Cottontail Rabbit Hunting: How to Hunt Rabbit Properly
The Cottontail rabbit is one of the most hunted animals. More and more hunters are now interested in cottontail rabbit hunting for two reasons. First, it is the most widely distributed sports species in America. The small, gray rabbits range throughout most of America, especially in the north.
Secondly, with a gestation period of slightly less than a month, this timid little cottontail bunny seems bent not only on keeping hunters supplied with quarry but on supporting such predators as foxes, eagles, coyotes, etc.
So, for its own nature and size cottontail rabbit has become one of the favorite hunting species for the big game hunter.
Cottontail Rabbit and Its Nature
- 1 Cottontail Rabbit Hunting Guide and Tips
This ubiquitous species is small as the game goes. An adult will weigh 2 to 3 pounds and reach an overall length of slightly over 1 foot.
Both sexes are gray in coloration, and the pelage doesn’t change in color with the coming of winter. Litters average about four.
Best Place to Hunt Cottontail Rabbits
Almost any kind of habitat will suffice for the cottontail, which was named for his white tail. He likes brushy dikes, weed patches, fencerows, ditches, and similar thick cover into which he can escape from enemies. So, here you can make a perfect cottontail rabbit hunting camp.
Cottontails Rabbit will go down burrows, especially in desert or lava country where foliage is sparse. When danger is apparent, the cottontail breaks into a short burst of speed, his white tail bobbing up and down like a jumping snowball.
Like other species, a cottontail will leave an avenue of escape open. At the end of his short run, he will usually pause unless hard-pressed, then either sit still to ascertain the extent of the danger or run down a hole in the rocks, into the protection of a brush pile or a burrow left by some larger animal. As with some species of grouse, the population cycle has its peak and its low point.
Cottontail Rabbit Hunting Guide and Tips
Peak populations occur about every decade, as do the years of extreme Cottontail scarcity. Each year rain, disease, predators, and the first heavy frosts of fall cut into the cottontail supply. By late hunting season, only a fraction of the crop has survived.
Best Time of Year to Hunt Rabbits
The best time of year to hunt rabbits is winter for most of the cottontail rabbit hunter. Then the species start its program of replenishment all over again. Low ebb is from September until April. In the warmer climates of the South, cottontails breed all year long.
In northern climates, they reproduce only during summer months. So, in summer season you shouldn’t hunt rabbits. The iniquitousness of the cottontail plus his pattern of escape dictate when and how he is hunted. So, you should pick winter for cottontail rabbit hunting.
Cottontail Hunting Guns –
The bird hunter, tramping between conveys, often flushes a cottontail from the weed cover of bird habitat and shoots him with a shotgun as he bobs away. Or the big-game hunter, after rolling his buck, will see a cottontail at a rock patch and make a headshot for some pot-meat.
How to Hunt Rabbits with a 22
Again, the boy hunter, tramping the fields with his 22 and actually bent on a Crow if he can get close enough, will see a cottontail rabbit sunning himself outside a badger hole and decide on the whiter meat.
With the use of best rimfire scopes, you can easily drag down this small animal. There are also some other firearms for hunting cottontail rabbits. Every type of firearm has been used on cottontails are below.
Hunting Rabbit with High-Caliper Arm
When using a high-caliber arm, the hunter always tries to make a head shot, since the meat of the species is very palatable-partly why he is hunted. There is only one consistently successful way to shoot running Cottontails, however, and that’s with a shotgun.
Using Shotgun and More
The shotgun used on upland birds or waterfowl is suitable for cottontail rabbit hunting, and one of the best is a 12 gauge with modified or another reasonably open choke. A wide pattern spread is desirable. Number 6 and 7% shot are fine, and the shells with low power are sufficient as most hunter shoot cottontails at close ranges. The 20 gauge, too, is a fine Cottontail gun.
The type of gun isn’t so vital as in waterfowl or upland bird shooting since one shot is average for cottontails: at the bang of the gun the rabbit is either pot-meat or gone into a hole or brush. Perhaps a single-barreled shotgun in the hands of an enthusiastic youngster will kill more cottontails than many another combination.
Using Dogs in Cottontail Hunting
Dogs are very useful in Cottontail hunting. The dog hunts by scent find the quarry and flush it before the hunter. Which way the bunny will go is always interesting, but the hunter is assured of a fast race and a quick shot, with Rover trying his best to catch up.
One of the best cottontail dogs is the Beagle. This merry little fellow loves to hunt rabbits, is a pleasant companion for any small-game hunter, and generally flushes the rabbits close enough before the hunter so there is an opportunity for a shot. Larger dogs often run the game clear out of the area before a shouting and laboring hunter can catch up.
Two hunters working cottontail cover with a slow-working dog often have a real advantage. If the game bounds one way, one hunter has his chance-and vice versa. Because the species will sit unless pressed, and because it is possible to approach him at the relatively close range, hunting cottontails with bow and arrow and handgun have become increasingly popular.
Cottontail Rabbit Hunting with Arrows and Rimfire
Archers generally use blunt arrows with bow hunting skills rather than broadheads. Hand gunners often use the .22 rimfire, .22 WMR, .38 Special, and even the magnum calibers. With the .38 Special and larger calibers, you can easily use mid-range loads, with wad-cutter type bullets.
This combination kills quickly, without undue damage to the meat. Skilled handgun shooters, however, try whenever possible to make headshots, to save the delicious meat. An archer or a handgun hunter would rather make one kill on cottontails with his pet weapon in a day’s hunting than to take a dozen rabbits with a shotgun or rifle.
The Cottontail Recipes
Here, by the way, is the recipe for a fine stew to make of that cottontail
- 1 Cottontail
- 2 quarts boiling water
- 1 Cup Corn
- l cup lima beans
- 1 Onion
- 1 cup tomatoes
- 2 small potatoes
- 1/3 teaspoons salt
- 4 cup butter
- 1/3 teaspoon pepper (black)
- 1/3 teaspoon sugar
Dress the rabbit by removing insides through a cut made from pelvis to neck along the abdomen, and by splitting both pelvis and ribcage. Skin the carcass was clean of all blood and body juices and cut into six to eight pieces.
To the boiling water, add the rabbit, corn, lima beans, potatoes, onion, salt, and pepper. Cover pot and simmer (do not boil) for two hours. Add tomatoes and sugar, and simmer for another hour. Lastly, add butter and simmer for ten minutes. Bring to a full boil and serve. This will serve three to four average hunters-if hungry hunters can ever be said to be average.