People have been bowhunting since the most primitive of times, and although today's guns are more efficient, a bow can be a fun and interesting means of taking game. Bow hunters tend to be thought of as shooting deer, or perhaps wild hogs and boars, and turkey. It would take a well practiced archer with a thorough knowledge of hunting techniques, but contrary to popular belief bears can also be hunted with a bow. Small game actually becomes more difficult, because the target is much smaller and it is also more difficult to close on small prey. That doesn't mean it can't be done, it just takes a bit different style of practice, skill, and knowledge.
Can You Bow Hunt Rabbits?
It takes a lot of patience, but yes, rabbits can be hunted with a bow. The hunter has to remain still, typically in a blind but possibly in a tree stand, within sight of where the rabbit feeds. Normally shotguns are used because of their ease should the rabbit scare, and because of the speed at which a rabbit can disappear into underbrush. Those same reasons make it difficult to use modern sights that come with a compound or elaborate recurve, so learning to shoot with an instinctive style is recommended. It might be a good investment to invest in a second bow to leave the sights uncompromised on a primary weapon. If nothing else it's a good excuse to purchase a traditional longbow or horse bow, although realistically a compound without sights or a stripped down modern recurve bow is going to be a more reliable weapon.
Can You Hunt Rabbits at Night?
The answer to whether or not you can hunt rabbits at night is both yes and no. Rabbits are most active at dusk and dawn, so in theory of course they can be hunted at night. In a survival type of situation, another consideration might not be the most important aspect of the hunt, but it is illegal in some places to hunt after dark. It's always important to understand local laws by state, county, and township if applicable, before beginning a hunt as it isn't worth the penalties, not to mention having to explain the charges to anyone who conducts a background check on you in the future.
Another consideration is how well you can see in low light conditions. As with any form of hunting, it's important to practice under the conditions you intend to hunt in. Whether hunting at night or at dusk or dawn, bow sights aren't going to be visible which is yet another reason to learn instinctive shooting.
When Should You Hunt Rabbits?
Again, it depends on local laws by state as to when rabbit season occurs, or if they can be hunted year round. It's also important to know the difference between regular rabbits, jackrabbits, and hares and how any applicable laws affect the hunt. A common myth states that rabbits killed in the spring or summer will have worms or parasites and be unsafe to eat. Although it is true that rabbits are more likely to be infested at certain times of year, typically it won't matter if the meat is cooked at the proper temperature. There are other types of diseases rabbits can carry, but that's no different from hunting any game. Be aware of their regular behavior and how different diseases such as rabies might affect such behavior, and don't ever eat meat which is of questionable integrity. It's also worth mentioning that although the rule of thumb is not to shoot anything you don't intend to eat, but there are exceptions for nuisance animals. A rabbit can certainly wreak havoc on a garden, whether it's a fun hobby garden or important food supply source.
Do You Need Camouflage Clothing to Hunt Rabbits?
The short answer is that no, you don't need to wear camouflage to hunt a rabbit. However, it will be helpful for a number of reasons other than what you may realize. Other than helping keep your presence unknown to the rabbit, the pockets and gear holders typical of camouflage hunting clothes is useful for keeping a knife, flashlight, a bit of string or rope, and anything else you feel is important while hunting and especially out in the woods if you aren't on your own land.
Bowhunting rabbit can be an interesting and fun pastime for the seasoned or new hunter. It takes talent and skill, but those are provided through training. It's definitely worth giving it a try. Even if you decide you prefer using a gun, you'll become a better hunter for having experienced the specific needs and techniques of hunting with a bow.
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