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Rascally Rabbits

by  Greg Patterson

   Rabbits are to hunting what bluegills are to fishing. There are a lot of them and plenty of action. Rascally rabbits rate #1 as my favorite small game to hunt. Head out in any direction of this country and you’ll find hares and rabbits. North, south, east, or west, there’s rabbit hunting opportunity waiting for you.

    Few other game animals allow you the opportunity to become familiar and skillful with as many different firearms as rabbits do. Shotguns, rifles, and handguns are all effective and fun tools for hunting rabbits.

THE MAIN GEAR IS THE GUN

   You don’t need fancy equipment to hunt rabbits. As a 12-year-old, my rabbit hunting began with a Remington single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle, blue jeans, T-shirt, hunter orange hat and vest, and a pair of hiking boots. I’d hunt Eastern cottontails during the fall on our upstate New York farm. Then I’d switch to warmer clothes and hunt snowshoe hares during winter. I quickly learned how to make one shot count, especially since my father would only give me five cartridges per hunt. I then graduated to a Stevens/Savage .22 caliber and .410 combo gun and the luxury of two shots if I needed both. Then my grandfather presented me with a sleek Remington 20-gauge pump. Three shots on demand! I was in heaven. In college, I took to rabbit hunting with a .22 Smith & Wesson revolver. I still have each gun, and my 7-year-old begins his tutelage in firearms handling with the .22 single-shot this summer. Five cartridges await him on the day he’s skillful and mature enough to rabbit hunt.

   Today’s choice of rabbit guns is just as varied, with youth models available in both rifles and shotguns. These are only a few of the many good rabbit hunting guns perfect for young hunters: the Ruger 10/22 rifle; the Browning Buckmark .22 pistol; the Remington 870 Youth Model 20-gauge; the Remington 1100 semi-automatic Youth Model 20-gauge; New England Arms Youth Model 20-gauge Single Shot; and the Mossberg 500 Ladies or Youth Model 20-gauge.

GENERAL APPROACH

     There are also several techniques for hunting rabbits. While in college, I filled my freezer with rabbit meat by walking-up on them. My buddies and I would walk along fencerows; stomp on brush piles and through briar patches jumping and shooting rabbits. We always found them, often right under our feet. Walking up rabbits is effective, but nothing compares to the fun of hunting with a well-trained rabbit dog. It’s just plain American – a kid and a Beagle. The two were made for each other. And the sound of a Beagle hot on the trail of rabbit on a cool, crisp autumn day is a real slice of American pie.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).