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Rabbits on the Run

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Published on: Dec. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 4, 2010

area you are hunting has woodchuck holes, have one hunter stake out these escape hatches while the other beats the surrounding brush. Sentries should stand atop tree stumps, brush piles or anything that allows them to look down through cover.

  • When hunting in groups, always have someone walk the edge between brushy cover and open ground. Rabbits often hop just outside thick cover and run a short distance along a road or open field, creating a golden opportunity for a shot.
  • Take time to plan strategy before hunting an area. Say you are hunting with several friends and you come to a 10-acre field of soybeans the farmer left standing because cockleburs took it over. At one end of the field is an impenetrable multiflora rose hedge. The opposite end opens onto a large expanse of bare ground. The long sides of the soybean patch are bordered by brushy ditches.
  • Rabbits will feed in the soybeans, especially early and late in the day. If they flee into the rose thicket, they're home free, so start there, forming a line of hunters between the soybeans and the thicket. Walk the length of the field, driving the rabbits ahead of you toward the open end.
  • Hunters on the outside will get lots of shots as rabbits try to duck into the bordering ditches. Hunters in the middle will get increasing action as they near the end of the field and rabbits run out of cover.
  • When you reach the end of the field, send some of your party back to the far end of the field to stand guard where the brushy ditches meet the rose thicket. When they are in place, have the rest of your party flank the ditches, again driving the rabbits ahead of them.
  • A matter of principle

    New rabbit hunters have an opportunity to develop hunting ethics that will enhance their enjoyment and protect the future of their sport by portraying a positive image to nonhunters. Always ask permission before hunting on private land and respect livestock, fences and other property.

    Take time out during the hunt to think over your actions. If you take four rabbits from a small strip of cover, you might get a couple more by scouring the strip again. On the other hand, you might want to leave the remaining rabbits for "seed."

    Perhaps you shot a rabbit at such close range that its food value was ruined. There's a lesson in that; easy shots aren't always worth taking.

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