Winter is a great time for hunting cottontails in Utah

Hunting season for cottontail rabbits in Utah is open until Feb. 28. Location and time of photo unspecified. | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

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.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • Common Sense December 28, 2017 at 6:54 am

    When you find a pocket of rabbits you will be in for a good shoot? Loosely translated… when you find these helpless creatures huddled together for warmth you can easily slaughter them.

    • DRT December 28, 2017 at 8:01 am

      “Cottontails are fun to hunt,” said Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
      Gee, do you suppose the rabbits are having fun?

      Actually I’m not anti-hunting. Unless you drop them and then let them lay. Rabbits are pretty good eating!

  • karensg December 28, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I think cottontails are fun to watch by my office window, nibbling on my bush and basking in sun on my porch. Not more than two make it through a season of hawks, coyotes, and climate. Yes, they are good eating if no vegetables, fruit, or nuts are available.

    I AM anti-hunting unless you’re lost in the wilderness and starving.

    • mesaman December 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      I AM against bunny huggers unless they are gnawing on the bark of trees. Then they can eat grass.

  • hiker75 December 28, 2017 at 11:39 am

    No wonder we have lots of bunnies. Offering bounties to kill coyotes has an impact. Stupid!

  • comments December 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    huntin’ & killin’ ya say? If you want to trigger rednecks into a violent rage just say “good thing them bunny rabbits don’t shoot back, huh?”

    You can you this phrase for any animal which the huntin’ & killin’ applies to… “good thing them ___________ don’t shoot back, huh?”

    It throws rednecks into a rage nearly every time. They usually call you things like: librul, treehugger, etc.

  • alchemist December 28, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Wow. Killing and maiming innocent animals for practice is “fun”? Really? I just love hearing bunnies writhe in pain just for the heck of it, don’t you? Well heck, ya know they are just lowly animals that can’t feel pain and suffering. Oh and by the way isn’t this the season for demonstrating love and compassion…for all God’s creatures? Hmmm…what WOULD Jesus say?

  • Larry December 28, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    At the risk of splitting hares…..The Rabbit pictured in the story is a Jack Rabbit, not a Cotton Tail.

  • jaltair December 28, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    I don’t like hunting for the sake of killing and leaving. I know a lot of people from Vegas come over every Sunday during rabbit season. The people I’ve watched do thoughtful hunting, following and shooting down to rabbit level, and then skin the rabbits to leave some unusable meat and fur for other carnivors, then put meat on ice and take it home. Rabbit meat is good and actually tastes a lot like chicken.

    However, I’ve been around careless people with guns who seesm indifferent to people in the area and seem to point guns higher than needed. I’ve had bullets come so close to my head and body, I could hear them. Why would anyone shoot so carelessly. Rabbits run on the ground.

    Another irritation, kids shooting from cars. That happens too often out in the Beyrl area. Do parents know kids are out doing this?

  • PlanetU December 29, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Why would anyone print such a cruel story especially this time of yr – sickening. Anyone who thinks this is fun probably doesn’t have many teeth and should see the classic movie “Deliverance.” Just your speed and you’ll be able to relate and have fun too! Backwoods folk…..

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