John's Journal...

Scrounge Hunt for All Kinds of Game

Bunnies by the Bushel and Bunny Drives

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: You’ll find this time of the year in February just right for hunting doves, rabbits, squirrels, snipe, woodcock, quail and predators in many states. Change-of-pace hunting can help you remember why you’ve always enjoyed hunting.Click to enlarge

Today many serious rabbit hunters love the small-pack-option AKC registered beagles because of the huge numbers of whitetails found throughout the U.S. Ten or 20-years ago, serious rabbit hunters never considered owning a registered field-trialing beagle, a show dog with very-little hunting savvy. This dog scored points on its ability to stay on a rabbit’s track but none for its searching or jumping abilities or its skills at picking up a trail after a rabbit had played a trick on the hunter. But in the early 1980s, a group of beaglers decided they wanted a rabbit dog that performed like a coon hound – a dog they could field trial on the weekends and take hunting during the week. Melvin Stewart of Baileyton, Alabama, and some of his friends began breeding beagles that would make great rabbit-hunting dogs that they also could field trial. “Each of my beagles can find and jump its own rabbit and run it full circle,” Stewart explains. “My hounds are independent businessmen, and each one can perform his job without any help, which means Click to enlargehunters enjoy more shooting.”

In the past, a rabbit hunter might take six to 12 beagles into the woods and fields to hunt rabbits. One or two of the beagles might find and jump a rabbit. The majority of the other beagles – pack dogs – would bark and run on the trail after the pack’s jump dog had established the trail. To rabbit hunt successfully at that time, you needed a large pack of hounds. However, when the AKC established the small-pack option, anClick to enlarged hunters judged each hound according to its own hunting ability not just its training ability, the world of rabbit hunting changed. “Instead of taking six to 12 dogs rabbit hunting, I now carry one to three dogs with me and bring home as many if not more rabbits than I did when I had a big pack,” Stewart reports. To learn more about these rabbit dogs, you can call Stewart at (256) 796-4636.

Bunny Drives:
If you don’t have dogs, you also can take a good number of rabbits in a day by putting on a bunny drive. Line up three to 10 hunters, 20- to 30-yards apart, and walk through clear-cuts, hedgerows or briar fields while kicking brush and stomping weeds to jump rabbits. Often the rabbits will run straightaway, and the hunter who jumps the bunny will get the shot. Or, the rabbit may run either to the left or the right, and one of the other hunters may have the opportunity to tumble the cottontail. I’ve participated in several bunny drives in which five hunters have taken a limit of rabbits each in a day of hunting. If you get tried of sitting in a tree stand all day and seeing nothing, and if you want to have more action and take more game, then hunt the furry critters using these techniques. Small-game hunting offers hunters a fun, highly-productive way to break up a boring deer season or to enjoy small-game hunting in February. In many states, you can hunt furry critters before and after deer season and during deer season by scrounge hunting.

Check back each day this week for more about "Scrounge Hunt for All Kinds of Game"

Day 1: What Hunters Learn by Scrounge Hunting
Day 2: Why Scrounge Hunt
Day 3: Take Squirrels with Dogs
Day 4: Stalking
Day 5: Bunnies by the Bushel and Bunny Drives


Entry 445, Day 5