I'm Hunting Wabbits!

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My Dad first introduced me to hunting when I was around 10 years old.  My very first firearm was my older brother’s used Daisy BB gun.  It was okay that it was used because it became MY BB gun.  It was the lever action type.  Dad would have me set up targets in the back of the garage and we would walk out just past the garage door and perform our sighting in and shooting practice. 

The very first hunt I was allowed to participate in was the regular Saturday morning rabbit hunt during the fall/winter season.  Dad worked mostly 6 days a week.  It was Saturday’s he had off and when we would hunt.  At the time (1972) you were not allowed to hunt on Sunday’s in Ohio.  Thankfully that changed later.

Back to hunting that wascally wabbit.  My older brother David got a Beagle puppy one year for Christmas.  He named her Sadie.  Sadie came from a dog lineage of national “field champions”.  Sadie’s parents were certified by one of the American Associations – but I cannot remember which one.  David did have the papers though to prove it.   Bottom line what I am getting at - Sadie was an excellent rabbit hunting dog.   When we would get ready to go hunting Sadie would know it – some sort of dog instinct or maybe just part of that excellent breeding.  All Dad would have to do is walk outside (Sadie lived in our fenced in back yard) and open the trunk and Sadie would go nuts with excitement.  The opening of the trunk would signal Sadie’s excitement as that is where Dad would put her for the travel to the hunting spot.  Sadie would whine and bark with excitement all the way until we stopped and she hear a car door open.  She knew then her work was about to begin.

Anyhow – all of our rabbit hunting was done with Sadie.  In the woods or in the field, Sadie would jump a rabbit and through her keen instincts plus Dad’s and David’s regular training of her, she would chase that rabbit howling each time she would get a whiff of rabbit scent on the trail.  I would guess that approximately 90% of the time Sadie would bring that rabbit right back to where she had jumped it or where she knew we were waiting.  Sadie would do this all day long with Dad and David harvesting several rabbits each.  Sadie was definitely a field champion herself. 

Okay – me hunting rabbit with a BB gun… ya right!  But it was Dad’s way of introducing me to the sport at the start.  I do remember getting one shot off with the BB gun.  I also remember standing by Dad as he cleaned that rabbit because I wanted to find my BB in it.  We never found the BB.

Carrying the BB gun while hunting only lasted one hunting season.  Dad gave me an Ithica 20 gauge single shot shotgun about three months prior to the season.  You should have seen my face when I opened it that year.  Dad spent the time teaching me how to use the gun and how to be safe.  I did well so he allowed me to carry it on the very first rabbit hunt of the season.

The first rabbit hunt using my new shotgun came and went without me getting a shot off at a rabbit.  Not because of Sadie but actually due to me always not seeing the rabbit until too late.  Dad had that Kentucky-windage thing and normally was able to shoot whatever I had missed.  However I did not waste the second hunt.  I remember it well.  Sadie was chasing another rabbit.  There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground and I saw the rabbit well in front of Sadie.  The rabbit would take several hops every time it heard Sadie howl.  I waited until that rabbit was in the open and using what Dad had taught me I harvested my very first rabbit at age 11.

I had not rabbit hunted in years – no make that decades… until this past October.  I found a walk-in area not too far east from home plus my hunting partner had shared another walk-in area southeast.  I now use rabbit hunting to keep me in the field after big game season is finished.  Dad taught me an excellent rabbit recipe – e-mail me and I will share.  It even works on Jack Wabbits… I mean Jack Rabbits!  Oh - and I still have that Daisy BB gun.

My first Jack Rabbit

Comments

Retired2hunt's picture

  Now that is a great story

 

Now that is a great story CoMeatHunter!  I just went rabbit hunting today and bagged a nice black-tailed jack rabbit.  I won't discuss the other 4 I missed.  I'm going back tomorrow to take my vengance upon them!  Great job of taking your son out hunting these wrascilly wrabbits! It is always great to be in the woods and fields in between those big game hunts!  Good luck to you and your son for those future hunts!

 

 

COMeatHunter's picture

Accidental Rabbit Hunter

I remember shooting my first rabbit too.  I used to hunt upland birds every day after school, quail, hungarian partridge, chukkar, and pheasants were all abundant.  While bird hunting one afternoon a cottontail popped out and, BLAM, I shot it.  When I got home, I cleaned it.  One of the more disgusting jobs I can remember.  It must have taken me 15 minutes and I nearly threw up a couple of times from the stink.  I vowed then I would never shoot another rabbit because there was no way I was going to clean it.

Fast forward about 30 years.  My son wants to hunt rabbits.  Of all things small game, he wants to hunt rabbits--can't talk him into anything else.  We found ourselves walking through fields of walk-in properties looking for rabbits later that year.  He was 10 and couldn't wait to harvest his first animal.  Yep, he shot a rabbit and I cleaned it with him.  It wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered.  And he was so proud of that rabbit.  He wanted to have it mounted so he could put it on his dresser.

I guess rabbit hunting wasn't so bad afterall.  And I was able to talk him into a large picture instead of the taxidermy, whew....

numbnutz's picture

My dad also got me into

My dad also got me into hunting and the outdoors when I was 5. I would hunt with him every year and could wait till the next season to start. My first firearm was also a BB gun, it was a Daisy Red rider lever action and I have killed many birds an squirrles with that thing. I remeber my first big game hunt when I was12 when i was able to finally harvest my own deer/ elk. Over the past couple years i have "plinked" a few rabbits while out hunting other game but have never dedicated time just for small game hunts, i need to start doing that to help with the off season boredom. Thanks for sharing your story I enjoyed reading it.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Great story, I really enjoyed

Great story, I really enjoyed it. I have completely gotten away from small game hunting and just hunt deer and turkey now. But, after reading that story it sure brings back alot of memories of hitting the woods and gunning down a few squirrels or rabbits. Those sure were some fun times. I just may have to break out the shotgun and try and get me some tree rats or some wascly wabbits, lol. Thanks for sharing your story.

SGM's picture

As I have said before allot

As I have said before allot of hunters do not give small game the respect it deserves. I love hunting rabbits both cotton tails and snow shoes. Both are great eating and gets you out in the field for a very long season. It is also a great way to get kids out and into hunting as usually you will kick up a few bunnies. Never had the chance to hunt rabbits using a dog so that sounds like a fun way of doing it. All my hunting has been me as the dog/hunter kicking bushes or push the bunnies out to other hunters. Have turned several duck hunting trips into rabbit hunts if the birds were not flying or just not around.  Thanks for the story.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

While I have never truly been

While I have never truly been in a rabbit hunt, but I have been out after some other game and have killed some rabbits.  I think it could be alot of fun if you had a good spot with a good number of rabbits.  Your story however does me an idea that I might know that may hold some good numbers of rabbits and I can get my 6 year old out there and let him chase some rabbits around. 

Thanks for the story sharing it with us.

hunter25's picture

Great story!! Rabbit hunting

Great story!! Rabbit hunting has always been one of my favorites. The last number of years have not been all that good over here but in the past it was unbelievable. I have an old 16 double that I used quite a bit and an old 870 20 that was my grandfathers that works very well for the job. MOst of the time I just carry a .22 but I have probably only gotten ten or less in the last 5 years. I need to find someplace where the snow doesn't get as deep for some late season hunting.

My dad alaways had beagles when I was a kid in Michigan and Wisconsin but by the time I was old enough to try it we were on the way out west and I never got the chance.

The nice thing about rabbits is the limit is 10x that of a deer hunt and you can still carry them all in one pack.