Cottontail bunnies are boring. No antlers. No horns. Not even beards and spurs. Who needs them? Are you kidding me?
Any hunter who shrugs off cottontails misses out on a classic American hunting tradition and some of the most delectable dinners ever devoured. Cottontails helped train millions of hunters. Young and old, male and female, famous and ordinary. I suspect North America’s humble little rabbit trained even Dan Boone, Jim Bridger and John Colter in woodsmanship. Kids from coast to coast have honed their shooting skills on bunnies. Cowboys, mountain men and pioneers have eagerly collected cottontails to stave off hunger.
For generations country folk have maintained their connection to the wilds by continuing to stalk, jump, chase and hunt rabbits. Pursuing rabbits is simple, inexpensive, pure hunting fun.“Hunt” is an active verb here. You don’t sit in blinds playing computer games or reading books while waiting for a rabbit to hop by. You don’t watch decoys and travel routes. You stand up and get after ‘em. You walk and hike and stomp the fields and hills. You peek around that corner of the fence line, poke into that old hollow log, rattle that brushpile and shuffle through that weedy old road ditch. Loose the dogs! Kick the brush piles, bounce the fence wires and rattle the rock piles.
This is a physical undertaking, an exhilarating, heart-pounding freedom. Don’t worry about scent control and camouflage. Don’t bother with trail cameras and game calls. Forget stealth and just hunt.You don’t even have to worry about missing opening weekend. Cottontail season stretches for months in virtually every state. Bag limits are generous, too. Four a day. Eight a day. In some western states there aren’t any limits! This is not a “shoot once and go home” affair. Hunt long, hard and often. You don’t have to win a lottery to hunt a cottontail.
The Accommodating Cottontail — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com