Tips for Rabbit Hunting in Pennsylvania
Even after the popular deer hunting seasons are over, the upcoming winter months can be a great time to stay afield and pursue some rabbits. With many small game seasons in PA, including rabbits, running through the end of February, it is the last chance to hunt for the season for most.
- Be Safe:
When rabbit hunting with a group safety has to be first, as with all types of hunting. When a rabbit takes off, there is no telling what direction it might go. Things happen very quickly in the field and hunters need to be aware only taking the safest shots.
- Don’t rush the shot:
This is all mental. Rabbit hunting action is fast, and there can be days where there are less opportunities than others. It is crucial to take the right amount of time for a shot when a rabbit tries to escape. Hunters often think they have to get that shot off as quick as they can to down the rabbit. There isn’t time to waste, but getting excited and shooting before having a good steady lead on the rabbit is going to result in a miss almost every time.
- Hunt the thick stuff:
It’s no secret that rabbits like to hide. Get to the thickest areas possible and chances at success go way up. Look for brushy valleys, thickets, weeds, vegetation, and wood lines along fields.
- Find some buddies:
Hunting with a group can be more fun and much more effective. Having a group of hunters will increase odds of jumping rabbits out of thick cover. Stay in a line when working through cover and go slowly. It’s important to cover the territory thoroughly.
- Hunt when the sun’s out:
Rabbits will be more likely to be out of their holes when the sun is out. It doesn’t mean success can’t be had when it’s cloudy but be sure to take advantage of those sunny days when rabbits will be out. If hunters move slow enough, it is possible to spot rabbits in cover before they bust. Watch for the horizontal line of the back of a rabbit or look for their black eyes. This tactic takes a lot of practice and patience. Moving slow and keeping eyes up is the key.
Gear for Rabbit Hunting:
A 20-gauge shotgun is our recommended gauge. But any gauge, choke, or action will work just fine.
The best shot sizes for rabbit are #6’s and #7 ½’s.
- Brush or Briar Proof Pants:
￼These will help a hunter comfortably get into the thickest cover where the rabbits like to hide in. Hunters can easily walk through briars and thickets without cutting up their legs.
- Game Vest
A game vest with pouches in the front and rear is crucial. This will allow a hunter to carry their harvest and still have hands free for more action.
- Fluorescent Orange
-Don’t forget that a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange is required on a hunters head, chest, and back combined, visible 360 degrees.
- Quality Boots
-Sometimes rabbit hunting can be a lot of walking. Comfortable boots that will keep feet warm, but not too hot, and dry are a must.
The third rabbit season in Pennsylvania runs from Dec. 26 2018 through Feb. 28 2019 statewide. The limit is 4 daily, 12 in possession. This is a great time to get out and enjoy some hunting with friends and family when most other seasons are over!