Hunting rabbits is a great survival strategy, and you don’t have to have rabbit dogs to be successful with rabbit hunting. With a little luck, you can bag a few cottontails all on your own, but you’ll need to be patient and alert. Before setting out on a rabbit hunt, it’s a good idea to scout a few areas to find out where the rabbits live and feed. Rabbits are usually out and about very early in the morning and late in the evening. These are the best times to observe rabbit activity from your automobile.
Once you’ve found where the rabbits are frequenting, decide on the gun you’ll use. For sport, a .22 rifle is a great choice, but if you’re hunting for survival and meat, use a shotgun loaded with #6 shot. I’ve always used a 12-gauge, but my old rabbit-hunting buddy always preferred a 16-gauge. An improved cylinder is best for short distances, like in heavy cover where you’ll likely be shooting.
Speaking of heavy cover, you’ll need to dress accordingly. Rabbits love thick, tight brush, and they seem to have an affinity for briars. If you’re planning on doing a lot of rabbit hunting, you might want to invest in a pair of hunting chaps or thorn-proof trousers. If not, wear the thickest pair of jeans you have. Rabbits are often found in swampy areas, so you’ll need a pair of waterproof boots, too. For safety reasons, wear a bright orange cap.
For rabbit hunting alone, use a walk-and-wait method. Take a few steps, then stop and remain motionless for a few seconds. Rabbits will often flush. If you have a sharp eye, you can sometimes spy a crouching bunny in dried grass or thickets. Forget about looking for the whole rabbit – their tawny fur blends in perfectly with dried vegetation. Instead, look for the small black marble that’s the rabbit’s eye.
If you get a good chance for a headshot, take it. If the rabbit is moving, you’ll need to lead it a little. You won’t usually have a lot of time to think about this, however, so always be on the ready.