This is really good to know for all beginner rabbit hunters to know before hunting. Although many newcomers wouldn’t think that there would be a specific time of year, time of night or even that rabbits have a call that you can attract them with, there is. These little guys might be small, but hunting them can be just as complex as hunting any other animal in the wilderness.
We’ll go over what time of year you should hunt them along with a few other cool little tips so that you can have the upper hand on these fast little creatures next time you go hunting.
The best time to hunt rabbits is actually in the winter. The reason being is that in the summer, parasites breed heavily, and anything that is killed in warm weather will be infested with ticks, lice, fleas, mites, and more. Parasites also tend to breed a lot more during the warmer months. Hot temperatures make animals great hosts for these things. We definitely don’t want to deal with any of that. Besides, this makes it easier for us hunters as the snow is in our favor by helping us track these guys.
BEST MONTHS TO EAT RABBIT
There is a quote in the hunting world that we should follow and keep in mind, and that’s “Only shoot a rabbit in a month with an “R” in it”. This is because we want to make sure we’re avoiding all the icky stuff stated above. We want our meat to be fresh, not extremely contaminated with disgusting parasites and other bugs that like to set up shop on the corpse of a dead rabbit.
There is a particular parasite called a “wolf worm” that lives underneath the skin of these animals. If ingested, these things can grow inside of you. Not only is this a very unfortunate inconvenience, but also an unwanted hassle that can be avoided by only hunting in rabbit season.
Although some people have gone against this rule, it is strongly not advised as you still risk the chance of catching something you don’t want. And quite frankly, even if this wasn’t an issue, I still don’t like the idea of my meat being contaminated with other insect predators that can be killed more easily.
WHEN ARE RABBITS MOST ACTIVE
Unlike humans, rabbits are more active during dawn and dusk. This is because they are what’s called a crepuscular species. The advantage of this is by using the low light that comes just before the morning and evening to protect them from unwanted predators that are still sleeping while they go out and gather their food.
Another thing to take into account is what type of weather is best to hunt rabbits. Your best bet would be to find these guys scurrying around in pretty crappy weather that consists of light fog, overcast skies, and some drizzle.
Keep in mind that even though this is the best time to catch them, you’ll want to avoid searching for them in weather that is too bad. Weather conditions such as heavy rains and high wind will make them run back to shelter, and quickly. If you haven’t noticed by now, these things are really sketchy.
HOW TO ATTRACT RABBITS FOR HUNTING
Rabbits are like little vegetarians, so you’ll want to use very green, leafy plant-based foods such as apples, Brussels sprouts, carrots, etc. to attract them. Unlike other types of bait, these are all supplies that are fairly common and that most people have laying around in their fridges.
Some other good rabbit baits to keep in mind are…
Another way to attract a rabbit can be to use a calling device. A cheap way to do this is by using a squeeze toy for dogs. This high-pitched noise is supposed to be used to mimic the sound of another rabbit in distress and is really effective at attracting other rabbits as they are community animals.
Not only will this particular call attract rabbits, but there is also a chance of it attracting coyotes as well, so be careful. Not only is this a cheap alternative to buying an actual calling device, but is also another item that can commonly be found in most people’s households.
Also, to give you a bit of a headstart, you can look for rabbits hiding in places such as overgrown hedges, patches of tall grass, and brushy hollows. They can also be caught lurking in other vegetated areas such as railroad right of ways, clear cuts, and fallow fields.
ARE CITY RABBITS SAFE TO EAT
I’ve found that it is okay to eat city rabbit, but the same hunting times should be applied for these guys as any other rabbit as they too can harbor parasites and other nasty bugs that can taint your meat. To go the extra mile, it is recommended to avoid eating the skin, heart, and liver as these are the parts to most likely carry anything.
Another thing to take into consideration is what kind of junk the rabbits have been eating while in the city. For all you know, they could have been chewing on grass or a garden that’s been chemically treated. There are always a ton of things to take into consideration when hunting for wildlife within city limits. No matter how good the meat may be, it’s almost always not worth it.
All in all, these things are walking bodies of contamination.
Please keep in mind that some states do require you to carry a permit before hunting rabbits. This not only goes for hunting outside of city limits but on public or private land within city limits as well. A good thing to know is that hunting on your own property or as the agent of a landowner does not require you to have a license.
THINK LIKE A RABBIT
Rabbits are quicky, witty, and can get around way quicker than we can. If you want luck finding them, then look in areas that are filled with overgrown patches of grass, overgrown fence rows, and brushy ditches.
Hunters often skip out of checking these areas because they feel they won’t find anything, but that is not always the case. Unlike deer or any other large animal, rabbits are very small and will likely hide in any isolated place where there is a sufficient amount of cover.
After checking these particular locations and you spot a rabbit, shoot as quickly as you can. It has been said that rabbits can reach speeds up to anywhere from 24 to 40 mph, and when they take off, they’re gone.
Bow hunting rabbits can be very tricky due to their speed alone, so learning how to creep up on them and then execute a shot immediately will greatly benefit you for hunting not only more of them in the future but with hunting other fast game animals as well.
As you can see, not only do you have to face the legal side of things when hunting rabbits, but you also have to face potential physical harm if you’re not hunting in a responsible and safe manner. The risks of eating rabbit can be scary if you take everything into consideration, but if you play it safe and stick by the basic rules required, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Although rabbits that live outside of city limits can pose a threat, city rabbits can be a little more dangerous due to the increased access they have to toxic waste and chemicals that generally only exist within the city.
Because of the number of contaminants that can potentially affect a rabbit, I think it’s safe to say that we all should heavily take into consideration when and what time we are catching these little guys. After doing research, I have found that there were a few people who went against the rules and claimed to be fine.
But just because others have gone against these rules doesn’t mean others should as well, especially if you’re new to hunting. You could very easily make a mistake and end up with something really nasty and hard to get rid of.
Aside from all that, rabbits are actually considered a very delicate meal. The meat portions may be small, but when caught and cooked properly, it can be worth the hunt. They are usually packed with flavor combined with very tender meat.
As we can see above, though, too much of a good thing can be harmful to our health. So please keep that in mind before deciding to go on a rabbit binge due to its deliciousness of it. If I were a beginner, I could definitely see how many people wouldn’t even think about something called “rabbit starvation”. Because of the lack of awareness out there, I felt like this was vital information to share for newcomers when first getting into hunting.