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Old February 11, 2007, 10:25 PM   #1
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Late season cottontail, alone, no dog. help

Is there anyone that can give me some pointers to hunting cottontails, January - March, alone with no dog? There is an area I hunt that I know there are a few, but once it gets past the first freeze, I never seem to be able to find any. I know they are around, I dont find any crap anywhere, and every thicket looks like the next, there are little pathways through thickets and tall grass everywhere but I have no idea where to go from here.
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Old February 11, 2007, 10:48 PM   #2
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So you're trying to jump them yourself? I ask because that technique never works for me. For solo hunts I usually just find a nice sized headland and wait early morning and late afternoon for them to work their way out into my sights. I'll usually take my .22 rifle with some stingers and take them one at a time. Other than that, it's really hard to try to trudge your way through thickets and deep brush all while being wary of any movement or sounds around you.
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Old February 11, 2007, 10:51 PM   #3
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I have to use shotgun or bow because of the area im in, I cant seem to find where exactly they will be coming out in mornings and evenings, do i just have to keep trying different probable spots or what
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Old February 11, 2007, 11:08 PM   #4
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Is it possible that they get REALLY nocturnal this time of year? If so, they're holed up pretty good while you're walking around.
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Old February 11, 2007, 11:18 PM   #5
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They are nocturnal this time of the year. They pretty much stay holed up during the day unless they are starving and are forced to forage for food. Holed up is just a term for staying in cover. They do like holes, but usually don't run into holes unless they are pushed.

If you have snow, it can be fun to track them.

It can be very difficult to hunt rabbits alone. Walk slowly and hit every thick place you can find to jump the bunnies out. Yes, I'm serious. Wear pants that your legs won't get torn up with briars and so forth. Keep your eyes open for any movement (ears, hippity-hoppity, running etc.). Sometimes you can see their eyes if your eyes are good. Depending on the weather, sometimes you almost have to tramp on them to get them to jump out. You just have to pay attention and have your shotgun ready for a quick shot. Don't waste your time with a bow.

Hunting rabbits with a bow is a lot of fun if you have dogs to trail them.
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Old February 13, 2007, 08:16 AM   #6
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I always did pretty well alone in Michigan just stomping around, making as much noise as possible, and kicking/stomping on any logs, bramble, thickets, etc I saw.Always sent a few runnin in a 5-6 hour days hunt....
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Old February 15, 2007, 06:16 PM   #7
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bunny hunting

I have gotten rabbits with .22, 20gauge and 12 gauge. All on my own no dog. .22 handgun is by far my favorite.

If you track you want new snow. They move at night. Best Ideal condtions snow stopped at 1:00 am. They will move until around 4 this will give you the least amount of tracks. On rabbit can make alot tracks. If you get into an area and notice tracks don't follow the first track. Circle completly the area first. This way If you jump a rabbit and he goes outside the circle tracking will be alot easier.Most rabbits will only travel a short distance and will often make loop around thier homeland. They eat fur type trees you can smell it when you gut them so look under every fur type tree. One of the biggest things with tracking is don't get too involved looking at tracks. A rabbit will let you walk 2 feet from them. Well I can't talk all day.
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Old February 16, 2007, 01:09 AM   #8
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Late season cottontail, alone, no dog. help
Gotta watch out for them bunnies...better carry a 44 at least

No,,, but in all seriousness I would walk very slow, staying extremely alert for any movement and carry a 22/20 gauge if I had one or a shotgun if not. Be ready to make fast shots as I doubt you will see the rabbit but a very few seconds. Try walking along the bottom of rocky hillsides or where railroads have been built up with large rocks. The more cracks and crevices they can hide in the better and the more open area you can find the more area you can see, all the better that also.
I know open areas aren't over abundant in western Washington but there are some.
I would imagine rabbit hunting is better east of you up the gorge maybe in the Hood River area and east from there, I have not hunted rabbits in your area but have spent quite a bit of time in that part of the world, and it looks like better bunny hunting there to me than where you live. Ask some local guys.
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Old February 16, 2007, 03:45 PM   #9
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Early morning...In most states you can shoot them at night, but check you laws. That's the easiest way to find em solo.
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Old February 16, 2007, 10:22 PM   #10
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I alway had pretty good luck hunting bunnies. Get out right at sunrise, move along slowly, watching for bunnies at the edges of briars and tangles. Shoot them in the head with a 22. No problem! Just move slowly, and keep your eyes open.

A dog gets them moving, but it also alerts other rabbits in the area that there is a large predator out and about.
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Old February 17, 2007, 01:38 AM   #11
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I can only use a 22 if its a revolver, my area allows no rifles. I will probably use a shotgun
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Old February 17, 2007, 07:56 AM   #12
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I prefer to hunt rabbit without dogs. I hunt along the edge of corn fields where it meets the woods. On my farm I leave a weed buffer patch. I walk through the thickets, jump up and down on brush piles. You will hear the thump as they run and then probably will see them. I simulate dogs noises by howling when I am certain there is a rabbit in a batch. In my area they eat long grass, hickory nuts and corn. High coyote pressure seems to keep them very active. I find that the more noise I make I force them to jump further out making shots easy(not forcing me to shoot from on top of a brush pile or in the middle of a berry briar patch. I enjoy hunting rabbit more than anything I have ever hunted. When I hunt with family and friends there is no need to be quite and it is great exercise walking, their speed keeps your shooting skills sharp, and best of all I always kick up a pheasant or quail.
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