John's Journal...


Go to the Grass

EDITOR’S NOTE: Large-scale farming has affected rabbits in the South. Clearing vast tracts of woods and swamps to plant agricultural crops has meant losing much of the rabbits’ habitat. Even though the hedge rows between these large fields have produced outstanding rabbit hunting that season, in the past few years, we’ve watched rabbit populations decline. Rabbits, like all other wild species, must have a combination of ample food and proper cover to survive. If an area loses either one, bunnies just can’t flourish. Throughout much of our region, farming practices have changed. The small-plot family farm either has been abandoned or replaced with big-field farms, which are Click to enlargenot conductive to rabbit hunting. So where can hunters go to find plenty of bunnies? The answer’s quite simple – anywhere you find an abundant food source and cover to protect the rabbits. Let’s see if we can define some rabbit-food hot spots and learn how to hunt them.

Some hayfields and pastures make ideal feeding areas for rabbits. However, you have to know what type of hay has been planted to determine whether or not the edges of these fields will make productive places to find bunnies. A hayfield or a pasture planted in fescue means you may have a rabbit black hole instead of a rabbit honey hole. According to wildlife biologist, Keith Guyse of Montgomery, Alabama, “Fescue contains a fungus that attacks the digestive system of rabbits and gives them diarrhea. Click to enlargeAlthough eating this particular food doesn’t result in major rabbit die-offs, it can severely reduce the number of rabbits on the edges of fescue fields. Fescue also has a similar effect on cattle. Scientists have experimented with different strains of fescue to try and breed a fungus-free strain of fescue.”

Find green winter pastures and hayfields not cut until the late fall if you want to locate bunnies. During the daylight hours, the rabbits most often will hole up on the edges of these fields or within 200 to 250 yards of these fields and move into the fields at night to feed. You may enjoy some of your best rabbit hunting early in the morning and late in the evening when rabbits move. If you have beagles, hunt the edges of these fields. Early in the morning, the rabbits’ scent will be fresh just after they’ve left the fields before daylight and late in the afternoons as they come to the fields. If you Click to enlargehave a good pack of beagles, often you’ll have two or three bunny runs going on at the same time as the rabbits congregate to feed on the greenery. Since much of the South hasn’t experienced very-cold weather in recent years during the fall or the early winter, just like 2005 and 2006, often these greenfields offer highly-productive rabbit hunting throughout those times.


Check back each day this week for more about HUNTING WILD RABBIT FOOD

Day 1: Hunt Deer To Locate Rabbits
Day 2: Find Railroad Track and High-Voltage Bunnies
Day 3: Use Hot Country Rabbit Hunting Tactics and Hunt High Spots and Protected Places in the Floods
Day 4: Go to the Grass
Day 5: Enter Cane Thickets and Palmetto Swamps



Entry 337, Day 4