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Thinking about rabbit hunting? You need this guide. We're not only laying down the tricks of the trade, we're sharing the gear you need for your best hunt yet.
Nothing beats a great hunting trip - gathering your friends in the early morning hours, waiting in the bush for your prey, and later? Celebrating a great haul around a campfire.
Have you gone after the humble rabbit? If not, you should be. Rabbits are full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and taste very rich.
In fact, rabbit meat is becoming increasingly trendy.
Once seen as something only people in rural places would eat. Many also balked at putting rabbit on their plate because the little critters were so cute.
Now, restaurants that boast Michelin stars can’t keep it in stock. Diners are ordering it in such huge numbers, it’s gone from a special dish to a spot on the regular menu.
The flavor is described as “similar to chicken but more complex in flavor." Rabbit meat easily slides into chicken’s place in any of your favorite dishes.
They’re just as easy to prepare, too.
America is rediscovering the versatility of rabbit meat that many nations have known for a long time.
There’s a rabbit recipe from every corner of the globe; you’ll never be bored and you’ll expand your palate.
Another bonus? They’re rich in Omega 3s and many nutrients and vitamins.
Although commercial production of rabbit meat is growing and you’ll probably see it pop up in your grocery store, we’re here to talk about rabbit hunting.
Because nothing tastes quite like wild-caught game!
Ready to catch your first cottontail? This list is going to make you an expert!
First things first - find out if you need a license to hunt rabbits in your area.
This isn’t always the case, but it’s best to check with the Department of Wildlife or the Department of Fish and Game.
Make sure you’re in the right season for your area and if there are bag limits for your kills.
It’s always a good idea to find out which rabbits are in your area, too. Some species are endangered and look similar to the kinds you’re allowed to hunt.
If you thought you were going to be spending your time in idyllic meadows, think again - rabbits like to hide in thick cover.
There’s going to be plenty of thick brambles all around so you need the proper gear; jeans and a tee shirt aren’t going to cut it.
You’ll need “briar pants”, a type of heavy-duty fabric that will protect you from the elements. Get a pair of briar gloves while you’re at it.
It also goes without saying that you’ll need a good sturdy pair of boots.
Along with clothing that protects you from the bush, you need to take other safety precautions.
Invest in a good pair of safety glasses and a few ear plugs.
Keep hydrated too - don’t leave that water bottle at home.
Pack a First Aid kit for any unforeseen emergencies.
The most important piece of hunting gear that you can never go without is the blaze orange vest.
Rabbits like to come out when there’s low sunlight, so dawn and dusk are your best best.
If you’re out on a cold day, rabbits will stick to warm areas since their fur doesn’t afford them a lot of warmth.
When rabbits are nesting or trying to hide, they’re very well camouflaged. And old hunting trick is to look for the glint of their eyes.
Usually, the eyes are much darker and brighter than the surrounding area and are an easy way to identify them.
They like to nest in tall grass, clover, wheat, and alfalfa, so learn to identify these plants.
Talk to local farmers to find out where they’ve seen rabbits; they usually know the best places to find them.
The main way of hunting rabbits is to walk them out.
This technique doesn’t require the absolute silence and stealth of deer hunting; in fact, you want the rabbits to hear you.
Here’s how to do it:
Rabbits have been traditionally hunted with a variety of different techniques, from pistols to bow and arrows.
The best type of firearm for the novice and to leave the meat undamaged is the .22 hunting rifle.
Don’t go larger than a 20 or you won’t have much meat to eat.
Using 6 or 7.5 shot shells is alright too but make sure you remove the shot from the meat and always use steel, never lead.
Don’t forget that safety is still number one during the heat of the hunt.
Call out “mine” or another similar signal if you’re hunting with friends and always keep the gun pointed low, never parallel.
If you’re more experienced and want to take it to another level, consider some well-trained hunting dogs.
Beagles are usually the dog of choice for rabbit hunting. They’re adept at flushing them out.
Plus, if you just injure a rabbit, the dog can easily retrieve it for you, saving you time and energy tracking down a hurt hare.
Now you’ve got the tips, tricks, and tools for going after those rascally rabbits.
Leave the bucks behind and get some friends together for a new hunting experience.
You never know - this hobby might come in handy if you ever need to quickly catch something to eat, too!
Learned any new rabbit hunting skills? What kind of rabbit meat recipes do you want to try? Tell us all about it in the comments and happy hunting!