As deer season winds down, many are left wondering what to do with their outdoor lives, but I have the solution with an underrated activity not widely talked about: rabbit hunting!
If you’ve seen rabbits hopping around in your hunting area, chances are there’s a lot more you haven’t seen! Here are a few tips to help you have an enjoyable and successful rabbit outing!
First, get yourself a game vest with some hunter orange on it. You can find these from $30 on up at any Cabela’s or Bass Pro store. If you don’t have a game vest, make sure to have hunter orange fabric on your person somewhere because it will become difficult to see your hunting partners in the thick brush. You can use an old backpack in place of the game vest.
Next, select your gun and ammo. Any 12 or 20 gauge with your average 2-3/4” game load will do, number 6 or 7 shot. I use a Charles Daly 20 gauge semi-auto myself.
While not necessary, a helmet mount for a GoPro or other action camera will work great to capture your hunt on video. Be sure to tilt it slightly downwards so it isn’t pointing up in the trees.
If you don’t have a dog, don’t worry! You can still be incredibly successful without one. Here’s how to do it…
I recommend hunting with at least one, but preferably two other partners. Rabbits can be very sly and sneak back behind as you walk through brush. A line of 2-3 guys walking parallel to each other helps prevent this from happening. Be sure to walk anywhere from 10-20 yards apart.
Head to the areas you’ve seen the rabbits first. Move slowly through the thicket because it allows you a better opportunity to approach them before they flush. If you are moving quickly, you are likely making more noise, which can cause them to flush too far out in front of you for an effective shot.
A slight wind can be helpful in covering your noise as you approach. I usually like to hunt in 5-10 mph conditions, but you can still be successful with greater or lesser winds.
If you aren’t finding rabbits, you might be walking the wrong spots. Search for the thickest, nastiest stuff you can find. Patches of thorns, large piles of brush and branches, and ditches protected by heavy cover like thick weeds and evergreens are great rabbit producers. You might have to jump on a pile of brush to flush a rabbit, but don’t be surprised when one bursts out!
If one gets away from you, don’t worry. Just keep walking slowly towards its direction and you will likely flush it again.
Rabbit hunting is the perfect activity in winter months after deer season. It provides the social aspect often lacking in deer hunting and is a great way to introduce kids to hunting. So don’t miss out on some unforgettable memories in the woods!