ST. GEORGE – With the season for cottontail rabbits open until the end of February, state wildlife officials are saying it’s the perfect time for hunters old and new to get out and participate in a fun hunt.
“Cottontails are fun to hunt,” said Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “And you don’t need a lot of equipment to hunt them.”
The hunt is suggested for new hunters and more seasoned hunters who may want to try a less strenuous hunt.
Smaller caliber rounds are typically used for hunting rabbits, with .17- and .22-caliber rifles recommended by DWR. Shot shells loaded with no. 6 lead shot are recommended for those using a shotgun.
Rifles are good for hunters who plan to stalk and shoot the rabbits before they move, Robinson said. Shotguns are good for when the hunter intends to flush out the rabbit and shoot it while it’s running away.
“Cottontails are found across Utah. The terrain in which they live is fairly easy to hunt. And when you find a pocket of rabbits, you should be in for a good shoot,” wildlife officials said in a news release last week.
“Cottontails usually hide under rocks or brush,” Robinson said. “Sometimes, they’ll even hide in burrows. Draws that have tall sagebrush or rabbit brush in them also have loose, deep soil that the rabbits can often find burrows in. Rabbits will also hide under large rocks, or they’ll hide in the crevice of a rock.”
Cottontails will usually be found in hilly areas with broken terrain where it is easier for them to hide.
Rabbits are usually out feeding in the early morning and late afternoon. This will make them easier to spot, Robinson said. Between feeding times, rabbits may be resting or sunning themselves in a spot not far from a hiding place.
Duchesne and Uinta counties in northeastern Utah hold the highest numbers of rabbits right now. Counties in southeastern, south-central and southwestern Utah hold the next highest numbers.
Additional cottontail hunting tips can be found on the DWR website here.
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