Something every rabbit hunter wants is increased success in the field. Although rabbit dogs play a huge role in our harvest, we humans need to practice some advantageous techniques as well for greater odds all around. If you find that you are coming up empty in the field or not bringing home the rabbit numbers you'd like to, maybe a change in technique is in order. Here are some techniques to try to raise the rabbit numbers in your freezer.
It is important to remember the behaviors of rabbits, such as that they are nervous creatures. The nervous reactions of rabbits can be used to your advantage because in many cases they will become frightened upon hearing or seeing you and therefore will flush. However, this is not always true. In some cases rabbits may try to wait out the threat under cover, but the thing about that is patience under pressure is not a virtue rabbits possess. You can take advantage of this by applying some extra pressure to the rabbit psyche. Sure, they hear you coming and are fretting with worry, but what if you stop and stand in silence? The stress and suspense associated with not knowing what is next to come is also likely to get rabbits to flush, so incorporate the technique of occasionally pausing into your stalking.
Now that rabbits are flushing, the question is where are they going? Sure, your rabbit dogs will be on top of this, but you need to monitor the situation as well. Though rabbits may flee in advance of your approach and therefore be well within your line of sight, this is not always the case. Sometimes that rabbit will have just enough patience on tap to let you pass before dashing away and doing so right behind you. Because of this behavior, it is imperative that you incorporate looking over your shoulder into your arsenal of techniques because what you might find behind you could be a sneaky rabbit.
Take care not to dismiss alternative places where rabbits might be hiding. You hear mention of thickets all the time in correlation with rabbit hunting but rabbit hangouts and habitat is much more widespread than just your run of the mill thicket. Another addition to your bag of techniques should be keeping an eye on other, alternate locations as well such as the canopy of a fallen tree, canebrakes, debris or brush piles, or other types of cover. These areas have rabbit appeal but may go unnoticed or ignored by other hunters due to a lack of appeal to them, making them an excellent place for you to watch.
There may come a time when all the tips, tricks, and techniques in the book are just not helping you find rabbits. Rather that pounding the same ground over and over again, sometimes it is best to cut your losses and move on. A technique known as leapfrogging is useful at times such as this because it saves time and energy. The process of leapfrogging involves pushing through a hunting location to see what you can find. If you and your rabbit dogs are coming up empty, don't spend the day exhausting yourselves in that area. Instead, leapfrog onto a new place and invest a portion of your time but not the whole day in that area. If you come up empty again, move again. Rather than wasting your physical resources all in one place, spread the effort around for greater odds of success.
An unfortunate part of rabbit hunting is that not every day is going to be a good one. Some days you will be struggling and other days your dogs may be feeling off. Whatever the case may be, having a few techniques in your bag can often make a bad day better, so the more you learn now the better off you'll be in the field long term.
Are there any techniques you swear by? Do you have some you'd like to add that weren't mentioned here? Let us know your favorite techniques in the comments!