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John's Journal... Entry 235, Day 1


Hunting Rabbit Food

Editor's Note: Numbers of outdoorsmen have grown up hunting rabbits, wily creatures that can teach you many hunting skills. If you live in the South, you already know the difficulty of hunting rabbits in places with overpopulations of white-tailed deer. But you can have a proper, successful bunny hunt. Here's how.

About 20-years ago, I hunted a 100-acre soybean field that had been cut and looked as devoid of vegetation as a stock-car dirt track. The only foliage and color left grew in the small fence rows and brush piles around the fields. These small cover strips appeared to be no more than 20-yards wide. "Did you bring a sack, John?" a friend of mine asked. "All the rabbits that once lived in this soybean field now hold up in the fence rows. We should get a sack full today putting on a bunny drive."

To drive these rabbits, two hunters stomped the briars and made their way through the fence row. Two other hunters took stands on the left side of the fence row, and two hunters took stands on the right side of the fence row. At a small ditch about 100 yards down the fence row, another hunter stood to block the rabbits. When the bunny drive began, the shooting that took place sounded like a war. In less than two hours, we all had bagged our limit of rabbits. Also most of us had several quail we'd bagged to fill out our game bags. This rabbit hunt was both the greatest and the worst hunt I'd ever been on because it was the first time I'd ever seen the effects of large-scale farming on rabbits in the South, something we live with every day now. Clearing vast tracts of woods and swamps to plant agricultural crops meant losing much of the rabbits' habitat. Even though the hedge rows between these large fields produced outstanding rabbit hunting during the season, in the following years, we watched rabbit populations decline in this area.

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 over the past 20 years. The small-plot family farm either has been abandoned or replaced with big-field farms, which are not conductive to rabbit hunting. So where can a fellow go to find a mess 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.




Check back each day this week for more about HOW TO HAVE A PROPER BUNNY HUNT ...

Day 1 - Hunting Rabbit Food
Day 2 - Hunt Deer To Locate Rabbits
Day 3 - Find Railroad Track and High-Voltage Rabbits
Day 4 - Use Hot-Weather Hunting Tactics And Hunt High SpotsAnd Protected Places During Floods
Day 5 - Grass, Cane Thickets and Palmetto Swamps

John's Journal