Hunting Marsh, Swamp and Green Field Rabbits
Day 1: You’ll Find Marsh Rabbits Different to Hunt
Editor’s Note: If you enjoy hearing the music of a pack of tri-colored hounds as they work the briars and brambles, then you've surely dreamed about hunting when deer season ends, rabbit dogs no longer will disturb deer hunters in the woods. Whether you hunt rabbits in marshes and swamps or along edges of green fields, get prepared for February fun, while rabbit hunting.
Although generally numbers of rabbits live in marshes, you may have problems hunting marsh rabbits. To learn to take the bunnies of the wetlands, I hunted some years ago with Melvyn Verdin, of Barataria, Louisiana. “I've had rabbit dogs all my life,” Verdin reported. “When I was old enough to own a dog, I bought a beagle. I've never been without a pack of rabbit dogs since then.” The size of beagles that make up Verdin's pack didn’t impress him nearly as much as the hunting capabilities of his dogs. “I've got 11-inch and 15-inch beagles in my pack,” Verdin explained. “I don't believe that the size of the beagle matters when I’m hunting marsh rabbits. If the 12-inch dog hunts well, I like the 12-inch dog. When the 15-inch dog hunts well, then he's my favorite.”
Deer Drive Swamp Rabbits:
When Verdin went rabbit hunting, he conducted the hunt much like he would a dog deer drive. “I put my standers out where I think they're likely to get a shot at the rabbit,” Verdin reported. "I usually try to make a horseshoe around or completely circle the section of marsh that I want to hunt with standers. Then, I turn my dogs loose and wait to see what will happen.” Generally, Verdin and his hunting buddies took plenty of marsh rabbits. But, Verdin quickly mentioned that, “We don't have as many rabbits in the marsh as we did before the nutria became so thick and ate the rabbits’ habitat. However, most of the time with three or four hunters, we'll get our limit of swamp rabbits.”
Know the Key Ingredients to Taking Swamp Rabbits:
According to Verdin, to pinpoint a bunny hot spot in the marsh, you had to find dry land. “Rabbits have to have dry land to raise their young,” Verdin emphasized. “They can live out in the marsh throughout most of their lives, but to produce more rabbits and to have a good rabbit population, rabbits have to have dry ground for nest building. If you hunt extremely-low lands, with a lot of water fluctuation, then that high water can kill the young rabbits. So, when you look for a place to hunt bunnies in the marsh, try to find high ground first. Remember that rabbits raise young all year long. So the more dry ground you can locate close to or out in the marsh, the more rabbits you can expect to hunt and take.”
For delicious recipes for preparing rabbits and other wild game with our family’s recipes from the past 45+ years in the outdoors, get John and Denise Phillips’ new eBook “The Best Wild Game & Seafood Cookbook Ever: 350 Southern Recipes for Deer, Turkey, Fish, Seafood, Small Game and Birds.” Go to www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
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About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.