Rabbit Hunting Tips
Rabbit is one of the most popular small game meats as it is featured in many popular dishes. Hasenpfeffer being a dish made popular by Bugs Bunny himself!
Rabbits can be found on the edges of open fields that meet forest or woodland. They seek the shelter offered in thick brush such as thick grass, black berry bushes, and briars while they forage for food such as grass, clover, buds, twigs, broad leaf weeds, soybeans, alfalfa, and vegetables typically found in farming fields. Get to know your local farmers and ask permission to hunt their fields. Their land is ideal rabbit territory and since they work it dally they will be able to tell you where the rabbits are.
If you are unable to get permission to hunt on a farmer's field, don't worry. There are many rabbits found in woodland territory as well and since most hunters prefer the farmer's fields, they are under less hunting pressure. In the right conditions, their populations can climb very high very quickly. Woodland rabbits prefer the shelter of fallen trees and thick brush so keep an eye out for where they can hide from the bad weather.
When hunting Rabbit, you can use a shotgun, 22. caliber rifle, bow and arrow, or even a high powered pellet gun. The most success will be found with a shotgun with an improved cylinder and No. 6 shells.
When shooting at a sitting rabbit, try to make it a quick kill and go for the head. Rabbits in distress squeal very loudly. Many rabbit hunters carry with them a thick piece of wood such as a fish bat so they can give a hard hit to the back of the rabbit's head, quieting the rabbit very quickly. If shooting at a running rabbit, try to lead your shot and shoot where the rabbit is going to be, not where it is. Many bow hunters practice rabbit hunting by trying to hit a American football (Not soccer ball) as it tumbles down a hill. The abnormal and jerky path of a football tumbling downhill simulates the back and forth path of a running rabbit.
The most successful way to hunt rabbit is with a friend to flush them from the shelter of their hiding spot. Make sure you wear your hunter orange and know where your friend is at all times. Clearly identify your target before shooting when hunting rabbit with a friend. Have one person designated as the "stomper" and the other is the shooter. Once you find brush or a fallen tree that you feel is likely to house a rabbit or two, look for a path that shows signs of use. Have the shooter sit a little bit away while being able to clearly see this path. The stomper's job is to stomp through the far side of the brush or fallen tree making as much noise as possible to startle the rabbit and cause it to run towards the waiting shooter.
Hunting with a dog is another great way to find those hiding rabbits. Take your dog for a walk and let it flush out the rabbit from its hiding hole.
If you are going to "spot and stalk" rabbit, look for their eyes. Their camouflage does a great job and you will have a hard time identifying a hiding rabbit but nature does not make perfect circles so watch for their eyes. They are much easier to recognize. Look under evergreens, in thick grass. and under thick brush. Rabbits also hide in rock outcroppings but be careful when shooting in these areas. Not only do you have to watch for ricochets but you want to make sure you get a clean kill and not let a wounded rabbit escape into a crevice where it may die slowly or your will not be able to get him when he does pass.
Rabbits are nervous animals and will hide until they think you have spotted them. So walk 10 steps and stop, wait a few moments, then repeat. Look over your shoulder often. Don't be surprised to see a rabbit dart across the path where you just were, thinking you are gone and making a dash for their shelter.