Pure Michigan, the state's non-profit travel bureau, released a short video that shows a typical family of sportsmen heading out into the snow for a day of bunny busting complete with shotguns and beagles.
(Thats a great shot...and look at all that habitat even in the snow...)
In the two-minute long video a family of rabbit hunters lead by pater familias Mark Rich go on the search for cotton tails looking for sign with their rather healthy beagles fresh out of the dog boxes. Two things strike the watcher from the standpoint of a southeastern rabbit hunter such as I and that is the amount of snow on the ground, which translates into the layers of clothes worn by the sportsmen (and young sportswoman). The group seems to be equipped almost exclusively with single shot H&R style crack barrel shotguns that come up nice, light to the shoulder of the hunters, and garner at least a few nice sized cottontails.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain: these small game hunters love their dogs.
"The thing that we like about rabbit hunting and what keeps us coming out here," says Rich in a voiceover, "Is that we really enjoy running our beagles and hearing them chase the rabbits."
Rabbit hunting is a popular hobby among Michiganders. Join a family of avid Michigan hunters as they track down and hunt on State land for different species of rabbits.
Michigan's small game season which includes Rabbit (Cottontail) and Snowshoe Hare, is nice and long, running from September 15- March 31. Bag limits are five per day and according to the Department of Natural Resources, the state's conservation agency, numbers are plentiful.
The hunt with the Rich family was filmed on DNR controlled wildlife management areas. Both Pure Michigan and conservation officials have worked together on other recent projects to help highlight the state's natural resources, even using DNR volunteers to walk around the Wolverine State's wilderness with a 42-pound Google Trekker on their back to capture more than 44,000 images of state parks and embed them in Google Maps.
Further, this is not the first time that beagle hunts for bunnies has been highlighted by the travel bureau.
In 2010 they highlighted snowshoe hares in which outdoor writer Dan Donarsk closed by saying, "Ya know, there's nothing like watching and hearing the dogs work. The rabbits are a bonus, but just being with the dogs...," he said with his voice trailing off. "Next year, why don't we meet on Drummond Island, maybe do a two-day thing. I'll call ya a couple of weeks before I head up."
Let's hope that other states look to Michigan's example and embrace their rabbit dogs so publicly.