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Any tips for a newbie rabbit hunter?

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  • Any tips for a newbie rabbit hunter?

    How’s it goin!

    I’m a beginner hunter who’s been trying to get himself some rabbit.

    Ive gone out to some good public land spots in the middle of farm land trying to get some rabbits.

    I have found plenty of tracks, rabbit dens, rabbit droppings, but no rabbits! I go and I kick and stomp on brush and old fallen trees and branches where there are plenty of tracks and droppings but nothing! I even found a major rabbit den, like a rabbit hotel if you will. No rabbits. Don’t even see them.

    I go out in the morning about 7am-noon. Ive gone out from noon-4pm.

    I have not got a rabbit or even had a chance to see one. It’s as if they all disappeared.

    Does anyone have any tips for beginner just trying to get himself a rabbit? Small game season is about to end and I still haven’t got one!

    If location helps, I’m in the Minnesota Twin Cities metro area. I hunt a little south, just outside the metro area.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Sounds like you are doing things right. You might try taking a stand off to the side of a major path going from a den to food area and stay still. Almost any time of day you should catch one moving around.

    Comment


    • #3
      It sounds like you don't have a dog, so I'll go with that; I don't hunt with one, either. I assume you're moving through the cover nice and slow, but here's one thing I learned early on: Nice and slow, as I thought of it, was way too fast. Slooooowwww dooowwwwn. The slower you move, with plenty of pauses, the more nervous rabbits will get. When they're nervous is when they decide to run. Also, the slower you go, and the more time you spend just looking, the more likely you are to spot them. I've had cottontails sit absolutely tight within six or seven feet of my boot for minutes at a time, and as you probably realize, they are very hard to see in the right kind of cover (and they don't typically pick the wrong kind of cover).

      The stomping and kicking of brush piles, etc., can certainly work -- but if they also have holes available, I'd refrain from the stomping unless you actually see one go into the brush pile. All that stomping can alert rabbits farther away that might be in above-ground cover, where there's at least a chance you'll spot one sitting or flushing. But if they're alerted, they might decide to head for a hole -- in which case, you'll have no chance at all. I've gotten bunnies to flush out of brush piles plenty of times by just walking around the pile, maybe tapping with a boot here and there, maybe tossing some snow or a stick into it or over to the other side.

      My guess is that your rabbits are doing their feeding and moving about at night (that's normal), and then heading for the holes during the day. (But again, it is just simply amazing how sometimes they'll sit tight, very close by, until the threat moves on. Along with slowing down, make sure you're being very thorough as you hunt the thickets: Zig and zag, change directions a lot, try to cover every square foot of ground.)

      And take heart: Cottontail mating season usually gets going in mid to late February, early March. Also the sun starts to have some real warmth to it, even if there's still snow on the ground. Both will lead to more and more bunnies being out and about during the day (or at least above ground!). I've always seen more rabbits in the last couple weeks of February than any other time during the winter.

      Comment


      • #4
        Awesome thanks for the replies, I appreciate it! Yea correct I don’t have a dog.

        Sounds good i will simply just slow it down.

        What do do you think about sitting a good 30 yds away from the den I found and just waiting until 1 pops out? Or do they stay locked up until night?

        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mossberg90MN View Post
          Awesome thanks for the replies, I appreciate it! Yea correct I don’t have a dog.

          Sounds good i will simply just slow it down.

          What do do you think about sitting a good 30 yds away from the den I found and just waiting until 1 pops out? Or do they stay locked up until night?

          Thanks
          In my experience, they don't move around much of their own initiative during the daylight hours. You never know, of course, but I think they're primarily nocturnal, at most crepuscular, and that's what I've always read, too. I'd try it up to maybe an hour or so after sunrise and within an hour or so of sunset. Odds are probably better at any time if it's a nice sunny day and the den is on a south-facing hillside. Keep in mind that if you don't kill him instantly, if he's sunning himself near the hole, he might dart right back in and you won't be able to retrieve him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Gonna go out tomorrow morning. 1 hour before sunrise, wish me luck!

            Comment


            • #7
              We'd eat a good breakfast and then head out. I guess 9 to 11 am was the peak times for us.
              Snow, bitter cold and or wind for a few days, suppresses activity.

              Sunny and calm they'd be out. And so would we!

              Work a ditch or creek bank.........sit down and have a candy bar, BS about deer season........wait a bit and then go backwards, work the area again.

              New ones will have come out.

              My bud and I would limit out, with no dogs. No sitters either.

              Helpful hint?

              Brush pants or chaps to go over jeans. We got pretty torn up and had to dig thorns out when we got home. Think buddy got Filson's chaps after a couple yrs. He had to fetch a few that we blasted, died back in some wicked tangles.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes very good info! Thank you!


                Well heres what happened, I went out before sunrise. The place was very desolate and quite. I’m walking about knee high snow and it’s -11 outside.

                I walk over to there Den to post up nearby and I find some blood and fur. I’m assuming a fox or coyote went into the rabbit den and just yanked one out. Probably with the past week or so.

                Anyways I wrapped it up after being out for about an hour. I just figured it was so cold and the snow was so high that the rabbits were going to stay huddled up in there dens And not budge.

                Do cold and the amount of snow play a factor in rabbit hunting? Probably gonna have to throw in the towel for me this year. Small game ends at the end of this month and it’s about to dump down snow in Minnesota for a few days starting tonight.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mossberg90MN View Post
                  Awesome thanks for the replies, I appreciate it! Yea correct I don’t have a dog.

                  Sounds good i will simply just slow it down.

                  What do do you think about sitting a good 30 yds away from the den I found and just waiting until 1 pops out? Or do they stay locked up until night?

                  Thanks
                  I don't see where you told us what your weapon of choice is ? Either way ( rifle or shotgun ) make sure you can take head shots to minimize damage to the meat.
                  As well with a rifle be aware the the bullet can ricochet off objects hidden by the snow and travel quite far.
                  Safety first !!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I use a Mossberg 500. With small game load. I think it’s 6 shot?

                    Well looks like I won’t be going out for the rest of this season anyway... it’s just dumping snow!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mossberg90MN View Post
                      Yes very good info! Thank you!


                      Well heres what happened, I went out before sunrise. The place was very desolate and quite. I’m walking about knee high snow and it’s -11 outside.

                      I walk over to there Den to post up nearby and I find some blood and fur. I’m assuming a fox or coyote went into the rabbit den and just yanked one out. Probably with the past week or so.

                      Anyways I wrapped it up after being out for about an hour. I just figured it was so cold and the snow was so high that the rabbits were going to stay huddled up in there dens And not budge.

                      Do cold and the amount of snow play a factor in rabbit hunting? Probably gonna have to throw in the towel for me this year. Small game ends at the end of this month and it’s about to dump down snow in Minnesota for a few days starting tonight.
                      Still nice and sunny here in Iowa, about 3 - 4 hours south of you 😀 Snow expected this weekend so today and tomorrow they should be out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by springerman3 View Post

                        Still nice and sunny here in Iowa, about 3 - 4 hours south of you 😀 Snow expected this weekend so today and tomorrow they should be out.
                        Man that’s awesome! Crazy how a few hours makes a difference haha

                        Comment

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