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advice for hunting rabbit in arizona

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by bhhacker, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. bhhacker

    bhhacker Well-Known Member

    I am visiting my friend in arizona mid to late october and would like to hunt small game on his property. I plan on using a combination of traps and a .22 to do so...Is it too late in the year? I think they are abundant year round but if someone could give me a positive answer I would appreciate it. Also, if you have any tips to help me that would be very helpful.

    I am coming from alaska, and have not hunted. I am a pretty good shot and have taken u p fishing, and love getting close to free meat on my table. Would like to help provide when visiting my friend.
  2. bhhacker

    bhhacker Well-Known Member

    40 views and no one wants to contribute? :banghead:
  3. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    I ain't much of a rabbit hunter and I never hunted Arizona. But IMHO, if they're Jackrabbits, they ain't worth eatin'.:barf:
  4. Pulsar

    Pulsar Well-Known Member

    what... jack's are very good eating i would say better than cotton tail
    seen rabbits(both cotton and jacks) all year in the summer and winter and have kill and eaten them also
    I've used a 22lr to take many rabbits the head is always the target
    no meat loss
    a shotgun is also what you might want to carry easiest to take a rabbit on the run
    never trapped for rabbit so cant say about that
  5. LATex79

    LATex79 Active Member

    I am a registered coonass and as you know we eat just about everything. Jacks can be eaten but they have to be cooked for a looooooooooooooong time. Stick with the cottontails. I can not offer hunting advice for Arizona because I have only hunted them in MS, LA, and TX.
  6. the foot

    the foot Well-Known Member

    Hey, jackrabbit is good eating, you just need to treat and cook it in the same way you treat venison. Braise it with veggies, bake it slow like a pot roast, cut it up fine and stir fry it etc. Let it cook forever and it'll get tender. Good eats.

    For hunting them, .22LR or shotgun (#4 or smaller shot).
  7. ch1966

    ch1966 Well-Known Member

    Some 30 years ago, when i was a kid, we lived in the Colorado River Valley south of Yuma. A lot of the alfalfa fields had sand hills in the middle of them.
    My brothers and I would walk around the sand hills and shoot rabbits in the late afternoons. There were always rabbits waiting on the edge just around the corner. My advice would be to find some alfalfa fields to hunt, and hunt the edges early and late.
    Of course Arizona has great diversity of ecosystems. Where are you going in Arizona?
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Depending on the situation, rabbits may or may not give you much of a chance to shoot. Shotguns for snap shooting are often preferable to rifles, though in the high desert I have had the opportunity to take some rifle shots on rabbits that sat there for a while. They don't sit around if they're close; use a scope and plan on longer shots.

    Jackrabbits aren't that easy to kill. My hunting buddy emptied his 10/22 into one at close range before it finally fell. At 75 yards with a scope, consider a .22WMR, not a .22LR. Just my opinion.

    With a shotgun, use #6 or larger shot. I've hit a cottontail east of here with a bunch of #8 from a 12 Gauge and the thing wouldn't die -- took a lot of shots. I no longer believe it's ethical or humane to hunt our tough desert rabbits with anything less than #6.


    That said, in Alaska, you can do some pretty good hunting...

    And Southern Arizona is HOT. Bring a cooler and ice, or your rabbit might not be worth eating by the time it gets home.:)

    BTW if you have the license anyway, and a shotgun, go for something delicious: quail!
  9. wankerjake

    wankerjake Well-Known Member

    rabbits in az

    most of my experience with shooting rabbits in az is during quail season. I shoot them sometimes late in the season (late october at the earliest) with birdshot from a 12 GA, # 7 1/2 OR 8. This works just fine. High base #6 shot works the best though and if you aren't eating them this is a great all around round for rabbit. However, I don't recommend a shotgun for rabbits if you are going to eat them, because you almost always rupture the gut and it doesn't taste as good. For this reason I have all but given up on shooting rabbits with shotguns, and prefer a .22 or .22mag shot in the head. They taste so much better when they aren't gutshot.
    As you know it is hot in AZ all year round (except in the high country) so an ice chest is a good idea and it is best to clean them as quickly as possible. I also recommend wearing gloves while cleaning the animals, especially if you are in the desert because the fleas can carry tuleremia. The hotter it is, the more fleas they have. Also make sure you cook thoroughly for the same reason. In the high country around flagstaff they have less fleas, but the fleas up there sometimes carry bubonic plague so you should still be careful. That being said I've never worn gloves and I've cleaned a hundred rabbits in my day and I don't have any diseases:barf: Anway have a good time, there are tons of rabbits all over AZ!

    P.S. I've never eaten a jackrabbit because I have only heard how nasty they are but cottontails are delicious.

    Oh one more thing: when cleaning them always look at the liver!!! If it has large colored spots or blisters it is probably diseased. Don't eat it! The liver should be a solid dark color. Small white specks are ok. Cooking thoroughly will kill tuleremia but when in doubt, throw it out. I have tossed one or two because of liver spots. Have fun!
  10. Rolando

    Rolando Well-Known Member

    Sneak out to a golfcourse with some 22 shorts and a rifle and pop'em in the head.
  11. Loomis

    Loomis member

    I didn't even know rabbits existed in arizona. I've been to AZ probably 6 times in my life and I don't remember seeing even one rabbit there.
  12. john917v

    john917v Well-Known Member

    I'd say to get some CCI Stingers if you're going to hunt jacks, or if you might see some. For cottontails, you'll be good with just about any standard cartridge. Good luck!
  13. Pulsar

    Pulsar Well-Known Member

    you'll see more rabbits in late evening and early morning
    might want to check and see if you can night hunt them in AZ
  14. RobNDenver

    RobNDenver Well-Known Member

    I grew up hunting rabbits in SW New Mexico. Before the first deep frost down there, you need to worry about fleas on rabbits, as they may carry bubonic plague. Always six or seven deaths a year in humans. So, be careful about handling them before the cold has killed the fleas. You also may want to be aware of tuleremia or "rabbit fever". Not super common, but usually infects hunters who clean rabbits without wearing latex or nitrile gloves. Be careful not to get cut cleaning your rabbits and you should be fine. BTW thorough cooking kills tuleremia in any rabbit you want to eat.

    There are jackrabbits all over, but there are usually plenty of cottontails hanging around any cultivated fields where truck farming takes place. Most farmers love to give permission. . . I would always use a .22LR but that is what I could afford at that time in my life. A box of .22 shells was 50 cents and I was shooting them out of a single shot Winchester bolt action.

    Cottontails are terrific if you clean them, skin them, split them down the middle and either fry them like chicken, or braise them, then finish them in a slow cooker.
  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    On jacks in the desert, my new to me .22 mag would be pretty awesome out to 100 yards. Thing is 1/2 MOA accurate on a calm day. Scope down to 3x, it'd take runnin' cottontails, too, though I'd really prefer 1.5-2x. Shotguns are better on rabbits if you know you're going to get a limited view of 'em, but if you have time to get on 'em, a rimfire rifle is way fun. With dogs, I always used a shotgun on cottontail. They don't give you a long time to make the shot, normally, running through briar patches and such.

    Yeah, Jacks, stew 'em in a crock pot, don't try to fry 'em, too tough and stringy that way. Cottontail fried, yummy. Big ones, swamp rabbit and such, I still prefer 'em in a stew. The old ones can be a little tough fried. Young fried cottontail is awesome. I also like to "smother" 'em in a gravy. Kinda like stewin' 'em, but quicker and in a fry pan.

    Normally hunt 'em in winter. Wolf worms (a subcutaneous round worm that won't hurt you, but is not appetizing to see) and rabbit fever can be a problem in hot months.
  16. tunnug

    tunnug Well-Known Member

    I have shot and eaten hundreds of rabbits in the almost 40 yrs I've lived here but I've never had a jackrabbit, back when I was young my cousin shot and ate a jack and ended up with the trots for about three days, I'm sure it was because he cooked it the same way we did cottontails which was split them and set them over an open fire, so eat one at your own risk, good hunting, luis.
  17. bhhacker

    bhhacker Well-Known Member

    I have family in flagstaff and Friends in/outside of kingman so thats where i'll be hunting. When you are talking about early morning and late at night...whats a time frame? Like dawn and dusk? 4amish or what?
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Cottontail will be all over the ranch roads at night, not a big problem to pot a few for camp meat with a pistol. I used to do that every west Texas trip so I wouldn't be stuck with Dinty Moore or Wolf Brand. :D Not sure night hunting is legal in Arizona, though. Hell, I've walked up on and shot jacks all times of the day. Cottontails in day light, you're going to likely be kickin' 'em out of cover during daylight hours.
  19. Pulsar

    Pulsar Well-Known Member

    not to sure on times but when its starts to cool down, all night, till it starts to get hot, then the rabbits aren't as active (pretty much like all game), you still can find plenty during the hot day but not as much as in night,"imho" :)

    just drive around and you'll see
  20. JKimball

    JKimball Well-Known Member

    +1 to what wankerjake said.
    I think cottontail season is year round in AZ, so I used to hunt them when quail were not in season. I gave up shooting them with a shotgun while bird hunting too. But hunting them with a .22 pistol was a lot of fun. Challenging, and a lot less likely to taint the meat with a gut shot.

    If you're going to be getting a nonresident small game license anyway, I would highly recommend going after quail. If you have a sling on your shotgun and a pistol in your holster you can practice your transition drills when you see a rabbit. :)

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