Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rabbit Huning

To successfully hunt rabbits you must be of a patient nature, especially if you are using a .22 rifle or air-rifle, the weapons of choice for many hunters especially in the UK.
Rabbits are by their nature very wary animals, having so many natural predators has created in them an extremely honed survival instinct, so anything that looks out of place will be avoided for a long time until it becomes part of the natural background. Because of this good camoflague clothing is a must, by being able to blend into the natural vegetation is only to your advantage.
Before approaching your hunting area you must first check wind direction, always approach with the wind in your face wherever possible, your smell travels much further than you realise and this will cause your targets to dissapear way before you are anywhere near them. As you get closer to your lying up area you will need to lower your body and create as low a profile as possible, not only will this help you to move closer towards your quarry but will also cause you to slow down your movements, and slow movements are vital to get you as close to the rabbits as possible.
OK, you are now in position, your rifle is loaded and you are taking aim, the kill zone of a fully grown rabbit is about the size of a clenched fist so now is not the time to practice getting your marksmen skills. You should by now be able to group at least 5 shots in a 5cm group from out to 25 meters, if not you should not be taking aim at any living creature. If you cannot take a clean shot and achieve a clean kill then keep practicing on paper or knockdown targets until you can.
Many times when hunting rabbits you will be taking shots at a grazing rabbit, the kill zone is covered and you cannot guarantee a clean kill, I have found that by making a "tutting" noise the rabbit will raise its head, giving you enough time to take the shot. If you are using an air-rifle you may be able to bag more than one rabbit before the more alert turn and run for home. A rim-fire rifle may create too much noise, but I have known the crack of the shot only raise heads throughout the field before they turn back to nibbling on their grass.
When hunting, always remember to gain the landowners permission, a person running about a field in camoflague clothing and a rifle may creat the wrong kind of interest. Always remember to shoot responsibly, shoot safely and use your marksmenship principles to cause the least amount of suffering to the animals you are hunting.

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