Hunting Rabbits

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by wrs840, Dec 28, 2008.

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  1. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

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    I'm not an experienced hunter, but my cousin is, and wants to take me cottontail hunting with two other skilled hunters (and beagles), on 50 acres of upper-piedmont NC woods: (brush, gulleys, and logging trails from select-cut logging).

    I have several decent shotguns, but to my surprise, he said my 18.5 inch bore-barrel 20 guage Mossberg 500 and #4 high-brass would be a fine choice. Does this make sense?

    Thanks for any input,
    Les
     
  2. Dave/hoff

    Dave/hoff Member

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    Makes perfect sense to me, Les.

    You'll want something fast-handling, since you'll likely have to react quickly and the range of your shots won't be all that long.

    The 20 gauge is good for lower recoil. Especially since you'll probably shot a lot more times than you'll kill. Don't know that the hi-brass ammo is necessary, but hey, if you can't trust your cuz, who can ya trust?

    I hear that a lot of guys are going to the short-barreled 20 gauge side by side coach guns for a bunny gun in this neck-of-the-woods.

    Happy hunting! I like my bunnies split down the middle like a chicken, grilled with a little lemon-pepper and green chiles. YUM!
     
  3. boxingRef_Rick

    boxingRef_Rick Member

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    Hi.

    I second your cousin, and Dave/Hoff.

    In open terrain, I would use the (low brass) for the skeet barrell, and the (high brass) shot for my modified barrell.

    But if your hunting in heavy cover, definetly go with the # 4 shot
    in both barrells. the heavier shot - will anchor a bunny pronto!

    Also, #6 can be used - less meat damage, when shooting close.


    Be safe!
    Rick.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  4. wyocarp

    wyocarp Member

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    My AK with light and laser works great when shooting them at night.
     
  5. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

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    My cousin knows I have two Chinese SKSs, one paratrooper and one with a bayonet. He didn't mention either as a good choice for this outing. ...Probably concerned about the Beagles... :)

    Les
     
  6. Pete409

    Pete409 Member

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    Rabbit Hunting with Beagles

    Les,

    I used to own several beagles and can understand your cousin's concern about his dogs. Good rabbit dogs are hard to find, not to mention the emotional attachment a person develops with his dogs.

    A cottontail rabbit is not at all hard to bring down. Small shot works just fine. I would suggest nothing larger than #6 shot, and perhaps even #7 1/2 shot for shots under 30 yards. Besides, with small shot, you are less likely to kill a beagle (or person) unless the shot is taken at very close range.

    If you haven't rabbit hunted much before, I would caution you to be extremely careful and know where the other hunters are and where the dogs are at all times. Don't take a shot unless you are absolutely certain of the background.

    Also, most beagle hunters prefer not to shoot at the rabbit on the "jump". Let the dogs run the rabbit in a big circle and then "ambush" the rabbit as it returns near to where it was jumped. When the rabbit is jumped, just find a nearby place where you have a good vantage point of the surrounding area and wait for the rabbit to make his circle. It's much safer (and more fun) for all involved when you do it this way. A large part of the fun when using beagles is watching and listening to them work the rabbit trail.

    Be safe and enjoy!
     
  7. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    +1 if I was going to get another beagle I'd also buy a .410 SXS
     
  8. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Even if you don't fire a shot you should have a great time. Bunny hunting and beagles is one of the funnest hunting pastimes.
     
  9. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

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    Thanks Gentlemen!

    I appreciate the replies, and I will be careful. ...And knowing the guys I'm going with, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a fun education followed by some fine grilling.

    Checking the ammo-locker, I find that I have a box of #6 high-brass too, so I'll use that.

    Side note: I also noticed that I have a box of Federal #2 Buck that I'm pretty certain I bought when I bought the 20 ga Moss 500 new, which had to be about 1986. Do shotshells deteriorate in any way after 22 years? They've been stored in a metal cabinet in the living area of the house.

    Thanks,
    Les
     
  10. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    When I was a little boy I wanted a puppy so bad. My mom and dad gave in and lo and behold a little beagle came home one day with my dad. My dad has been a rabbit hunter for years and I cant help but think that influenced the decision of what kind of pup to bring home. She was a great dog and one of the best hunters we ever had. One of the only dogs I had that could catch that rabbit when you missed a few times. RIP Sally.
     
  11. dirty dave

    dirty dave Member

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    Glad to hear this sport is not die'n out.I have a pack of 6 beagles and one basset and chase rabbits every chance I get.remember to shoot where they are going not where they are.Listen to those dogs run and get hooked.I kill coyotes in off season to help what I can they take there toll on bunnies.Your choice of guns is just right hunting with dogs remember most of the time the rabbit will be way ahead of the dogs.have fun.
     
  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Les, ammo kept cool and dry lasts longer than we do.
     
  13. woodfiend

    woodfiend Member

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    #4 shot sounds a little robust for rabbits, what size are your cottontails? :uhoh: But seriously, that sounds fine for thick brush. Out in the open though, I would opt for #6 or more. Heck, I've killed rabbits with a Benjamin .22 pellet gun. Shot them right through the heart.

    Just be sure to watch out for your teeth when you eat them though! Have fun!
     
  14. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    A 20 guage semi auto and one ounce #6 shotloads is an excellent choice for bunny hunting.
     
  15. Bartkowski

    Bartkowski Member

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    I use #6 shot with low brass out of a guns with 26" or 28" barrels. We use dogs but I still get into the thick parts to kick the rabbits out and have no problem with the longer guns. You don't need #4 shot. Even #7.5 works, only it doesn't go into the animal too far and ruin meat like #4 does.

    Use what you want, but you might get a lot more pellets in the meat.
     
  16. Captain Bligh

    Captain Bligh Member

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    I agree. #4 sounds pretty big to me. I've always hunted rabbits with #6.

    Hunting with beagles is great fun. Enjoy!
     
  17. throdgrain

    throdgrain Member

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    This is a bit wierd. Over here I use #5 shot for rabbits, but thats not the wierd thing. The thing is, when I hunt rabbits, if one sees me (or a dog) I have maybe 3 or 4 seconds at most before he's gone down his hole not to be seen again. Is that not the same over there? Or do we call rabbits different things??
     
  18. dirty dave

    dirty dave Member

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    Yea rabbit hunting is like that sometimes.Some days he wants to run some days he cant be found some days he is fast in the hole.Weather has a lot to do with it.here lately cold light rainy days have been best for me.
     
  19. Kansan

    Kansan Member

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    I was pheasant hunting this season and was carrying my shotgun at my waist, right handed with the muzzle pointing down. I looked down to my left at one point and found that my muzzle was pointing right at a rabbit about 3 feet away. The rabbit was frozen there (I guess hoping that I didn't see it). I was tempted for a moment to pull the trigger from the hip, but figured there probably wouldn't be much left of it so I let that one go. I got one later in the day though.
     
  20. dirty dave

    dirty dave Member

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    yea sometimes he will sit if he thinks he is hid or you cant see him,have had my dogs run one in a circle around a field and find him sitting several feet away from them and when they find him start the chase again.
     
  21. SWAMPUS

    SWAMPUS Member

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    Rabbit Gun

    Wrs840-Agree with gun,not shot.These guys're right.#6 max.#7 1/2 better,I think-2 reasons.1st-same as above,good kill,less damage.2nd-If you get lucky you might jump a covey of quail.#7 1/2 have more shot -better chance on birds.Don't worry,the dogs won't mind if you pop a quail.Watch out tho.Rabbits+Quail are addictive.20 ga.perfect.When I was 13 back on the farm,my old man sent me out with 4 black gentlemen and a pack of beagles.I was totin' my bought with my money 12ga Stevens 311.Heavy old gun that would blow a jackass off its feet.Kicked like one too.I noticed the eldest fella was carrying a dbl bbl 20.I asked why."well,suh.I's getting along in years.THis here shotgun is sommat lighter,so I can tote it all day.Kills 'em rabbits,too."I've never forgot him and his buddies and will cherish the memory to my grave.I got a 20ga DBL BBL-Ithaca Flues model built 1927.Kills anything I shoot it at.
     
  22. Bartkowski

    Bartkowski Member

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    That isn't how it works for me. The rabbits sometimes go to a hole, but over 90% they run in a huge circle. Probably about .25mi in diameter. If you stand and wait long enough the you will see the rabbit again, and again, until you shoot the thing. They keep running around you until they get shot. Usually someone gets them on the first go around, but sometimes the bushes are too thick and we can just hear the dogs running around us.
     
  23. throdgrain

    throdgrain Member

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    Thats very very strange. Are you shooting in woodland or farmland? For me shooting rabbits with a dog would be pointless, the rabbit would be down the hole as soon as it heard the dog coming, and wouldnt come out again for at least half an hour.

    Over here people tend to set up camp maybe 60 yards away with a moderated .22 rimfire and wait for the rabbits to emerge. You can then shoot a few without the others knowing.

    Me I like shotguns, so my tactic is to creep very quietly along the hedge line then shoot when I get near enough. I find as I keep moving forward the rabbit will run in the burrow direction when I'm 30 yards away at best, and I have a good sporting target. Having said that, one shot from my shotgun means all rabbits within hearing range are well below ground a few seconds later :(

    For more serious crop protection we lamp for rabbits, i.e in the back of truck with a lamp at night, the rabbits remain stationary because they dont think you can see them, because it's night. You can take 100 rabbits a night or more from fields that have real infestations in this manner, whether with a shotgun or a rifle. This is a very effective way of doing the job, however it doesn't suit me, I'm a shooter, not a pest controller.
     
  24. KC0QGL

    KC0QGL Member

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    ljnowell, My Cocker was the same way, untill we got a Russian Giant/German Lop (rabbit) mix. After that she only wanted to play with the cottontails not catch them. RIP Daisy 12-1-08
     
  25. KC0QGL

    KC0QGL Member

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    ljnowell, My Cocker was the same way, untill we got a Russian Giant/German Lop (rabbit) mix. After that she only wanted to play with the cottontails not catch them. RIP Daisy 12-1-08
     
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