Growing up in the Sierras, we’ve always had rabbits running around and through our yard throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
To be honest, we never really considered them as a food source until I read a book called Rabbit Boss by Thomas Sanchez. The native tribe that lived in this region for thousands of years before American settlers arrived relied heavily on annual rabbit hunting trips.
If you’re new to the idea of rabbit hunting, you’re not alone. Here I’ll provide several easy and applicable tips to help you find success on your next rabbit hunting trip. So, without further delay, here are our rabbit hunting tips for beginners!
When To Go
When planning a rabbit hunt, there are a number of factors to consider. Weather is the first and most obvious factor to consider.
Not only should you make sure to avoid bad weather so you stay dry and comfortable, but the activity level of rabbits is also certain to decrease when a storm is moving in.
In addition to weather, certain times of day tend to bode better for rabbit hunters than others. Over the years, many experienced rabbit hunters have noticed the changing habits of their favorite game. Instead of scurrying about freely during the day, rabbits are now more active at the bookends of the day.
In other words, they tend to be most active during the early morning and as the sun starts to dip below the horizon. Concentrate your efforts around these times of day if you want to increase your odds.
Where To Look
When spooked, rabbits like to hide in thick cover. They are less likely to be spotted in these areas, but areas will thick shrubs are often more likely to have rabbits hiding in them.
While this makes actually capturing or shooting them much more difficult, knowing where to look will allow you to start zeroing in on your prey.
Depending on where exactly you’re rabbit hunting, “thick cover” can look drastically different. When hunting in a large, semi-open field, concentrate on looking through stalks of grass. And when hunting in a more wooded area, concentrate on looking through shrubs and other low-lying vegetation.
While woodlands can present more challenges, there’s also the likelihood that you’ll find more rabbits (in general) living there.
Many beginning rabbit hunters start by hunting the fields before they move into more wooded areas. That being said, if you can get a bit off the beaten path and find hunting grounds that are less frequented by other hunters, you’ll be more likely to increase your odds of finding game that may have otherwise been overlooked.
What To Look For
Rabbits are a prime example of game that has brilliantly adapted to their surroundings. Their pelts blend in seamlessly with their environment, which can make them very hard to spot when they’re not on the move.
However, spotting rabbits when they’re lying in hiding is key to successful rabbit hunting. To do so, you’ll want to look for the rabbit’s eyes.
As you’re scouring brushy areas for your game, concentrating on eyes will help you differentiate rabbits from their surroundings. However, you’ll also have to develop the ability to locate eyes and then hone in on the entire body.
This practice is something that you should develop over time, but it starts in the field and then moves into more wooded areas as your skill increases. As you begin to hunt other game, you’ll also find that developing this skill comes in handy for a variety of game.
What To Wear
Because the most effective areas to hunt rabbits tend to have a lot of thick cover, you’ll want to wear something that helps other hunters see you clearly.
Wearing orange is a great way to make sure you can be easily spotted and the likelihood of rabbits noticing you sooner is actually quite minimal. In terms of safety, this is one of the most important hunting tips out there!
A Little About Rabbit Psychology
Rabbits are great at hiding and are easily spooked when they hear or see something coming their way. However, in most cases, they are simply trying to get out of your way and attempting to find a safer place.
This is why you might notice many rabbits reappearing behind you after you just saw them scamper away. Some hunters refer to this as a disappearing act, but it’s a good practice just to look behind you every now and then while rabbit hunting.
Additionally, varying the way you move through the field or brush can cause rabbits some delay over how to properly deal with your movements.
If you make a habit of pausing regularly and changing up your pace (speeding up and/or slowing down irregularly), this can cause rabbits some confusion. As a result, you can momentarily keep rabbits frozen in place as they try to figure out the best way to escape from you.
The patience and spotting skills that you’ll learn from rabbit hunting can eventually help you hunt larger game.
Understanding your game and learning how to look at fields and woodlands with new eyes are two of the most important skills you’ll hone while rabbit hunting. We hope you enjoyed these rabbit hunting tips and we wish you the best of luck as you begin your hunting career.
Do you have any questions or something you’d like to add? Leave a comment below!