When the sun goes down and the barometric pressure drops, rabbit activity declines. They seek shelter in a variety of locations, including ditches and under shrubs or bushes.
Rabbits also eat many fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, potatoes, and onions. They often live in thick cover or near areas where there is ample food.
Weather conditions can make an important difference to your rabbit hunting success. When it’s cold or wet, rabbits don’t like to be outdoors, and they are likely to hide under bushes and in heavily wooded areas for warmth.
In contrast, on milder winter days, they are much more likely to be out and about in open habitat. Cottontails, especially, tend to move out of their burrows at dawn and dusk and into open habitat in search of food.
HuntWise equips you with hourly weather forecasts that can be customized for your specific species of rabbit, based on temperature, barometric pressure, and wind speed. This information can help you plan your next rabbit hunt, ensuring that you are prepared for the best possible experience.
When the weather is very cold or wet, it’s a good idea to hunt in locations where rabbits can take shelter and enjoy the protection of the sun. This can include a variety of places, from thick grassy fields to rocky ledges or sheltered wetlands.
These types of spots can also offer the advantage of being sheltered from the wind, which can keep you comfortable while out hunting. Be sure to dress in layers, and don’t forget a pair of warm boots that will protect your feet from the cold.
Snow is also a factor, as it can make it easier to locate rabbits. They often create trails through briar patches, and tracks in the light snow can reveal their hiding spots.
In these situations, you’ll want to find the cover that rabbits prefer and stalk quietly. Be careful not to stray too far, however, as the snow can conceal their scent.
During the early morning or late evening, look for a variety of scent trails that rabbits leave behind as they forage. These trails are about 4 to 6 inches wide and look dark against the background of the snow. They are often a trail that rabbits use to travel between feeding and shelter areas, or from one patch of cover to another.
As long as you are wearing warm clothes and are properly prepared, cold-weather rabbit hunting can be a rewarding and challenging experience. Just be sure to stay safe and have a good time, and you’ll find that a winter-time rabbit hunt is more enjoyable than many people think!
Time of Day
Rabbits are very adaptable creatures that can live in all sorts of habitats. The most important factor in your success when rabbit hunting is to locate an area where the rabbits have good access to fresh food, such as mowed grasses or legumes.
It is a good idea to hunt at dawn or dusk when rabbits are most active. This is the time when they will emerge from their burrows and move around to feed on new growth.
If you can find a rabbit hiding somewhere, such as within a brush or hollow log, flush it out and take it down. If you have a dog, be sure to stay downwind of the rabbit so that your dog can find its scent.
You can also use a whistle or click your tongue when you are moving around a target area to alert a rabbit to your presence. This may trigger it to run away or circle back and re-enter its hiding place.
Another important factor in successful rabbit hunting is to be prepared with the right equipment. This means wearing clothing that will protect your skin when you enter tangled and thicket-covered terrain. Quality boots are an essential, as are heavy-duty work gloves and blaze orange safety vests.
It is also a good idea to wear clothing that can withstand the elements, as you will spend a lot of time in briar thickets and brush. This is especially true in the winter and spring, when you are likely to be cold on a rabbit hunt.
Most rabbit hunters prefer to use a 20-gauge shotgun with an improved cylinder choke. You can always upgrade to a larger caliber firearm if you are confident that you can handle the weight of the rabbit, but you should never obliterate your prey with too much firepower.
You can also hunt rabbits at night by using decoys. This can be very effective when you are looking for rabbits in wooded areas or wetlands. However, it is important to note that you must be able to locate the rabbits at night in order to get them out of their hides and into your shotgun range.
If your state allows nighttime hunting, you can take advantage of the fact that wild rabbits are most active at dusk and sunrise. They don’t need as much light to feed, and this is one of the best times for a night hunt.
You can hunt rabbits with a variety of firearms, including shotguns, bows and arrows, or even crossbows. The key is to choose a weapon that is appropriate for the size of the rabbit. A 12 or 20-gauge, using 5 to 7.5 shells, is a good choice, but you should avoid a 28-gauge or a 410.
In addition to a gun, you will need some hunting clothing. A briar-proof pair of pants and chaps with a hunting vest (or a jacket/coat in cold weather) can make plowing through thick brush easier, and blaze orange hunt clothing is highly visible.
Rabbits prefer to eat vegetation, and this is why they are more likely to be found in brambly, tangled stretches of briars and brush. They also favor locations that offer cover, such as abandoned barns and junkyards.
A scouting trip is usually the best way to find suitable rabbit habitat. A county road map is handy for this, and it’s a great way to learn where the rabbits are most active.
When scouting, look for thick brush or wooded areas that have been cleared of trees, as these provide excellent cover. Abandoned barns, junkyards and other deteriorating structures are often perfect hunting spots, as are brushy fence rows or deadfall along farm fields.
Once you’ve spotted the best habitat, walk in and around it slowly, looking for rabbits. It’s a good idea to wear a blaze orange hunting vest for safety, and to carry a game bag when the opportunity arises.
If a rabbit is disturbed by your movement, it will typically dither for a moment before running away. This is why it’s so important to stay still and not move your rifle. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the area you’re hunting and listen for rabbits calling in the dark.
Hunting rabbits at night requires a bit more preparation than just hunting them during the day. The first step is making sure you have the right gear. This means a good gun and plenty of ammo, plus blaze orange hunting clothes for safety purposes.
Once you’ve got the gear, you can start your search for rabbits. Look for places where rabbits make their homes and raise their young. This includes places with a lot of grass, trees, shrubs and brush. You can also find rabbits in low elevations, where they are often found on hillsides with thick sagebrush and burrows.
Rabbits are nocturnal creatures that spend the majority of their time resting under cover during the day. They will emerge from their cover in the evening to feed. They will use a wide range of vegetation for their food, including grasses, shoots from woody plants, buds or flowers, leaves, grain, bark and waste from fields.
They also eat roots, seeds and herbs. These are particularly useful to rabbits in winter when other food is snow-covered.
Aside from their meat, rabbits are an excellent source of protein for many people. A well-cooked rabbit has a rich and gamey flavor that is loved by many hunters.
To prepare a rabbit for cooking, you’ll need to skin it and remove its head and feet. You’ll need to be careful not to break any bones as you do this.
When you’re ready to cook the rabbit, you need to ensure that it’s 165 degrees Fahrenheit and cooked through. This can be done by using a meat thermometer. You can also cook the rabbit in boiling water to kill any bacteria.
After cutting the head and feet, you’ll need to clean the carcass. Be sure to check the liver as this is a common spot for Tularemia, a disease that can transfer easily from one rabbit to another.
The last thing you want is to catch a disease while butchering your rabbit and have to dispose of it improperly. To avoid this, always use latex gloves to protect your hands from contacting infected parts of the body.