Rabbits on late-season hunting menu

Season remains open until Feb. 28

With the conclusion of duck and deer season in Louisiana and Mississippi, and turkey season still several weeks away, rabbit season remains open and offers hunting opportunities until the end of February.

This past weekend I joined a group of rabbit hunters and we teamed up to hunt on some private land.

“It’s a cold morning after a rain and I think the dogs are going to run good today,” Todd Phillips said before the hunt.

He was right.

Our group spread out into the woods prior to releasing the dogs. Most rabbit hunters like to hunt with small gauge shotguns like .410s or 20 gauges because they are light to carry. On this day, I was glad to have my Model 1100 12-gauge shotgun for the two shots I made on rabbits.

During the hunt, Sylvester Badeaux was the driver. He pushed the dogs in the woods and frequently yelled out “tally-ho” or “hunt ‘em up!” It wasn’t’ long before one dog caught scent of a rabbit and let out a bark.

A sneaky rabbit moving in the briars tried to get by Pete Cassagne and he fired his 20 gauge. The race was over. “I got him!” Cassagne yelled out.

Badeaux called the dogs and moved to another section of the woods. The dogs quickly did their job. During the morning, we killed 11 rabbits.

When hunting rabbits, it’s important to remember that when the dogs jump a rabbit, that rabbit will make a circle and come back to his jump spot. Hunters should also get ahead of the dogs and wait until the rabbit runs by.

I managed to get one of my two rabbits by waiting at the jump spot.

It was a great hunt on that cold morning in February, and for Mardi Gras we enjoyed smothered rabbit and white beans.  Besides offering hours of fun, hunting small game is a great way to get new hunters started, so bring a young hunter along. Hunters can move around while small game hunting, which is particularly appealing for many kids.

Hunting small game is also a great way for families to spend quality time together. Youth will remember those hunts fondly, and later in their lives they will hopefully share those same types of experiences with others.

For hunters with limited access to private land, there are a number of public land opportunities to hunt small game, including wildlife management areas. Hunters should be familiar with hunting regulations, including those of any public lands they visit.

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