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Old May 12, 2017, 07:40 PM   #1
Tinbucket
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Jack Rabbits

In the sixties on way to Nam we stopped at an air base in California to refuel.
As we were taxing to a terminal there were scads of jackrabbits everywhere.
Many had been run over by taxing aircraft and there we bloody remains everywhere. Everywhere you looked they were running as the jet scared them up. And a lot of coyotes were there chasing them or something.
I never saw the like before.
Then in the 90s and later on trips out west I don't remember seeing many if any, in the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana where the only thing you saw was wheat and yellow grasshoppers, nor in Tx,AZ or anywhere.
I remember reading Moms 'old school books from the thirties with photos of just dirt roads and lots of game and rabbits.
During the depression and dust bowl days Jack Rabbits kept many families from starving as did eating crows.
I head and heard of plagues or jackrabbits.
What has happened? Have they all bee poisoned? I never read reports of hunting Jack Rabbits. I understand they frequently tasted of sage.
Anyone hunting rabbits out west?
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Old May 12, 2017, 07:48 PM   #2
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delete, double post

Last edited by Rangerrich99; May 12, 2017 at 10:43 PM.
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Old May 12, 2017, 07:50 PM   #3
Rangerrich99
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Plenty of them in AZ, and southern UT. Sometimes we bag a few during a prairie dog shoot. I personally haven't shot one in a couple years, just cotton tails. One of my buddies took a couple jack rabbits home last spring, but neglected to get me a sample of his girlfriend's cooking.

Though I wouldn't say they're overrunning the place, everywhere I p-dog shoot I could probably bag enough for a family of four any day of the week.
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Old May 12, 2017, 08:10 PM   #4
Art Eatman
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There are cycles of population explosions. There was one in northeastern Nevada/southwestern Idaho in 1980 or 1981. I went out with a buddy in the desert near Winnemucca and we shot over 100 in about an hour, without leaving the truck.

In Idaho, farmers set up long vees of chicken-wire fencing. Several families would gather and herd the rabbits into the vee and club them. Saved their crops. Time magazine had an article about it.
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Old May 12, 2017, 08:22 PM   #5
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When I drove through Wyoming decades ago, the jacks were plastered all over the road and made the driving a little dicey at times. In NV they were everywhere. Not worth hunting compared to the cottontails.
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Old May 12, 2017, 10:31 PM   #6
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As Art mentioned, the Jack population is highly volatile. Some years it's a total bust, other years you have to stop firing because the barrel is almost on fire and you're nearly out of ammo.

Whether or not Jacks are worth even considering for eating depends upon the season and the location. Bubonic Plague is prevalent in some of their habitats (flea vector), and you don't want to be messing with that crap. They're also tick-ridden nightmares during the warm season.
In the winter, if it looks healthy and was hit appropriately... fair game.

They don't taste bad, at all.
But, like most game: Easy to overcook. Easy to cook too quickly. And easy to dry out. Gotta take it low, slow, and easy with some added fat.


I usually mess around in Southern Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Northern Utah. In these parts, 2008 was a decent year, 2012 was a boom year, and 2015 was pretty good.
This year.... zilch. Really rough winter.
(But I suspect they'll be breeding like crazy this year, feast upon the bounty provided by all the water, and give us a boom next year.)
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Old May 13, 2017, 05:40 AM   #7
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I think they do run in cycles. When I was young, we shot them regularly in Nebraska and Wyoming. Now I live in East Texas and haven't seen one in this area for many years now, although we do have a good cottontail population.
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Old May 13, 2017, 06:04 AM   #8
cptjack
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during my stint in new Mex we hunt them all the time ,fun with pistol, they would run and circle ,turn around and look ,bang if you guessed where they looked over their shoulder, every day at about 1 pm it would rain ,would take shelter in a old metal building ,when rain stopped about 10-15 minutes ,they would come out, bang,,,,,could smell them when one was near...was told by the locals ,that you would starve from eating jack rabbits, no noutrishism
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Old May 13, 2017, 12:17 PM   #9
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Like venison, rabbit meat has very little fat and if eaten without other fat in your diet you can get sick and die from the lack of fat. Other than that the meat is very good for you and full of the protein your body needs.
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Old May 13, 2017, 12:40 PM   #10
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Got them all the time here in N NV. Surprised I don't see more of them as road kill since they seem to like sitting in the middle of the street.
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Old May 13, 2017, 03:17 PM   #11
FITASC
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I used to live in your neck of the woods (Tahoe); those jacks were all over the hills West of Virginia City - they were a pest and treated as such. For what they lived on, you'd be better off going to McD's for a grease burger
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Old May 13, 2017, 11:40 PM   #12
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They're down here, haven't bagged one yet for the stewpot. AZ Fish and Game calls them, and no, I'm not making this up, "Arizona's original fast food."
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Old May 15, 2017, 01:02 AM   #13
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I was driving out in the middle of nowhere around here... In the Owhees in SW Idaho and seen plenty. Nothing for miles and miles but sagebrush.
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Old May 15, 2017, 08:24 AM   #14
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Jackrabbits run in bust/boom cycles of about 7-10 years, but these cycles tend to be local or regional. So what is being seen in west Texas may not be going on in Arizona or central New Mexico, for example. The population will explode and the collapse.
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Old May 15, 2017, 03:02 PM   #15
FITASC
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Quote:
AZ Fish and Game calls them, and no, I'm not making this up, "Arizona's original fast food.
I would have thought that to be the Road Runner (BEEP BEEP)
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Old May 15, 2017, 03:21 PM   #16
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apparently, there's no shortage in Bishop, CA, either. My wife has all sorts of tales of the cousins out chasing jackrabbits with 22s.
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Old May 15, 2017, 04:17 PM   #17
FITASC
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Quote:
The population will explode and the collapse.
Weather, water, food, predators - all will differ, not only from state to state, but even from county to county out West (where some counties are bigger than certain Eastern states) and will affect the populations of jacks, cottontails, quail, chukar, etc.
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Old May 16, 2017, 06:14 AM   #18
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Sounds like you landed at Travis AF Base. When I was stationed there in the 1980's, plenty of jack rabbits, too. My secondary job was wildlife control and I trapped or shot dozens of jacks near the airfield. They're good eating during the "winter" months and make great stew or chili.

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Old May 16, 2017, 10:48 AM   #19
Art Eatman
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When my mother was a little girl of five years, +/-, there was just enough of a bounty on jackrabbits to keep the kids in .22 shells. Probably two or three cents. Hereford, Texas, around 1915.
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Old May 19, 2017, 10:23 AM   #20
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Only jackrabbits worth eating in AZ were the antelope jack rabbits. They were in general not worm infested like the other jacks, and had delicious meat. But relatively scarce, not found all over AZ.
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Old May 19, 2017, 11:24 AM   #21
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Beware the jackelope, particularly during mating season.

https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/...=yhs-fh_lsonsw
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Old May 19, 2017, 11:31 AM   #22
FITASC
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You REALLY want to beware of this guy during mating season:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wester...ck_rattlesnake
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Old May 19, 2017, 11:47 AM   #23
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Peach Pits!

I was stationed at Castle AFB in the CA central valley back in the 1970's. We had boom-bust on jackrabbits and there were a lot of them.

Scads of fun, and I had a good accurate old Winchester .22 semi auto. We shot at ton of em. all shortly after the local Peach harvest came in. The processor would pile huge mounds of Peach pits on their property.

One does not have to wonder what happens to a jackrabbit population when the food supply is unlimited. Only downside was that Winnie really needed to be a .22 Mag. They were big tough Jacks. Almost all were shot on the run.
Never even considered eating em. Sure shot a lot of em tho.
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