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Rabbit hunting opener coming soon

With a slight chill in the morning air and trees revealing their first glimpses of autumn glory, now is the perfect time to kick off the fall hunting seasons. Just in time, rabbit season opens Oct. 1 across Oklahoma.

“Rabbit hunting is really a lot of fun, especially if your are chasing them with some good dogs,” said Tom Wyatt, avid rabbit hunter and biologist at Hickory Creek and Love Valley Wildlife Management Area for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “It’s great exercise and it is hard to beat a hot bowl of rabbit stew.”

The cottontail rabbit is supremely adaptable to a wide variety of habitats. Good populations can be found across the state, including many public-hunting areas. One of the best places to look for rabbits is anywhere two types of cover meet such as abandoned homesteads, tangled thickets and fencerows. Rabbits also show a preference to areas not far from a water source whether it is a pond, creek or spring.

“Rabbit hunting is a great activity to include kids in. You don’t have to be still and quiet and there is usually a good opportunity to harvest a rabbit,” Wyatt said. “It looks like it was a good summer for the rabbits and there should be a good population this fall and winter.”

One of the best aspects about rabbit hunting is the availability of hunting locations. Many wildlife management areas scattered around the state offer first-rate rabbit hunting with minimal competition. Additionally, many landowners are willing to give permission to rabbit hunters.

With the season running through March 15, 2004, there is plenty of opportunity to head afield for a few rabbits and don’t forget to take a kid along with you when you go.

Pick up a copy of the “2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" for complete rabbit hunting regulations.

SEASON DATES:

October 1 - March 15 for all three species * - jackrabbit hunting open only west of I-35.

BAG LIMIT:

Cottontail - 10 daily, 20 in possession

Swamp Rabbits - 3 daily, 6 in possession

Jackrabbits - 3 daily, 6 in possession (Except Cimarron, Texas and Beaver counties-10 daily, 20 in possession)

*Seasons on public lands may vary from statewide dates. Consult the "2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" for complete rabbit hunting regulations.

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