Each year, hunters of all ages head outside to partake in the sport of rabbit hunting, making rabbit hunting one of the most popular and versatile forms of small-game hunting. What makes rabbit hunting such a popular sport is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. While some rabbit hunters prefer to hunt with only a gun, others prefer to employ the use of various rabbit calls, scents, decoys and even hunting dogs.
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Because rabbits are so small, it isn't necessary to use an overly powerful hunting rifle or shotgun. Rabbits also have excellent hearing, so you should be sure to choose a firearm that doesn't make a loud blast after a shot. Most rabbit hunters prefer to use a .22 LR rifle or a .20-gauge shotgun when hunting rabbits. Both .22 LR rifles such as the Ruger 10/22 and .20-gauge shotguns like the H&R Topper are relatively quiet after shooting, meaning there is less chance of scaring away nearby rabbits.
Most of the time you can find rabbits in areas that provide a mixture of open spaces and adequate cover such as small fields that are bordered by woods, briars and brush. If you aren't sure where rabbits are in your area, try going out a few days before your hunt in order to scout the land for any signs of rabbit. When scouting, keep your eyes open for rabbit trails, footprints and droppings. All of these are good indicators that rabbits are in the area.
Rabbits are able to run up to 18 miles per hour, so equipping your rabbit hunting rifle or shotgun with a scope is a great way to help increase your accuracy and range as you zero in on your target. Many rabbit hunters also choose to use rabbit decoys and rabbit calls while hunting. Because rabbits like to live and travel in larger numbers, using a lifelike rabbit decoy while hunting is a good way to help nearby rabbits feel safe and entice them to come closer. Rabbit calls are another way to help grab the interest of hiding rabbits.
When hunting rabbits alone, one of the best techniques to use is the “walking up” method. When walking up on a rabbit, simply walk a few feet and then stop for about 30 to 45 seconds. If you happen to be walking near a rabbit's cover, the sound of your footsteps will startle the rabbits. By pausing, you are then letting the rabbit think it's been spotted so it will run for new cover, giving you a chance to shoot.
Using a dog is one of the most effective ways to hunt for rabbits because the dogs are able to sniff the area for rabbit scents and help find hiding spots. Once a rabbit is found, the hunting dog then helps flush it out of hiding. Many rabbits begin running in a straight line, but with a hunting dog on their trail, rabbits tend to circle back to their original hiding place, which will help bring them towards you and give you an open shot.
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