St. Charles Herald-Guide

Hunters take advantage of leap day

Bruce McDonald - March 9, 2012

Hunters in Louisiana had an extra day to hunt because of leap year, so we took a trip to Myrtle Grove to get some rabbits.

Arriving at private land around 7 a.m., Bernie Hebert informed us that the property had not been hunted much. Most of the property along the Mississippi River had roads cut through the under brush. The owners had bush hogged the roads which gave easy access to the interior of the property.

It looked like the perfect rabbit hunting location.

We lined up hunters on a section of property and released the dogs. The dogs quickly started their chorus and the race was on.

Rabbits like to run dogs in a circle and eventually return to the place where they were jumped. Expecting and calculating the circle, hunters position themselves to intersect the return circle in clearings and small openings.

Some hunters stay behind the dogs to keep pushing them behind the rabbit. Hunters could be seen maneuvering into position to get a shot.

The rabbit has all the advantage. Having fur that is the same color of the grass and ground, they know the terrain with holes and trails through the briar patches. A hunter has to be ready and anticipate movement to make a quick shot.

Most hunters like 20 and 410 gauge shotguns because they are very light to carry. Rabbits are also very tender and it doesn’t take much for a kill. Shotgun shells loaded with 7 ˝, 8, and even 9 shot will give a hunter good shot patterns.

The first rabbit we jumped knew all the tricks and the race soon fizzled out. We managed to walk and cover an area for about a half of mile. Catching the dogs and moving to another area, we released them again without any success.

We moved again to a new area, this time there were rabbit droppings everywhere, which is a good sign. Dr. Mel Dorner was standing on a bush hog trail ahead of the dogs and raised his shotgun in anticipation to shoot.

A rabbit trying to escape the dogs crossed the road and Dorner fired a shot, which rolled the rabbit.

"Yea!" He yelled out, "I got one!"

The dogs did not stop running and shots echoed in the brush as a rabbit went by the hunters.

"Watch out, he is coming your way!" a hunter yelled out.

The dogs were jumping multiple rabbits and they were running everywhere. It was a good time.

We managed to kill three rabbits on the morning and the men were happy to have been hunting on a beautiful February morning. Thoughts switched to smothered rabbit with fried fish and white beans.

"All we need is some fish and we will have a pretty good meal." Kenny Domingue said.

Dr. Mel Dorner, Duke Teirney and Bernie Hebert with rabbits killed on the closing day of February.
Courtesy photo
Dr. Mel Dorner, Duke Teirney and Bernie Hebert with rabbits killed on the closing day of February.