How to Hunt Rabbits without a Dog
Oct 17, · Hunting with a buddy or two works to cover more ground and bring bunnies out from beneath the cover. When one hunter does a zigzag across the brush, another posts on the edge of the cover where the driven rabbits will exit. Tight sitting bunnies will hold on to their hideout even when a hunter makes a pass. Two hunters moving slowly about 30 yards apart is standard practice for jumping and shooting rabbits without a beagle pack, but there’s a better way. Have one hunter move quietly forward through.
By David Draper September 11, Trailing bunny-chasing beagles withokt hedgerows and thickets is a hoot. But for those of us without a pack of howling hounds, bagging rabbits is all about finding the right cover, moving with stealth, and having a friend willing to endure a few or a lot of brier scratches. Rabbits tend to hole up where how to edit your pictures to look like tumblr pictures and cover are in close proximity.
Overgrown hedgerows of fruit-bearing bushes and abandoned farmsteads flanked by agricultural fields offer the ideal mix. Rabbits are also sun lovers, especially after long periods of dithout weather. Wait until well bow dawn to find them catching some rays out in the open. In terms of ideal rabbit habitat, the thicker the better. But that makes for tough shooting, so concentrate on dense thickets bordered by short grass or other openings, and be prepared to snap-shoot when the bunny busts out.
While one hunter kicks loudly through cover, the other should quietly walk along the edge, watching for fleeing bunnies up ahead. Rabbits will often hold their ground at the very edge of the cover and let a fast-moving hunter pass by within inches.
The brush buster can make them nervous by walking slowly and stopping frequently to let the scene get quiet. To kick off Earth Day, here's a look back on some of the most impactful conservation victories ever.
Dog-gone business. Mike Sudal Trailing bunny-chasing beagles along hedgerows and thickets is a hoot. Out test proves Want more of the Great Outdoors?
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To do this: Pinch the rabbit’s back and make a small cut. Hook your fingers underneath the cut and pull the skin apart; one hand going towards the head and the other to . Dec 29, · Find ‘Em First. Rabbits don’t travel far between cover and food so one of the best places to find them is in thick, brushy areas right next to where they like to eat—open grassy areas with clovers and broadleaf weeds, or crop fields that have been planted in soybeans, peanuts, wheat, alfalfa and the like. Hunters without dogs need to find thick early successional cover interspersed with grassy areas that contain a variety of food sources. Typically, large amounts of cover that protect rabbits also have abundant food. But attractive food close to the edge of cover increases the .
A strategy that mixes patience with quick shooting can lead to solo-hunter success. Photo by Stephen D. The burning question among rabbit hunters is: Can one hunt rabbits alone and on foot, without a dog? Considering that I spent most of my youth and early teens doing exactly that, I can say without a doubt, yes.
Rest assured, it is possible to be a successful, houndless rabbit hunter. Limit days are possible for hunters with infinite patience who are sharp-witted, sharp-eyed and quick on the draw.
Hunting cottontails without a hound can be tough, but it can be done. Easy enough. Many, many years ago I had the luxury of roaming the family farm with my single-shot Winchester Model Long hours in the field taught me that stealth and patience were mandatory for this kind of grassroots hunting. In those days, I was allowed to use only.
Our farm was replete with wetlands, briar patches, sapling stands, irrigation ponds and fence lines, all overgrown and thick as steel wool. I discovered that the cottontails had complete trust in their natural camouflage and used the dense cover to keep them safe. All I had to do was move slowly through the brush, stopping often, spotting them as they patiently waited for me to go on by. I found that rabbits would hunker down in the tall grass or back up against a sapling, blowdown or brushpile and sit practically in plain sight as I crept slowly by.
I learned to keep moving, very slowly, scanning the forest floor around me, taking one slow step at a time. I learned that if I stopped suddenly the rabbit would take that as a threat and scamper away, but if I moved slowly and deliberately, angling away from potential targets, I could close the distance to 10 yards or less. Many times, I was able to walk past a flattened, sitting rabbit that was just a few feet away.
Cottontails are fond of overgrown fence lines and the brushy areas beneath powerline poles, gas lines and other places where thick cover is abundant. Most rabbits will be found backed up against a post, stump or clump of grass, but some will be snuggled into the tangled weeds, brush and sapling cover nearby.
Over time I learned to recognize the places where a rabbit should be and most of the time I was right. If the cover is dense enough to offer a safe haven from winged and fanged predators, there will probably be a rabbit in it or somewhere nearby.
I would often stand still and stare at a piece of cover for 20 minutes or more, sure that a rabbit was holding tight. Part of the old family farm featured an overgrown irrigation ditch that was deep and thickly wooded, no more than 30 yards from bank to bank. I found that if I walked slowly along one side of the ditch the rabbits would run to and along the other side, giving me a chance for a shot when they stopped for a quick look back. Look for cottontails in thick cover including hedgerows, woodlot edges and creek bottoms.
Some cottontails will sit tight and hope you pass by, but others will jump and run. When this happens, I try to keep an eye on them, gun up and ready, because cottontails have a habit of stopping for a quick look back before they take off again at high speed.
As is the case when a cottontail is jumped by a pack of hounds, the cottontail will slowly make its way back to its original hiding place. This is also good for hunters to know even when they miss a chance at a rabbit. Another great place to still-hunt for cottontails is along abandoned railroad tracks. Some of these have been turned into hiking trails, so check with local authorities before you go out with a rifle or shotgun looking for rabbits.
The cover here is usually thick and forbidding, providing perfect cover for loafing cottontails. Rail berms are loaded with rabbits because they are often the only available cover. Also, they tend to border crop fields and farm lands where there is plenty of food for cottontails to eat during the night. By day the rabbits tuck into the thick brush beside the tracks.
Keep a sharp eye on the slopes and tops of these berms because that is where most of the rabbits will spend their day. On the return trip, walk along the opposite side of the berm to catch rabbits that have learned to avoid the relatively open track side.
Snowshoe hares are much larger than cottontails and are much easier to see. Through most of the hunting season they are nearly all white and stand out like a sore thumb, especially on bare ground. I think this is because hares do not go to ground when pursued a real advantage for hunters and they tend to trust their long, strong legs to get themselves out of trouble when their white camouflage fails them. They will usually hop away a few yards and then sit quietly, offering an easy shot at close range.
At 10 or 20 yards in thin cover a snowshoe hare offers a big target. Its head is the size of an orange centered by a big, black eye. Experienced marksmen will have no trouble making a clean head shot. Hares are rather trusting critters and will usually sit tight, fully exposed, while deciding what their next move will be.
Deep snow and cold are no deterrents to hares. Check out some of the compound bows from this year's ATA Show. Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it. If looking for the ultimate kayak that's both portable and lightweight, then consider a quality inflatable like the Hobie Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight.
If there is one thing that can make a hunter a better shooter, it's a better trigger. Triggers with heavy pull weights, and excessive creep and overtravel can ruin a shot—and a day—in the deer woods. The Lupo's trigger is designed to help hunters place their shots accurately. Let's look at the details on episode nine of Beyond the Rifle. Wanting to tune, tinker, and test your archery equipment without taking a trip to the pro shop?
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Subscribe To The Magazine. More Articles From Small Game. No Problem A careful still-hunting approach can put plenty of cottontails and snowshoes in your game bag. Carpenteri December 19, By Stephen Carpenteri. Sign Me Up. Game and Fish Staff. Larry Larsen. Trigger Time If there is one thing that can make a hunter a better shooter, it's a better trigger. Buy Digital Single Issues. Don't miss an issue. Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.
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