Rabbit hunting is pre-eminent among the south’s small-game animals. Cottontail rabbits are perhaps the most can-be-found-anywhere species in the United States, and they make up the most popular game animal enjoyed by youthful beginners as well as experienced hunters.
Part of its popularity stems from South America to Southern Canada, as these highly adaptable creatures are at home in inhabited areas as well as conventional agricultural surroundings. The best habitat for rabbits is a combination of food and cover, which are ideally spots of brushy area just off the farm field. A mixed pattern of cover type will bring more rabbits and provide more rabbit hunting than large area of any one type of habitat.
Rabbit hunting seasons are long and normally starts in early fall and running till late winter. There is little hazard of over harvesting even with long seasons and generous bag limits. Rabbit hunting pressure drops off when the number of rabbits decline, but fortunately it does not take much of a reservoir of rabbits to quickly rebuild its population. At six months of age, rabbits start breeding and bear three or four litters a year of four or five young per litter. At the start of rabbit hunting season during fall, rabbit populations are at its peak.
Rabbit hunters mostly use shotguns although good sport can be had with handgun or rifle if the hunter is skilled enough. Rabbit hunting with beagles is the most enjoyable and a mostly successful way of hunting. Beagles are short-legged dogs so they don?t push the rabbit too hard otherwise the rabbits would find escape in stone walls, woodchuck holes, or other secure spots.
A wise hunter positions himself we he can get a clear shot and waits for the rabbit to circle back to its home territory, as they tend to stay in their home territory usually the general area where the dogs jumped it.
Rabbit hunting without a dog is a much easier only if two or more hunters work together to have a piece of cover in leapfrog fashion. The idea is for one hunter to move forward slowly in a zigzag pattern as the other hunters remain still and silent and usually get the shots at rabbits who evade the moving hunter. Since every hunter takes turn in moving in the same manner, everyone gets the opportunity for the hunt.
As rabbit hunting is generally at fast-moving targets and usually in brushy areas, it is always advisable for hunters to wear hunter-orange vests and hats for safety of identification. Rabbits are normally active in the early mornings and late afternoons which make it the best times to hunt them. An exception to this is during periods of extreme cold, usually January, when rabbits are likely to be out in the middle of the day to get warmth from the sun.