Rabbits Hunting Tips and Tactics

Rabbits Hunting Tips and Tactics

Rabbit hunt is fun and can be very exciting, and winter is the prime time for rabbits hunting. You can spot rabbits easily in the snow. Of course, it is a thrill to hunt rabbits on opening day, yet hunting them in late season – winter is fun too. As the winter gets colder and the snow covers everywhere, the foods are harder to find. Thus, rabbits will change their habits during the winter to survive. This article tips help you to have a success rabbit hunting tips in the late season.

Which weapon to use for rabbit hunting

Many rabbit hunters don’t prefer shotguns, and they do not like to use shotguns. Because using shotguns, hunters said that they could feel the shot break up the flesh of a rabbit which is already a small animal.

Also, the lead pellets are in the meat, and it is not a good idea to pick lead pellets out of the rabbit meat before eating your meal after cooking. Thus, the popular long rifle of .22 caliber is their favorite, and it works real good for a rabbit hunt.

However, since there is not plenty of time for you to aim a bouncing rabbit, so to use a .22 rifle, you do need to be a sharpshooter. One who has not sharpened his skills can miss the target at some consistency.

Which weapon to use for rabbit hunting

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In my last article Air Rifles-Hunting Rabbits, I prefer and recommend air rifles due to the high emphasis on quiet movements of the game. The PCP, Springer, and CO2-powered are the recommended three types of rifles.

Basic rabbit hunting equipment

Whether you are hunting rabbits with dogs or going solo, there is some thorn sticking up at your fingers, ears, thighs, and some unprotected parts. Therefore, to make your hunting trip in the field enjoyable and less painful, do wear protective clothing. In addition to the rifles needed, there is a list of basic equipment:

  • Warm clothes – as the day gets warmer, so you need to wear your clothes in layers and in a way that you can remove them.
  • Waterproof boots – as you will be hunting in wet weather and snow conditions
  • A back packet – bring this to store extra bullets or cartridges for your air rifle.
  • Snack and water – get yourself high-energy snacks and drinking water
  • Breeches with thorn-proof materials – a good pair of brier-busting pants is an essential equipment to protect you while hunting.
  • Hunting coat made with brier-resistant materials – a good brier-resistant hunting coat can protect you against cottontail thickets.
  • Hunting cap and gloves – get yourself pair of gloves and a hunting cap with flaps that is pull down to protect your ears
  • Hunter orange clothing – safety should be considered foremost on all your rabbit hunts, everyone in your accompany in the trip must wear hunter orange clothing including hunter orange hats and body wears. Remember the orange rhino.

Rabbit Hunting Tips

Most hunters often hunt for a rabbit in most cottontail thickets and field edges.

However, some hunters fail to realize that they can look for swamp rabbits and cottontails in other places such as the fallen treetops, honeysuckle bushes, brush piles, canebrakes, and other forest bushes or covers. These areas receive less hunting pressure and are shelters of rabbits. That’s why there are usually hide large numbers of rabbits.

Image source: www.youtube.comAlso, with the land you just have got permission to hunt in, walk the land and get to know it so you can look for burrows and holes between burrows. It is a good idea to first figure out the distances from the place you set up to the likely target shooting point. So you will be putting the pellets in the right distance and reduce the estimation all the time.
Below are tips for your late-season rabbit hunting in winter.

Look for Saplings

As winter grows cold, the typical foods for rabbits like clover and berry patches will be extremely hard to find. To survive, rabbits are forced to eat different foods.

Otherwise, they will be starving. Therefore, saplings will always hide a few rabbits in the late-winter, especially in some stands as large as half an acre or larger. In the winter there are many deciduous trees of which many varieties grow rapidly.

Although these trees stop growing during the winter, yet they do not die. So many small saplings will always there in the field under that dark, and dry looking peel is a little green. Rabbits love these young deciduous yearling saplings.

Around these saplings and their trunks, try to inspect and observe for cottontail movements. There will be a sign that the peel of the sapling is rinded off around the sapling in a circle if rabbits are in the area.

These young trees are being eaten down to the trunk and not a single one left as during the winter forage stops growing and become scarce. Rabbits find saplings as an alternative foods source to survive through the winter.

Look for Food Plots of Deer

Why? Interestingly, if you can look for places where deer are feeding there, you can usually find some rabbits. Because a rabbit will eat foods that a deer eats, according to the experts.

The deer food plot is the first choice that will interest a rabbit more than other plants in a food plot such as clover. Food plots can be found on private land next to the public land that opens for hunters. Some food plots are planted in some public areas by the state Department of Natural Resource.

In others, deer food plots are planted privately by the state agency. Some states allow farmers to grow crops, and part of the crops will be standing as forage for the game in the field. At these places, long after the deer have stopped their feeding, rabbits will come and feed on those croplands.

Fortunately, a small debris and tree patches that the deer no longer feed in will be foods that rabbit can feed for a long time. Look for these food plots.

Look for any Raspberry and Blackberry Bushes

Raspberry and blackberry bushes are all grown wild. Look for these bushes; they can hide extraordinary number of rabbits. These bushes offer both foods and shelters for rabbits. There are many varieties of them. During the warm weather of the year, these tender young shoots are a tasty food source for rabbits.

When the winter wears on, those shoots – parts in the tangle close to the ground, still grow green throughout winter. And they become a readily alternative food source available for rabbits.

Look for any Raspberry and Blackberry Bushes

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Hunters and the predators will find difficult to get through the thick berries patches, but not so with rabbits. Since the tangles offer a great cover for rabbits to hide under, they can fairly easy dig paths into these bushes, and some may live there for their entire lives at those patches.

Sometimes, it is nearly impossible to see a rabbit from above these bushes, as raspberries or berries patches offer cover for rabbits from above. So, try to look for any raspberries or blackberries bushes along the hillsides growing wild, near old dump grounds or some of the campsites or large abundant fields. Then, scouting and hunt in those areas carefully.

They hide quite a numbers of rabbits.

Never pass by the brush piles

Back in the time when heating with wood was an alternative power source in winter that energy prices were fluctuating.

During that time, nearly every household had an old pickup truck, a chainsaw, and a wood stove. As the firewood was cut the tops of the trees piled up in many locales, and many public land and private land were reserved for firewood cutting.

As time goes by, the brush piles become occupied with briars, weeds, and other vegetation plants. These brush piles become a great shelter for rabbits, and this provides the quick protection for bunnies from dogs, bobcats, foxes, and many other predators with four-legged.

The brush piles also provide protection for rabbits from owls, hawks, and many other flying predators.

In the late season, never overlooking one of those brush piles as the experts recommended. Though it takes lots of work to hunt properly, yet it worth the effort after all. Brush piles often leave many cut stumps which are also interest bunnies. These stumps usually crop up after people cut them for firewood, and provide rabbits something to feed when the winter wears on.

Locate the old Fencerows

Individual private owners previously owned many of the public lands. Just before the days of the huge modernized cropping equipment, the farmers used to divide their lands into smaller pieces of land, and  the farmer used fence posts to fence these fields.

Some farmers just bolted the hedge fabric into the closet trees to identify their fields. Over the time, these fencerows are long abundant and overgrown with briars, brambles, weeds, and trees. Thus, it is a perfect natural cover for cottontails as these fencerows become a solid mass of woody shrubs.

It is suggested that hunters work along these fencerows and the undergrowth areas carefully and by one step at a time. Try to tock the fencerows and anything around it; walk into both sides of it and from both directions. At times, bunnies will sit intensely along the fencerow.

Locate the old Fencerows

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If you are ‘jump shoot’, please be notice that bunnies will tend to run alongside to the fence, so plan your fire carefully and precisely in such cases.

These are tips that ensure your success late-season rabbit hunt

In addition to the five tips I listed, there are other tips: you may look for rabbits at the clover patches, the honeysuckle and multiflora rose, the cedar trees, and also you can use beagles for rabbit hunt in the winder if you can. Clover is a good winter food for the rabbit.

The honeysuckle patches offer bunnies a place to hide; the multiflora rose bushes interested rabbits as it is both their foods and the protection cover from above and below.

What can be better for our bunnies?

The cedar trees are bunnies’ umbrellas and windshields. These trees protect the rabbits. It is because cedar trees are the best under in extremely windy weather, so rabbits love it.

Try to find the typical places as listed. These are the places successful hunters will not pass by. Try to look for those alternative foods source in winter for rabbits and you will catch a few bunnies living not far away.

Rabbit Hunting with Air Rifles

Recommended Air Rifles for Rabbit Hunting

It is depending on which air rifles you feel good after practicing. However, it is a good idea to keep in mind some reference of each type of air rifle beforehand. As in Air Rifle Actions and Type of Power Source there are 3 groups of power source of air rifles. They include spring piston, Pneumatic, and CO2-powered air rifles. In spring piston the springier is preferred for rabbits hunting and some small game animals. In Pneumatic the pre-charged Pneumatic air rifles are preferred.

Recommended Air Rifles for Hunting Rabbits

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Pre-charged Pneumatic air rifles

If you can afford a pre-charged pneumatic rifle and the gears that come with it, and would want to gun rabbits for your dinner, and you do not want to try for hundred shots in your hunting day’s afternoon. Then get one PCP air rifle. Why not? You should probably hear people saying that spring gun is satisfying them. But PCP air rifles are shooting more precisely and get you more rabbits in your bucket, and that is why you are hunting. But again, the choice is yours.

Spring air rifles

In another option, if you cannot afford a PCP air rifle for your rabbit hunt, then consider to get yourself a decent springer. Like what I mentioned, be good at shooting with the air rifle that you choose and can afford. Practise well to have accurate shots with respect to your quarry. Fortunately, with a good springer and it is handled by one who has been practised a great deal to shoot one, the job will be done perfectly.

CO2-powered air rifles

Alternatively, you can use CO2-powered air rifle for rabbit hunt. Especially, the Chinese-produced CO2 rifles are price wise, well made. And, they can actually, with a little of fettling rivals the PCP rifle for accuracy. However, CO2 rifles can get a significant drop in the gun pressure after cocking. That will result in a knock-on effect on precision, usually be not a good one and is not recommended in cold weather.

CO2-powered air rifles

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Which Air Rifle caliber and pellets are the most recommended?

In Air Rifle Actions and Type of Power Source – Caliber is the diameter of the bullet or the gun’s bore. It is measured in both metric system and in hundredths or thousandths of an inch.

It depends on which air rifle you can afford. With the PCP, if you can afford you can go either with .177 caliber or .22, it is a good idea to get it in .177 caliber. The .22 caliber has more whack, however, it is more complicated in judging distance of a .22 pellet. The .20 caliber is another gun caliber you can choose, but you do not see there are many used .20 rifles available.

If you go with a springer, the .22 caliber springer is recommended to gun pigeons. Rabbits as a .22 pellet will take down a pigeon more effectively if you fire an accurate shot, than the smaller pellet size.

About pellets, for the best combination of efficiency and precision shots it is recommended to use dome headed pellets. Do not use cheap pellets that you buy them online for economy, because they are definitely less well-made and thus unable to predict in flight when firing.

Remember safety first! Always keep the safety button on and only release it when you are about to shoot. Imagine your rifle may go off if you drop it suddenly without realizing while you climbing over fences. It is very unpleasant 11.5ft lbs on a pellet into an eye might well kill you or your friend and it is troublesome.


In short, rabbits hunt is fun and rewarding. Get yourself a suitable air rifle and practice a great deal before you go on your hunting. Due to the quiet movements required from the game, air rifles will do better rabbit hunt rather than shotguns. The three recommendations for rifles which are PCP, Springer, and CO2-powered.

If you can afford a PCP rifle, it offers higher accuracy shots. Alternatively, you can get a springer, it is well-made, nevertheless, be a marksman. You are using the spring air rifle, and if people handle who know how to shoot one, they will done perfectly.

The CO2-powered rifle can rival PCP for accuracy. But under cold weather condition, it reduces in pressure, so less predictable in pellet flight. Then, it is not a good one use in cold weather.

Again, the choice is yours, practice and practice to figure out a good rifle. My tips above ensure your success rabbit hunt. Get your air rifle soon. Practice with it beforehand and get ready to your winter rabbit hunt. Be safe and happy hunting!