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less rabbits as past years?

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by ohihunter2014, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. I was out all last weekend for muzzleloader and didn't see one rabbit track in the snow. You guys noticing there aren't very many rabbits around anymore? Coyotes, hawks the issue? I used to love flushing a rabbit from a briar patch but deer hunting put that to the side but I'm tagged out this year and nothing to do but don't want to go shooting rabbits if the population is low. I'm lorain county guy.
  2. Muddy


    There are lots of rabbits on my place in Central Ohio. I've seen a bunch all year. There are tracks everywhere in the snow. I am getting trail cam photos of them all night long. They are eating my tree seedlings, especially oaks. I'm about ready to kill a few.

  3. I would be willing to help eliminate a few of those pesky critters,I haven't had hosenphefer in a few years Just offering
  4. Coyotes and hawks are not the problem, its cover and food. Almost all the farms around me have pulled out all the fence rows and grassy waterways. Two farms I used to deer hunt that had some woods were completely devoid of rabbits. A nursery I rabbit hunt has lots of weeds, clover, grass, cover provided by the nursery stock and rabbits. The hunting peaked a few years ago when the stock got overgrown and weeds got bad because of the recession. Now that it is getting cleaned up again the population is dropping some. If there is a major rabbit predator other than us it would be cats. Coyotes a hawks kill to eat and they don't get that many, cats kill just to do it.
    CHOPIQ, Bowhunter15 and T-180 like this.
  5. I agree 100% with Troy Dave. I haven’t bunny hunted hard this year compared to years past but I would have to say that the population is healthy in our area.
  6. Rabbit populations peak and then drop in cycles example when the Snowshoe hares peak the Canada Lynx has more kittens when the population crashes the Lynx will have fewer or no kittens
  7. Muzzleloader season, it was too cold for bunnies to be out much. They hole up when the temps are less than 15 degrees and snow is covering everything. I saw plenty of tracks yesterday and shot one.

    I think if you have a fox or coyote den or a hawk nest in the area you hunt, they will thin out the population in that area. Need more trappers. Won't see more though unless fur prices go up a lot more.
    T-180 and Shortdrift like this.
  8. This is correct. Don't expect to see any tracks when it's super cold.
    And at least around here, lack of cover is certainly not a problem. There's far more cover now than there was 30 years ago. There's also more hawks, coyotes, and cats.
    T-180 and Shortdrift like this.
  9. We have been seeing a decline around here for over a decade it seems. In my opinion between the coyotes,hawks, and cats they really dont have a chance. Especially when it seems the farmers tear out every fence row or weed patch thats left, then pick corn and have it plowed the next day. Ive heard they go in cycles but when they have nowhere to live its hard to have an upswing in the population.
  10. I've seen more rabbits this year then i have in the past!! I hunt 3-5 days a week with my beagles and on all public land. Been an excellent season so far!!
    Also, I usually take 2 sometimes 3 rabbits and just listen to the dogs run. Leave plenty for next year's crop. I hunt where most people wouldn't go....makes a huge difference!!
  11. Bowhunter / Crawl: Agree with both of you. Habitat destruction is an issue. No doubt. However, this year has been really good. Over the years I have heard many guys comment on rabbit population during their hunting experiences. I can't tell you how many times that my beagles would start tracks and no one in my hunting party would see the rabbit. Rabbits don't sit "tight" all the time. On given days rabbits get up way ahead of dogs/hunters. On those days brush kicking hunters would think that a given location would have a poor population when in reality the area may be healthy with rabbits. If you are curious about a location check it after the snow has been on for a length of time or like Crawl take out a good pack of beagles. They will let you know.
    bdawg and Crawl like this.
  12. I think it depends on the predator population of each locale. Some of my spots have lots of hawks and coyotes, no rabbits. Other spots have few hawks and coyotes, more rabbits. Hawks seem to take more than the yotes IMO.
  13. Doug: I would owls to the list too. Bunnies are very vulnerable at night due to the fact they are out roaming around feeding, etc. versus sitting in a squat. Barred owls in particular are tough on rabbits, but there is no doubt that hawks get there fair share. I have had hawks attempt to take a rabbit that the beagles were running. None of them were successful. More than one farmer has told me that when they are harvesting crops (beans/corn) that hawks will on occasion sit on the perimeter of the field and pick off rabbits as they were running for cover. Its a good thing they have tons of babies every year.
    dig_doug_l, garhtr and Crawl like this.
  14. GalionLex, Yep owls for sure can do a lot of "damage".
  15. Muddy


    Owls sure do respond quickly to rabbit distress calls at night.
    garhtr likes this.
  16. I watched an owl land in a tree next to me while I was sitting in my stand.a Pheasant was cackling in the cut corn field about 200 yards away. That owl pinpointed the pheasant in a matter of seconds and swooped down immediately trying to get a meal. I would assume they would do the same thing to a rabbit.. although I have seen more rabbits in the past three or four years then I have ever seen in my area!
  17. Not many around me either nothing like it used to be but plenty of coyotes around here