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 Post subject: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:02 pm 
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What's it like this year in your area? Here it has been too warm and too sunny. Not many great days. We have had a few good hunts, but still too warm. What about ya'll?

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:23 am 
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We had a few good runs with the beagles and shot a few rabbits. It could be a lot better if more guys would trap or shoot some of the foxes and coyotes here in NJ. I took a walk with my beagle around the edge of a feild on a WMA and found fox holes all over the place. I am gonna have to get my permit for our night hunting season and hopefully blast a few.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:41 am 
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The last few years, I have had more luck walking rabbits up than using dogs. Good rabbit dogs are rare. I have begun to think that they are lieing to me a lot. They bark and squall a lot but the rabbit doesn't appear. A few years ago, it was fun to let the rabbit circle and just wait at the place where he was jumped. Apparently, rabbits around here have been educated and don't follow the rules. Lat time I went out with a guy who had the best dogs around, per him. They made a lot of racket but none of us ever saw a rabbit all day.

So, I walk around hedgerows and shake them. Here in eastern NC, one can get a few rabbits by walking and kicking the bushes. I'd love to go hunting again with a good pack of beagles that told the truth. I can't stand a lieing dog.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:47 am 
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Location: Kentucky
We currently have the best pack of beagles that we have had in years. I'm really impressed with them. The last two years they have run their hearts out and we have killed quite a few rabbits over them. Just stand where they jump it and it'll be back. We don't fool with registered beagles, just meat dogs.

But I know what you mean. I'm 35 and I remember when I was a kid that everybody who had beagles had a pretty good dog or two. Now there is a lot of trash out there. You have to wade through 20 to get to the good ones. And don't even try to buy an honest to goodness jump dog those things will give you a coronary when you hear the price. Thankfully we have one, a young female. (All our dogs will jump and run their own, but she is a jump specialist).

Ev, I have been using my new poly-choke this season for rabbit hunting. Man I love that thing. If we are hunting heavy cover I can open it up for quick shots, and then when we go to the fence rows I can tighten it down for the long shots. If you find yourself up here in KY during rabbit season let me know. I'd be glad to take you out with a good pack of dogs.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:15 am 
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Location: Nova Scotia,Canada
Rabbits low in my area.Have seen only six and was able to bag them.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Location: SC
We hunt the lower Piedmont of SC in the Savannah and Edisto Basins and the numbers have been pretty good for the most part but the weather has surely been warm! The owner of the dogs (5 beagles) hunts every Saturday and Tuesday and while I have not been able to go each time, I've made about 7 trips I think. Single digits is usually the norm but we've had some bags in the 20's, just depends on the area and guns.

Yesterday we had four guns and killed 8 rabbits in an area of very young pines. I saw most of the jumps and the rabbits were backed up to pine trees, even though it was in the upper 60's with light rain. I took an old family heirloom gun out yesterday, a Stevens 5100 20 ga and only shot one time but the proof is in the picture. This is always been one of my favorite upland guns, whether for rabbits, quail or doves. Winchester's 2 1/2-7/8-#6 shot are really effective on cottontails. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:37 pm 
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VC, we have a lot of coyotes around here and they do put some pressure on the rabbits, but our numbers are very good. They coyote pressure sure does make them either run longer rounds or go to hole quicker. Our days until recently have been so sunny that the rabbits are holding tight and holing up, but other than that it has been a good season even it I don't have as much time this year as last.

LC, I too have a fondness for Stevens shotguns. They may not be as refined as some of the others, but they are tough and they get the job done. And I had rather have one of them than two of the new double imports. I have an old Springfield (pre 311) 16 gauge sawed off to 26 inches. It is one more rabbit gun with 1 oz of 6 shot. If I had to admit it, it is probably all the rabbit gun I would ever need. But I would never admit that!

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:05 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
Colonel26 wrote:
VC, we have a lot of coyotes around here and they do put some pressure on the rabbits, but our numbers are very good. They coyote pressure sure does make them either run longer rounds or go to hole quicker. Our days until recently have been so sunny that the rabbits are holding tight and holing up, but other than that it has been a good season even it I don't have as much time this year as last.

LC, I too have a fondness for Stevens shotguns. They may not be as refined as some of the others, but they are tough and they get the job done. And I had rather have one of them than two of the new double imports. I have an old Springfield (pre 311) 16 gauge sawed off to 26 inches. It is one more rabbit gun with 1 oz of 6 shot. If I had to admit it, it is probably all the rabbit gun I would ever need. But I would never admit that!

We have also lost a lot of good rabbit habitat, even on a lot of farms and nurseries, it's gotten really bad, predators are high in numbers on small pieces of land, and it's right were all the rabbits are. We have found the places with the highest rabbit numbers have fox and yotes pushing them into holes before we even get there.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:56 pm 
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That's a good looking pup on your profile. What kind of beagles do you have, registered or grade? We have mostly always hunted plain ol' grade stock with a few registered ones here and there. Most of ours are the small type, under 12 inches. The small ones really work well in our terrain.

We've go a pretty good pack right now, and our best little jump dog just had six pups the other day by our bluetick Turbo bred male dog. We're hoping that next season they'll be ready to go.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:19 pm 
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Colonel26 wrote:
That's a good looking pup on your profile. What kind of beagles do you have, registered or grade? We have mostly always hunted plain ol' grade stock with a few registered ones here and there. Most of ours are the small type, under 12 inches. The small ones really work well in our terrain.

We've go a pretty good pack right now, and our best little jump dog just had six pups the other day by our bluetick Turbo bred male dog. We're hoping that next season they'll be ready to go.

He's just a plain old hunting line no papers, but 12" dogs. He's young, 6 months in a week or so but is doing real well. We hunt some pretty thick stuff also most of the time so the 12" dogs do real well.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:03 pm 
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That's exactly what we hunt with. He's a good looking pup for sure. We have always had better luck out of the plain ol' hunting lines than the registered ones.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:15 am 
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Location: Downeast NC
Man, you guys got me ready to rabbit hunt. Just cleaned my waders and duck gun, stored them away with the steel shot loads, and pulled out the old M12 16 gauge and some #6 lead shot. Going to run the beagles on FEB 11th along the Tar River - hope to bust out some swamp rabbits and a few cottontails too.


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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:07 pm 
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Got out for two hours yesterday, beagles ran five rabbits during the first hour of the hunt, three killed out of the five. Cool, cloudy, light breeze, damp - perfect weather for a rabbit hunt.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Location: Nova Scotia,Canada
Old Hunter wrote:
swamp rabbits and a few cottontails too.



What is the difference between a swamp rabbit and a cottontail rabbit?

In Nova Scotia we have snowshoe hare but everyone calls then rabbits. :)

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:05 pm 
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Here we have plain old cottontails, and swamp rabbits. They ate a little different group. They live in hardwood swampy habitats. They get a lot bigger that cottontails and run a lot father. I'll let those who have hunted them explain more about them. I sure hope to hunt them myself some day. We just don't have the right kind of habitat around here for them.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:19 am 
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Around here the size is similar to a cottontail, or smaller. Their habitat area's overlap but the swamp rabbits stick to the swamps and marshes in the low ground (cottontails will be found there too). The tail is darker (bluish in color) and the fur is darker, they range farther from the dogs (the circle they run is wider and deeper, takes longer to run them back. A swamp rabbit will swim too, and well, they will cross a stream or pond to get away from the beagles. Around here the term swamp rabbit and marsh rabbit are used interchangeably, but I understand those are actually separate species of rabbit (just like the cottontail is a different species). I tried to link you to a data page on the NC WRC species page, but it is gone.


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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:09 am 
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Here is my hunting partner Ed and his son, looking over the cottontail that Chris just shot. We were hunting the high ground on the farm. The rabbit has the lighter color fur that is typical of cottontails. Behind them is the drop-off to the low ground near the river, down there is where the marsh rabbits (correct term) have their habitat.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:18 pm 
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The rabbit hunting in NW Louisiana has been ruined this year by the historic drought that we're still suffering, but getting at least some relief as of late. I have an astonishingly awesome rabbit spot cover-wise, but the drought has made it not worth hunting this season. The other spot I have does have some rabbits and I'm doing fair there this year. I can only hunt it after deer season......

I wish I lived a little closer to some of you guys that have good dogs. It'd be fun to get up a hunt together. In my area, most all the dogs are too short to keep up with mine since we run mainly swampers and therefore noone wants to bring their dogs with mine. Honestly, I didn't know the swampers were a separate breed---I thought they were just old cottontails. Anyway, my dogs are unregistered as well, but I'm very proud of them. I have one litter of 5 that I will start in the next month or so, and another litter of 4 that are only a few days old. They'll be a little shorter than my best dogs and I'm hoping they'll make a nice pack to hunt with each other in a few years.


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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:42 am 
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It would be great to have one big rabbit hunt. My dogs are the small type, 12" our shorter. They work best in the type of terrain that we have, lots of thickets, fence rows, sink holes and brush piles. I've never got to hunt those swamp rabbits but I hope to some day.

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 Post subject: Re: How's the rabbit hunting?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:43 am 
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Old Hunter, those were some great pics. Thanks for sharing.

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