Archive for the 'rabbits' Category

Safe, Successful Rabbit Hunting

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
Hunting rabbits and hares can be a rewarding challenge.

Hunting rabbits and hares can be a rewarding challenge.

This is Passport to Texas

Deer hunters are used to sitting quietly in a blind for—sometimes—hours before a buck or doe saunters into view. If they ever do. Increase your odds of harvesting game by hunting rabbits.

I mean, there is an abundance of rabbits across Texas.

Rabbit hunting is year-round and statewide. Heidi Rao, a hunter education specialist says rabbits don’t often stray into the wide open spaces, and suggests hunting the edges of their territory, such as fence lines or tree lines.

 A lot of people use .22 rifles, .22 pistols. Some people use 410 shotgun or 20-guage.

Rao recommends sticking with the .22s; shotguns are loud and can cause other rabbits to run erratically, reducing your odds of taking a safe shot.

The do zigzag. We always recommend making sure you have a safe background and that you can identify your target. So, we always want to make sure that you have a good still shot. So, make sure that they stop. Because it’s always difficult to hit a moving target if you don’t have a spray of pellets like a shotgun.

Besides, it was that shotgun blast that made the rabbits zigzag in the first place. Plus, a single shot from a .22 will go further to preserve the integrity of the meat.

Tomorrow—a recipe for making cottontail carnitas.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series and works to promote shooting sports and hunting in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting Rabbits and Hares in Texas

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
Jackrabbit hiding behind prickly pear cactus.

Jackrabbit hiding behind prickly pear cactus.

This is Passport to Texas

People who hunt rabbits say they find it more engaging than waiting hours in a blind for a deer to visit a feeder.

Sometimes when you’re deer hunting, you might be sitting in a blind just being quiet and waiting and not see anything.

You don’t have to “bait and wait” with rabbits; they’re everywhere. Heidi Rao, a hunter education specialist, says rabbits and hares may be hunted year round, statewide.

In West Texas, you do have the larger jackrabbits. We do have some larger rabbits and hares down in South Texas. There is an abundance of rabbits across Texas.

A hunting license is still necessary. Rao says you can use a shotgun when rabbit hunting, but they tend to be loud.

If you plan on doing a day of rabbit hunting, and you’re using a shotgun, you could scare away some of the other rabbits in the area. They could hunker down and hide because of the noise. A .22 rifle or pistol is a lot quieter.

Heidi Rao offers tips on hunting rabbits.

The best way to hunt rabbits—they love cover. They hide near their food source. So that’s a great way to hunt rabbit, along what we call edge. Which is the edge of their habitat versus the open area.

Find hunting information by species on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series and works to promote shooting sports and hunting in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Rabbits Versus Hares — Some Differences

Monday, February 13th, 2017
Side-by-side comparison of a cottontail (left) and hare (right).

Side-by-side comparison of a cottontail (left) and hare (right).

This is Passport to Texas

A cottontail is a rabbit and a jackrabbit is a hare. And although they’re in the same family, they’re different species. Hares have longer ears and back legs than rabbits—and the differences don’t stop there.

One of the differences between hares and rabbits are the types of nests they build. And this is determined by the condition of their young at birth.

Heidi Rao is a hunter education specialist. She says true rabbits are born hairless, blind, and dependent on their mother’s care.

A young jackrabbit is actually born with his eyes open, and his body fully furred, and with the ability to hop around only moments after birth. It doesn’t need an elaborate nest to be reared.

Hares are less social, and they give birth and raise their young in above ground nests. Rabbits live in groups, and give birth and raise their young in underground burrows or warrens. There is one exception. The cottontail.

The eastern cottontail’s nest is a saucer-like depression three or four inches deep and about eight inches across. And they line it with mouthfuls of soft, dead grass mixes, and hair from the mother’s body.

Hares are more skittish than rabbits and do not make good pets. But they both are good eating. Hunting rabbits and hares…that’s tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.