The mere mention of rabbit hunting conjures up visions of Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny around the countryside.  “You wascally wabbit,” would be his exclamation as time and again Bugs would out do the intrepid hunter. 

Well, sometimes reality is not too far removed from the comic strips when it comes to rabbit hunting. 

Rabbits can be found in a variety of habitats.  They prowl swampy woods and yet are often found in upland thickets.  Tolerant of people, they will be found town as well as on farms and ranches. 

A nocturnal animal by nature, they usually sleep the daylight hours away in heavy cover.  Even then, they are ever alert to the presence of danger from predators.  During the colder months they will often take up residence in the abandoned dens of other animals. 

Rabbits usually stay in an area no greater than a few acres.  In the snow one can see the myriad of trails crisscrossing through cattail swamps or stands of woody brush.  With so many tracks it appears that the area is alive with rabbits.  But, a few individuals make a lot of tracks. 

These fur balls feed on buds and tender twigs of small trees and bushes.  Sumac is a particular favorite.  Often sapling sprouts can be found severed at the snow line. 

One guide to a good rabbit habitat is to find some type of brush near the ground.  This can be felled treetops, bushes or briar.  It helps to avoid well-traveled areas and to hunt in small groups or alone.  Areas around abandoned home sites, road ditches, railroad rights of way and weedy ditches are good place to seek rabbits. 

The most common and effective way to hunt rabbits is to just walk-em up.  One just stalks through brush until a rabbit flushes. 

If one misses his first opportunity for a shot, it is a good idea to check the area again later in the day.  Rabbits will circle around a hunter and return to the original sight from which they were flushed. 

Once snow is on the ground, rabbits can be still-hunted and stalked.  Tracking one down to get a sitting target works well in the snow. 

Meat care is not usually a problem during rabbit season due to cooler air temperatures.  It is advisable to field dress the animal immediately following the taking of a rabbit.  Once home, one can skin and quarter the animal and soak it briefly in water to remove any hair that might have gotten on the meat.  It can then be frozen in a mild carton full of water.  The water frozen with the meat will prevent freezer burn.

Hunting the wascally wabbit with any weapon is a challenge for even the most experienced of hunters.  It is also a good way to get kids started in the sport. 

If seeking a way to get rid of those winter cabin blues, try Elmer Fudd’s favorite pastime and go after those wascally characters.  It is not as easy as it sound.


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