, 2001, 02:05 AM
Just recently, we went on a rabbit hunt, and got a bunch. We have snowshoes up here. While I like to use my .22 MKII pistol, my brother likes the pump .410 . After cleaning a couple of his rabbits I devised a rule like this: "I no longer clean, or eat rabbits shot with a shotgun."
Now we all use .22's . I'm tired of cleaning rabbits that have their poop-bags shot open, and bile all over the meat. I also don't like chomping down on lead everyother bite, or having to eat at a slugs pace. We still get plenty of rabbits with the .22's, and I guess using shotguns for birds is OK:)

Dave R
January 10, 2001, 01:43 PM
Tatters, sound like the part you didn't like was cleaning them, right? Haven't eaten them yet, right?

BadMed has a good point, that rabbits shot with a .22 will be easier/cleaner than those shot with a shotgun.

Also, you may not want to make your judgement based on 1 experience.

When I first began fishing, I didn't like the cleaning part either, first few times. But after I got decent at cooking them, it was a whole different matter.

Likewise, when I began bird hunting, I wasn't wild about cleaning birds the first coupla times. But now, no problem.

I'm tring to self-psychoanalyze here, but here's what I think happened to me:

1) Maybe I just got de-sensitized to blood & guts?
2) Maybe I began to appreciate the miracle of life more, understanding anatomy, appreciating the intricate processes that sutain life (I'm serious).
3) Maybe I just began to see cleaning as part of the whole hunting/cleaning/eating cycle.
4) Maybe the "great hunter" spirit in me began to kick in, and I get significant satisfaction in being able to bag the game and get it to the table in a meal the whole family enjoys. I think, down deep, there is this feeling that "yes, if society as we know it falls apart, I could still feed my family". I enjoy that feeling.
5) Maybe the Native American in me is waking up...I feel a reverence and seriousness for the life I have taken, but with the understanding that it will sustain me, and that I am also part of the chain of life.
6) Another hunter pointed out to me that all the meat in the supermarket goes through the same process, its just that someone else does it. Now I can do it for myself.

Anyway, if you try it a few more times, you may find your attitude about it changing, for 1 or more of the above reasons.

January 11, 2001, 10:05 AM
I also don't particularly enjoy cleaning my game. As mentioned above, it's probably a question of "desensitizing;" to sovle the problem, just hunt more!

or, go on a camping trip where all you do for food is hunt.. then you'll really appretiate cleaning!

One thing which makes it somewhat more tolerable is tossing a pair of latex gloves in your pocket.
You can get packs of ten gloves for just a couple bucks at any hardware store.

In some areas, you should do this even if you're not squemish. Rabbits, before the first good freeze, carry tuleremia(sp?), and deer of course often have Lyme disease..
It would suck to have a great hunt ruined by a life-long disease...

January 11, 2001, 11:57 AM
Don't forget that varmints, fox, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, and others carry rabies.

January 11, 2001, 07:38 PM
Thanks for the advice and encouragement. Maybe the blood and guts and smell are a problem, but maybe the .22 is the answer. I used latex gloves in the process, and would have never known about the rabbit bug without a posting right here sometime ago. Thanks for the warning.

My family won't eat a complete meal featuring wild game, which leaves me the only one to eat it. They see it as a novelty and tolerate my wanting to hunt. They will eat a bite or two. My step-son caught a pellet in the molar much to his chagrin. That is also the problem, while they support my hunting desires, they are also store bought food folks. We were not brought up to hunt and forage, as we were more or less city folk. It is nice to know I can get food for survival if necessary, but one hunting trip didn't prove much.

I personally like squirrel and rabbit, but I can only eat so much by myself.

Maybe another hunting trip is in my future. Another couple of my friends want to go. We shall see.

January 12, 2001, 09:03 PM
I have another place I get my rubber gloves. I am a Fire fighter/ EMT so I just go to the ambulance or the " Fire truck" and get some. You can always take your kids to the station to see the trucks while there ask for a few sets and tell them you want them for hunting the chances are you will be given some. I know we do give them out

Art Eatman
January 13, 2001, 12:49 AM
Around age seven or eight, my grandmother sent me out to catch a hen and wring its neck. Well, being interested in having more for lunch than lettuce, I complied. She then showed me about de-feathering, cleaning, and proper disassembly of a chicken into its component parts.

'Twas a good lunch.

Growing up with that sort of thing, I took it for granted that if you wanted to eat, you learned about killing and butchering. Store-bought food cost cash money.

Townies are trainable about reality; it just takes awhile. Now, it's one thing for the Katie Courics of this world to squeal and wiggle at watching a lobster being thrown into a pot of boiling water, but that's not something that mature people do. "Maturity" is the operative word.

I've always remembered a murder case over around Bryan, Texas, some years back. One fella hired another fella to kill the first fella's business partner. The jury found the actual killer worthy of around 20 years. The employer got life without parole. That just goes to show the difference in morality between those who do their own killing, versus those who hire it done.

Those who only buy meat from the grocery are hiring the dirty work to be done. Do-it-yourselfers are of a higher morality.

:), Art

January 17, 2001, 03:49 PM
Arent rabbits always running i havent seen very much standing still so wouldnt it be hard to hit a running rabbit with a .22 i want to know because i will be going rabbit hunting soon and have the choice to use either a .22 or a 12 guage
I have one more question too when hunting rabbits is one suppused to be quiet and sneak around or make a lot of noise to disturb the rabbits so you see em

January 17, 2001, 03:59 PM
It seems to me that both will work.

You can
1. pretend you're upland bird hunting (a few people, a few dogs, a few shotgus) or
2. pretend you're squirrel hunting (walk slowly, silently through the woods)

the first is mroe social and probably more profitable, but wither should work.

I personally prefer the latter, since as of yet, I'm much better at shooting a rifle than a shotgun.

though, I'd think a 12 ga. is a bit overkill unless it has totally open chokes.. maybe a 20???

January 17, 2001, 04:54 PM
Rabbits cannot out run a predator, such as a coyote, fox, or bobcat, and rarely will they out manuevre them. Sometimes they can get down a hole, but mostly their method is camoflauge. They run until just out of sight, and then hide by a bush or tree or shadow and let you pass.

When you're walking along, and jump a rabbit, you can:

A: Blast him with a shotgun...or
B: watch him until he stops, and then shoot him with a .22...Or
C: Watch him until he gets out of sight. Ease up to his postition, and stop where you last saw him. Scan the brush, and shadow, and all othre terrain for Mr. Bunny, he is probably less than 10 yards away.

My brother likes the blast them with his 12ga. That sucks, cuz cleaning them is quite a chore, that's why I opt to pop them with my .22, I still usually get more than him.

As far as the two methods, we do both. We walk in a line, about 10 yards apart, slowly and quitely through the brush. Often we push them towards each other, with the rabbits trying to sneak around us.

January 17, 2001, 05:21 PM
We mostly shoot our rabbits while they are feeding outside their burrows. We use.22 subsonic ammunition and a silencer. It's possible to have a few dead before the others are suspicious. Have any of you guys used the .22 loaded with shot. I would imagine it would be a lot more effective on running shots, I always wanted to try them on the Rats that live around the farm.
Be safe.


Dave R
January 17, 2001, 05:25 PM
Eddie, I have shot a few of those shot shells at paper and they have a very short range. The patterns open up with 3-5 yards. The rifled barrel spins the shot, which makes the pattern open up right away. And since you have so few (and so small) pellets to start with, I don't think those .22 shot shells will be practical. Best to use a shotgun, or solid .22's

Just my opinion. Someone with more experience using 'em please correct as needed.

January 17, 2001, 05:33 PM
My idea of using the .22 loaded with shot was against rats in and around farm buildings. I would have imagined their low velocity and pattern( possibly) would have made them quite effective in the close quarters battle with the rats.
I plan to try some if summer ever gets here.
Be safe.


January 17, 2001, 05:36 PM
My parents use them (.22 shot loads) in their backyard against chipmunks.

The CCI ones with the little blue tops seems to have very poor range and spread, but the other ones, by Remington, etc, with a metal crimp seem to work well at relatively short range.

these metal crimped ones, of course, cannot be used in an autoloader.

rats are tougher than chipmunks, though, so who knows..

January 17, 2001, 05:37 PM

I appologise for redirecting your thread.
You know how it is when you get going on your sport.
Be safe


Art Eatman
January 17, 2001, 06:04 PM
Anybody who can hit a running rabbit with a .22 is one heckuva good shot. My respect to them! Usually, rabbits don't run in a straight line. The reason they're hard to hit (or catch) is that they don't know where they're going next, either!

.22 rimfire shot works real good on rats, in the two- to four-yard range. Snakes too, for headshots at a yard or so. The Remington shot cartridges work well in a short-barrelled revolver...

There's lots of stuff that ain't all that much fun, but ya gotta think past it. Gutting/butchering game, cleaning fish, rebuilding a motor: When you're all done, life gets a whole bunch better! Good eats beats going hungry; riding beats walking. And doin' it yourownself is a prideful thing.

:), Art

January 17, 2001, 08:52 PM
Art, Art, Art, always quick with good logical thinkin'...however, have you ever rebuilt and engine that you didn't have to?? I'm not preaching laziness, I'm preaching prevention. I don't like cleaning a rabbit that has his guts all blown through the meat, mixed with broken bons fragments, that just isn't fun. I like cleaning a rabbit that was perfectly dispatched with a .22 to the head. No meat damage, not spilled guts all over the meat, just much easier. Although there is somthing to be said for the guy who does things the hard way.... He's dumb:D hehe

About those shotshells, we had some made by remington, crimped metal at the end. At about 10' not all of the pellets would hit a paper plate, they opened up that much. At that range they wouldn't even knock over an empty soda can. We also have some .44 shotshells that a friend handloaded. Those bad-boys were lethal on grouse, ptarmigan, and rabbits out to a good 20 yards, more maybe. But man were they LOUD!!!!

January 17, 2001, 11:12 PM
I prefer a .22 Pellet gun for mine.

Art Eatman
January 17, 2001, 11:34 PM
BadMedicine, most of my race motors got new rings and bearings and the valves touched up at fairly low time. And I recall a few street engines that got a rebuild before they really needed it.

"Gee, Art, you've got the only car I ever saw with worn-out motor mounts!"

:), Art

January 18, 2001, 12:29 AM
If it ain't a varmit, you kill it -you clean it!
.22 cal. is all I've used for years to hunt wascal wabbit.
Less waste-more eat!!!!!

Keith J
January 18, 2001, 01:12 AM
I use my RWS 48. It churns the Beeman Silver Bears at 1100 ft/ second and works well on cottontails. For squirrel I use the RWS hollowpoint as it penetrates better and makes a wound just like solid standard velocity .22 except much safer in populated areas.

The Beemans stay together but don't penetrate as well since they expand more. The RWS blow the front half off in a ring while the back portion continues to travel, often exiting a squirrel. Beemans won't completely penetrate a 2 liter soda bottle full of water but the back half of an RWS will!

On cleaning rabbits, do it right after killing them and its easiest. Bring a small game gambrel (leg hooks, looks like a coathanger) and start at the rear legs, making a slit from foot to foot, right between the tail and poop-chute.
Gain a purchase on both sides, pulling the tail, legs and head through so that you turn the skin inside-out. Then gut and clip the feet. Less hair and fast. Clean up, ice the game and continue the hunt.

Shotshells? Only #6 or larger and 20 gauge or smaller. 5/8 oz is plenty with IC bore.

Forget .22 shot for anything bigger than small rat at close range. I've kille starlings at 50 feet but that's a stretch even with rosette crimped shells. At 15 feet, its a blast hunting rat. Use a pump and have fun!

BTW, I've used .45 shotshells to kill a raccoon! It was in the attic and took 9 shells from my Para-Ord. They don't penetrate 5/8" drywall at 20 feet. Low recoil enabled me to shoot 9 times FAST. I wish for #6 and a barrel with a sloooow twist, say 1:100" which should be legal with the ATF.

January 19, 2001, 01:33 AM
I've been hunting small game for years, and I never really got into it either. I would do it for something to do. Finally this year it all clicked. I loved the solitude. I loved the sounds of the wind, leaves, river, and birds. I loved the bite of the cold, and the warmth of the coffee. I enjoyed my scratchy old GI wool blanket when it got down-right nippy out.
I don't know why, after all these years I finally got it, but I did. I never could understand why everybody loved hunting so much, but I kept at it thinking I might figure it out some day, and at least it was cheaper than golf. I can't say why I like it like I do, but I do.
Even after cleaning probably upwards of a hundred deer (I do it for friends too), and maybe a thousand squirell, I really enjoyed it this year. Eating them was just as much of a pleasure.

The only thing different this year that I can think of is that I brought a thermos of coffee with me, and I ate a hearty breakfast before I went out. Breakfast really does make a difference! Am I crazy, or was being cold, and hungry all these years a bad combination?

January 19, 2001, 12:44 PM
kjm, you have to be comfortable!!!! It is when you are not comfy that nothing is fun. I just bought some trapper boots this year that are good for -80degrees F. I can't count all the times I did not want to quit deer hunting for the day, but had to due to cold feet. Now I get lost all day in the woods in the nastiest wheather. Happy Hunting!!!!!

January 20, 2001, 05:44 PM
15 years ago, I shot my first rabbit. I remember the surprise of just about jumping it, the smooth motion shoulder-hammer down-BANG with my grandpa's single shot .410, the sight of the little critter tumbling down... and then it started crying... so I snapped its neck, sat down and lit a cigarette with trembling hands...
There I was! A man!(well, 14, but still a man!)
Then came the chore of cleaning and skinning. Since the adrenalin was still pumping (I AM A MAN!!!!), the whole thing went OK. Then I cooked it, and man was it ever good!
Since that time, I have harvested countless rabbit, grouse and ptarmigan, plus caribou, deer and moose, but that day will always be on my mind as memories of other hunts fade...
Done with poetry, now the practical stuff: Wife-children are not too wild about wild meat? You could start the way I did... I married a city girl that didn't even eat meat to start with...
1- Introduce venison progressively
2- Don't serve as is, cook it in a stew, sheperd pie, or mix ground meat with beef or whatever
3- Don't insist about them eating it all...
It took me 3 years and some to get Wife accustomed, but now she thinks that beans do not taste as good if there ain't grouse in there! OTOH, she still won't eat my famous bear roast...
Good hunting.

January 20, 2001, 07:21 PM
Thibault, you from AK, or canada?? Just the name of all the species you hunt makes you sound pretty far north.

January 21, 2001, 08:00 AM
Hey Bad Med, I live at the other end of the continent, or just about... Northern Quebec, 53'37"N, 77'42"W, 100 miles south of the first Inuit village... Not very far up north, as far as lattitude goes, but since we are next to an almost-enclosed body of water, climate is very comparable to AK.
-25 C this morning (what is it in F?)

Art Eatman
January 21, 2001, 12:54 PM
F = 9/5 C + 32; C = 5/9 (F - 32). 1.8 degrees F = 1.0 degrees C. 0 C = 32 F.

So, F = 1.8 x -25, +32; -45 + 32 = -13 F.



January 21, 2001, 12:59 PM
Man, you guys really make me want to go after some more rabbit. Still got two more months to hunt . . .

January 21, 2001, 01:01 PM
Whoa! Best way to hide my ignorance would have been to say " it's cold!"... but thanks, Art:)

January 21, 2001, 03:09 PM
(all temperatures are in farenhiet)
Well, we have had one of the wierdest damn winters on record!! Usually this time of year it hangs around zero for about a month, and we have 4-8 foot of snow in the yard, but this winter we've had warm and cold spells and not much snow fall. The biggest snow we've had this winter was 8 inches, and if none of all our snow had melted, we still wouldn't have had more than 2'. Unfortunately after every snow it gets warms and melts it. Our roads and yards are frozen in about 6 inches of clear ice eek! The coldest it's even got this winter was about 5 degrees, and for the last week it's been above freezing. Today it's 35 !!!