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Hunting Those Rascally Jack Rabbits


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#1 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:44 AM

Well, this is the second weekend in a row that I got out for about half a day to hunt Jack Rabbits with my .22 Marauder. All I have to say about hunting Jack Rabbits in the mountainous area of California is "It's not that easy". Not that the hike or walking around is difficult. It is finding where they are hiding that is difficult.

The guys on YouTube that are hunting in the flat desert areas where there is a great deal less vegetation for the Jack Rabbits to hide in or under have it easy compared to those of us who hunt them in the more overgrown hilly and mountain areas of Southern California. I've found it a great challenge to spot Jack Rabbits with all of the plants and bushes that exist out where I was hunting. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast and it was really fun too. I am not giving up anytime soon.

Now to the story:

I actually got out to my spot about half an hour before sunrise (left home at 3:35am and got to my spot at around 5am). I walked to my stand/hunting location and sat there waiting for the light to make it "legal shooting time". It was odd that last weekend when I went there were animals all over the place in the morning, especially tons of Cottontails. However, this time was much different. It was as if the animals were on vacation. I only saw two Cottontails the entire time, where the time before I must have seen a dozen or more. I did come across a covey of quail and saw a couple of deer too while I was out stalking/walking around.

The first Jack I saw was when I decided to drive further back towards the main road where I was hunting. When I rounded a corner I see a huge Jack Rabbit look up and bolt off before I could even stop. It had to be the biggest one I've seen to date. I was about as big as my Beagle. I figured that one was a loss since it never looked back as it took off doing mach 1.

So I drove about another 100 yards and found a place I could pull off the road. I hiked up a trail for about half an hour and hear something to my right. A large jack had been spooked from his rest and hopped about 40 yards away and turned to look. I should have been getting ready for the shot when it was hopping, but I didn't and when I finally got ready for the shot it took off again. Rats! "Not again!", I thought to myself. I've got to get better at reacting, taking aim and taking the shot.

Finally I was getting a bit hot and tired, so I decided to head back on the same trail to go to my truck when I spotted a Jack Rabbit with my binoculars resting in the shade under a large bush. It ranged at 69 yards. I got myself set up as best I could and steadied the M-Rod on a pair of shooting sticks. I double checked everything and slowed my breathing, took aim and fired. Missed! The Jack stood up and before I could reload it hopped off. "Ugghhh", I thought to myself, "Yet another one that got away!"After that miss I set up a small target at 50 yards and found that while at 18 yards I was dead on, at 50 yards I was about 1/2" to 3/4" high. That meant that my shot went clean over the jacks head (since I was aiming for the fuse box) at 70 yards.

When I got home I readjusted my scope so that I wouldn't be high the next time. As difficult as those Jacks are to find and hunt down, I can't afford to be missing the shots that should be the easy ones.Well, I look forward to the next time. Hopefully the 3rd time out will be the charm and I'm hoping to come back with a couple the next time I go out. :)

#2 True2ThySelf

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:01 PM

Sounds you like a good time. I won't be able to head out for another three weeks due to commitments :two-cents:

#3 crazyhorse

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:02 AM

Gets easier once some tricks are learned. I learned hunting jackrabbits in New Mexico with a bow back in the 50's......and same technique applies today using air rifles.

#4 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

Yeah, I'm learning some of the Jack Rabbits habits and I think I'll defintely bag one the next time I go out Jack Rabbit hunting. Thanks for all the tips! :)

#5 BCF

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

I only tried, briefly, hunting jacks once with my air rifle. Too easy with the shotgun or 22. I didn't get any. Really tough, but I definitely will try again. Much harder than squirrels.

#6 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:39 PM

Oh yeah it is. Way harder than hunting squirrels indeed. ;)

#7 rws fan

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:02 PM

I went to my buddies property in the high desert this past weekend and saw soooo many jack rabbits, cotton-tails, ground squirrels (shot 5), quail and rattlesnakes. I was going to go after the jack-rabbits but everything was overgrown and I was nervous about venturing in the brush because I kept hearing rattlesnakes !

This is going to be a great year for small game because of all the extra cover and a healthy rattlesnake population because of all the rodents !

So be careful,

Henry

#8 True2ThySelf

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:16 PM

So it would be a good idea to load the .22 pistol with the CCI rat shot? Does anyone do anything with rattlesnakes when they kill them?

#9 rws fan

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:20 PM

i just stay away from them lol as far as possible...i don't like to kill them but if they are stubborn/aggressive and blocking my path that's a different story...

Henry

#10 modoc squeek shooter

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:58 AM

I got bit by a rattlesnake about 5 years ago. Lol worst week I ever spent in my life. I didn't use to kill them unless I had too. Now I kill every rattlesnake twice lol. I use to hunt jacks with a recurve bow when I was a kid. Mostly jump shoot them. Found out a lot of them would stop and sit up if we whistled loud. Damn I should have kept using that bow, it was a lot of fun as I rememeber. Ed

#11 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:31 AM

Sorry to hear you got bit in the past Ed. I've not be bit.... yet, and I hope to never be bit. If I see one I'll definitely shoot it, cut off the head 4" behind the back of the head, burry it 6" in the ground, gut it and throw it in my backpack for dinner. :)

I have a healthy respect for all snakes (even the big non-poisonous kind) and would rather not mess with them if they don't mess with me, but if I see them, they are a goner! :sport037fn4: I plan on ordering a pair of high snake boots for hunting this summer. I'd rather be safe than sorry in the end. I've got enough things to worry about without having to think about what would happen if I every got bit by one of those critters. ;)

#12 Bisley

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:05 PM

So it would be a good idea to load the .22 pistol with the CCI rat shot? Does anyone do anything with rattlesnakes when they kill them?


Thought I posted this last night, but either I accidentally erased it or it didn't go through? Forget about the bird shot in the .22. Almost every snake you will see is on dirt, and a standard .22 has always worked better for me. Shoot it at a slight angle (obviously) and whatever you do DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS NEAR EVEN A DEAD RATTLER'S HEAD!!! Shoot the head off, have someone hold it down firmly with a long stick while you cut it off, anything except put your hands down there, they can still strike.

As for what to do with it, many I know have eaten it. They say it's not bad, no sirloin steak, but not bad. It has never worked out for me to try it, so I can't tell you personally. Your memory also must be slipping since you saw first hand what else you can do with them. Look at the hat, not the :751: birds.
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#13 modoc squeek shooter

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:02 PM

The sucker bit me on the shin bone, I got lucky there lol. Only 1 fang got me. I was way back in the country, was leading a colt down a ridge looking for cows. Four miles from the pickup and trailer then another 40 miles to the ER lol. MY tongue and fingers were num before I got off that ridge. Walked into the ER, told them I was snake bit, they asked how long, I said about 2 hrs. They put me on a guerny and measured my leg for 6 hrs. and charged me 1400 bucks lol. ED

Think the snakes kinda hijacked this thread lol. To get back to the topic, becareful hunting rabbits lol. ED

#14 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:17 AM

Nice hat band Bisley. That's a great use for Rattlesnake skins. :)

I've been needing to get a good pair of hunting boots anyway since I've just been using a five year old pair of cheap hiking boots. The hiking boots are still mostly in one piece :signlol2iu: , but are starting to come apart at one of the seams so now is as good of a time as any for me to upgrade. Today I ordered a pretty decent pair of hunting boots that will protect me from any snakes that may happen to strike 15" and below at my legs. I'm hoping they will last at least as long or longer than my cheap hiking boots since I do try to take good care of my equipment. I'm not rich enough to buy new stuff all the time :doh[1]: . Now I won't feel as nervous about walking around, though I'll still be keeping a look out for that camoflauged slithery bugger and his buddies. :sport037fn4:

I plan on heading out for some Jacks early Saturday morning (won't have the boots by then, but I'll just be careful). I'm hoping to come back with something this time. ;)

#15 TonyS

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:41 PM

I bought gaiters this year and am using them!

#16 ShooterJohn

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 03:50 PM

Don't gator's bite? Attached File  images.jpg   1.05KB   0 downloads

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treasure every moment you have.


#17 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 04:02 PM

Dem dare gaters bite just 'bout everyting down in da bayou... :crazy:

#18 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 10:49 AM

Saturday morning I went out to hunt them rascally jacks again. All I can say is I was totally frustrated. Not because I never got a shot off because I shot plenty. The problem was I never hit what I was aiming at. I thought I had rezeroed the scope properly and did. I appears something is wrong with the barrel. So this morning (Sunday) I took apart the .22 Marauder and thoroughly cleaned the barrel and retightened everything down very snug. I also re-aligned the barrel band and put silicone oil on the O-Ring in the breech of the barrel to make a good seal when the bolt is closed.

Monday I'll rezero it in at 17 yards after I run about 10 to 15 pellets through it ahead of time and I'm hoping that this solves the issues. I was so aggrevated on Saturday. I had three good shots at three different jacks. One even gave me four opportunities at it (four shots) and I still never hit it. I was so angry! :angry: I saw 11 jack rabbits while I was out and couldn't bring one down. I really, really hope it shoots better now that I've clean and realigned everything. I can't afford to be missing the easy shots when they are presented.

Edit: **Update**

Rezeroed in the scope today at 17 yards and every single shot went within a 1/2" bullseye. I'm really hoping that this means that the problem is fixed. I guess I'll find out when I go to try my best to get one in a couple of weeks from now.

#19 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:20 PM

Oh, I forgot to mention that first thing when I went out Saturday morning there wasn't any wind and it was super still. I saw a quick flash as I head up the mouth of the trail I was on. Next thing I know I see a coyote. Then another coyote. The second coyote was no more than 20 to 30 yards from me and didn't even see me. If I'd had my .25 EunJin Sumatra I might have had a chance to take it down with a clean head shot, but I wasn't even going to try with the .22 Marauder. No way, no how.

I also saw plenty of quail, ground squirrels and cottontails. I took out (6) of the regular California ground squirrels and took a photo of the two I could recover, but I'll have to post that once I download the photos from my phone. I also saw a ton of those little Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels running around everywhere. Of course I never took any shots at those little guys being that they are protected. One thing I would say about those little buggers though is they sure are fast. They run way faster than a typical ground squirrel. I'd say about 3 times as fast. Cute litte critters too.

Anyway, once I get the photos downloaded I'll post them here.

#20 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 02:15 PM

Ok, here are a few pictures that I took when I was out on Saturday:

Rock formation that I was shooting Ground Squirrels off of:
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These were the only two ground squirrels out of six I shot that I could recover:
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This was a cactus flower that I took a photo of for my daughter because I thought she would like it (it is pink... of course :) ):
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I'm not sure how I was able to hit the squirrels which were much smaller when I couldn't hit a jack rabbit all day! You'll notice though that the wounds are in the middle of the body instead of the head (which is what I was aiming at). Both had given me side profiles and they were crawling across the rocks. One was at 30 yards and the other at 39 yards. It appears the gun was shooting to the right. I'm hoping with the cleaning I gave the barrel on Sunday that I won't have accuracy issues anymore (at least for a while anyway).

I can't wait to get back out and see if I can get a few this next time.

#21 Bisley

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 05:18 PM

Best of luck this weekend. I am hoping to take two young ones and let them see if they can do a little "population control" on them this weekend in Inyo myself. That is if I can stay awake and still move. Going from not working to almost 60 hours a week is rough on an old body :504: . But it still beats the alternative!

Take pics, lots of pics if you go out ARH :D

#22 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 06:14 PM

I wish I could go out this weekend, but I've already got plans otherwise.

I'm hoping to get out the following weekend (first weekend in June) early in the morning again and put a few in the cooler this time ;) . I found a good spot to sit and watch for the Jacks as they come through. Kind of like a Jack Rabbit "Highway" that goes through one spot of the area I was in.

I'm also, slowly but surely, figuring out some of the Jack Rabbit's habits. One things for sure, when they spot me, even if it is from 100 yards away when it is cooler in the morning or afternoon, they take off and don't look back. If it is in the heat of the day they seem to hold a bit longer and I've spotted a few keeping cool under some brush. I'm going to take a tiny mouth whistle this next time so that when I see them take off I can whistle to see if they will stop and give me a quick shot. I never could whistle very loud, so I'm having to take a whistling device with me.

Well, if you do go out with the young ones this weekend Bisley, I hope you and the youngins are successful. :good: Glad to hear you are working and I full understand the long days and how it affects us "older dude's" bodies (well, semi-older anyway). I must have hiked about 3 or 4 miles on Saturday and with the heat my feet felt like they were in frying pans. Found out I had gotten a blister on a toe about half way through the day and that was why my foot was burning so much. :doh[1]:

#23 Bisley

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 07:26 PM

Thanks, one way or another we are going somewhere.
My feet are having sympathy for you. Ouch! I hate blisters. I think the worst part is that you are already out (from the vehicle) when it happens, which means the only way to get back is to walk some more :504:


If it is in the heat of the day they seem to hold a bit longer and I've spotted a few keeping cool under some brush.


It is funny you say this, that is how we used to take a majority of our rabbits was mostly by looking under the brush. This is an old pic from 2005, a great year for rabbits. I actually got to the point I would see this from a moving vehicle off in the brush all the time. Of curse I was out two to three times each month hunting thought. Amazing what you can do with enough practice, just like hitting them on the run with rifles and pistols.
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#24 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:36 AM

Wow! That's some good spotting! :good:

I have a hard time spotting them because I wear glasses now. I can hunt without them, but it makes spotting stuff hard because I'm slightly near sighted... which means things farther away get blury :wacko: . Even with the glasses everything is not perfectly clear because I need to go in again for a eye exam and get a new pair of glasses. The ones I currently wear are what they call "Progressive" which means there are three magnifications but no lines in the lens. I really don't like them, but I've started to get used to positioning my eyes to see through the different magnifications when needed.

It is a real bummer because I had awesome eyesight up until I was about 37. Then the old eyes started going bad, probably from working in front of a computer screen all day. One of these days I'll get better at spotting them before they spot me. I think I need a better pair of Binos too. I dropped them and the prisms got jacked up. I disassembled them and realigned the prism pretty close, but even before then something got on the lens and so the sight picture is not really as clear as it should be. Ahh, I just need to get a decent pair of binos that are powerful, clear and don't cost me a ton of cash.

Good hunting. :D

#25 Bisley

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:13 PM

Don't feel bad, my magic number was 38 (last year) when the DMV said I neede them after seeing the international restroom sign, a yeild to thru traffic sign, and the Chinese symbol for a Samurai warrior on the letter test chart :crazy: :rofl2: . I now am so, so happy they made me get them! Between being able to see, the photogrey (self darkening), and anti-glare, I could not imagine hunting without them ever again.

I know what you mean about the transitional, my dad has had them for years. He had the same gripes, but must have eventually got used to them since he no longer complains. And believe me, he would complain if they still bothered him :rolleyes: . Hope you get some you can see out of and get used to them, it should surely help.

Like I said also, seeing that was easy when I hunted almost every weekend, usually both days, for over three months straight. Practice, practice, practice, it is definitely true. But three short weeks of not going out and it was lost rather quickly :504: . But you are definitely on to something by looking under the shaded bushes :good:




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