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The first kind of hunting I truly fell in love with was rabbit hunting. As a teenager I'd hunted dove, squirrel, and deer, and liked them all. But when I was a freshman in HS, a buddy took me rabbit hunting with his pack of beagles. It was my first experience with hunting dogs, and I was mesmerized! Sure, harvesting the rabbits was GREAT fun, but watching/hearing those incredible dogs just blew my mind. I never did pursue it with my own pack of beagles, but I accompanied rabbit hunters anytime I could. My last rabbit hunt was probably around 1987.

Right before season ended, my son brought home 3-4 large cottontails that I cleaned and put up. Yesterday I thawed a couple out, parboiled them, seasoned and fried them in peanut oil. I made some rice...some gravy...green beans...and suddenly I was transported back a couple decades. It was so good I can't even describe it! So, of course, this morning I woke up thinking about rabbits and rabbit hunting.

I know it varies by specific location, but in general what is the state of rabbit hunting in MS these days? Thirty years ago rabbits were plentiful in NW MS. A guy with a good pack of beagles could do very well weekend after weekend. These days? I have NO idea. I know I don't see them like I used to. I'm sure coyotes have had an impact, and of course rabbits depend on habitat that isn't as common now as it used to be.

Is this a good time or bad time to consider getting into rabbit hunting?
 

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Plenty of rabbits here on our place, but in the pines thickets it’s tough to kill good numbers in a days hunt. This year we hunted my place once with a great pack of dogs and killed 4 or 5. I could probably cut some lanes and do better, but rabbit hunting is just something for me to do in February. Not many people are going to keep a pack of beagles for a month of hunting.
 

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Not many people are going to keep a pack of beagles for a month of hunting.
I think you just hit the nail right on the head, and it reminded me of something I'd forgotten when I made my post. I said I last rabbit hunted in 1987. Actually, about 5 years ago a friend invited me on a hunt, and we went to a 1200 acre soybean farm with his pack of 6-8 beagles, and we hunted the CRP on the edges. I think we killed 3...maybe 4. This man is a serious rabbit hunter; it's all he does. And just as you say he told me his biggest problem is finding places to hunt. He knows people that have access to tens of thousands of acres, but none of them will allow him to hunt during deer season. Well, "deer season" in MS is from Oct 1 to Jan 31.

So you've reminded me: rabbit populations aren't the problem. It's having a place to run dogs.

Thanks for the reality check!
 
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