Rabbit hunting is one of the most popular and easy-going ways to get into the sport. There’s something special about the opportunity to go out in the wild, enjoy nature, and feel the thrill of the hunt without any pressure.
Rabbit hunting is one of my favorite ways to practice scouting, shots, and other general hunting skills because it’s incredibly flexible and allows for tons of different strategies. Most states have pretty high bag limits so you can decide if you’re happy with a couple of bunnies in your bag or if you wanna make it a larger outing.
I’ve found that since the climates and environments rabbits tend to graze are more human-friendly, there’s also less stress about things like hills, dangerous brushes, and cold water.
Regardless, you always want to approach rabbit hunting with the right skills, knowledge, and equipment in order to have a successful, safe, and ethical hunting trip. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with rabbit hunting!
#1 Gear and Equipment for Rabbit Hunting
As with everything else, having the right gear and equipment are essential for a good hunting trip. Rabbit hunting is no exception! Here’s a good checklist to keep in mind before you consider heading out into the brushes:
The Right Weapon
There are several types of weapons that can be used for rabbit hunting, including shotguns, rifles, and even bows. I prefer shotguns because of their versatility and ease of use. I tend to go for a 12-gauge shotgun is a good all-around choice, but have had lots of success with a 20-gauge as well for smaller rabbits.
Right Sized Ammunition
When it comes to ammunition, smaller shot sizes such as #6 or #7 1/2 are best for rabbit hunting. Make sure you don’t go much larger than that, as you’re going to damage the meat and create an unnecessary mess.
Don’t Dress to Impress (bunnies don’t care)
Comfortable and durable clothing that provides adequate protection from the elements is important. This includes a hunting jacket, pants, boots, and gloves. Choose breathable and weather-resistant clothing, and opt for muted colors that blend in with the environment.
Besides that, rabbit hunting doesn’t require much extra gear compared to other types of hunting. Dress comfortably and for the environment, the rest doesn’t matter that much.
Calls and Decoys
Definitely not a must-have, but in addition to being a lot more fun it can also greatly increase your chances of success on the hunt.
Rabbit calls mimic the sound of a rabbit in distress, while decoys draw in rabbits that might otherwise be more hesitant to approach.
Again, not necessary, but can in areas where they’re hiding in burrows or thick brushes it can be an effective way to get them out in the open.
#2 Rabbit Hunting Scouting and Tracking Techniques
Before you begin hunting, scouting the area and identifying potential rabbit habitats is important. Here’s what I do when I set up camp and get ready to look go rabbit hunting:
Look for rabbit signs
This includes tracks, droppings, and chewed vegetation. Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk, so try to scout during these times for the best chance of spotting signs.
Identify food sources
Rabbits feed on a variety of vegetation, including grasses, clovers, and wildflowers. Look for areas with abundant vegetation, such as meadows or the edges of wooded areas.
Rabbits need cover for protection from predators, so look for areas with thick vegetation or brush piles. They also like to burrow, so keep an eye out for holes in the ground!
#3 Rabbit Hunting Strategies
Once you’ve scouted the area and identified potential rabbit habitats, it’s time to start hunting. Here are some tips for hunting rabbits in different environments:
In wooded areas, rabbits are likely to be found in thick underbrush or at the edges of clearings. Move slowly and quietly through the area, using cover to avoid detection. Look for signs of rabbit activity, such as tracks or droppings, and if you have them, use calls or decoys to lure them out of hiding.
In open fields, rabbits are likely to be found near the edges where they can easily hide in the surrounding vegetation. Use cover to approach slowly and carefully, and be prepared to take shots from a distance. Decoys can be especially fun and useful in open fields, as they can help draw in rabbits that might otherwise be hesitant to approach.
In brushy areas, rabbits are likely to be found in dense underbrush or at the edges of clearings. Move slowly and quietly through the area, using cover to avoid detection. Look for signs of chewed-up vegetation, droppings, and holes in the ground.
Have Fun – Go Rabbit Hunting!
Rabbit hunting is such a rewarding and exciting experience and somewhat of a low-risk high reward hunting. I might be a little biased because I grew up on fantasy novels, and also love shows like Game of Thrones, where they’re constantly hunting rabbits to roast over the fire before some important plot-driving dialogue.
There’s something beautifully primal about rabbit hunting, and it is also one of the more important ways we hunt for environmental conservation. Rabbits tend to breed like… well, rabbits. So ensuring good population management is vital, and that is why you’ll often see very generous bag limits (in my state of Washington it’s like 5 a day).
As you can see in this guide, the barrier to entry is incredibly low. With these tips and some practice, you have everything you need to get started on your next rabbit hunt. Just dress well, move slowly, look for signs, use cover, draw them out from their hiding spots and aim well.
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