Hunting Dogs photo

Trailing bunny-chasing beagles along hedgerows and thickets is a hoot. But for those of us without a pack of howling hounds, bagging rabbits is all about finding the right cover, moving with stealth, and having a friend willing to endure a few (or a lot of) brier scratches. Here’s how to get it done when you’re dogless.

Check Warm Sunny Spots and Nasty Cover for Rabbits

Rabbits tend to hole up where food and cover are in close proximity. Overgrown hedgerows of fruit-bearing bushes and abandoned farmsteads flanked by agricultural fields offer the ideal mix. Rabbits are also sun lovers, especially after long periods of cold weather. Wait until well after dawn to find them catching some rays out in the open.

Try To Push Rabbits Into Clearings

In terms of ideal rabbit habitat, the thicker the better. But that makes for tough shooting, so concentrate on dense thickets bordered by short grass or other openings, and be prepared to snap-shoot when the bunny busts out.

Read Next: Five Spots to Find Winter Cottontails

Move Slowly To Get Rabbits to Run

While one hunter kicks loudly through cover, the other should quietly walk along the edge, watching for fleeing bunnies up ahead. Rabbits will often hold their ground at the very edge of the cover and let a fast-moving hunter pass by within inches. The brush buster can make them nervous by walking slowly and stopping frequently to let the scene get quiet. If a rabbit thinks it’s been spotted, it’ll run.