Rabbit hunting is a great way to introduce kids to hunting, and there is plenty of action and excitement to keep their attention. During the winter in Wyoming, snow gives hunters a way to track rabbits. With every new dusting on the ground, you can often follow tracks to the brush pile where the rabbit is hiding. The hunting season runs Sept. 1 to March 31.
Cottontail rabbits are found almost anywhere in Wyoming. Rabbits use a wide variety of habitats, from lower elevation deserts to higher elevation forests. They spend time in shrubby areas and grasslands. You can also find them in shrubby parts of deciduous and conifer woodlands.
For many youth, rabbit hunting is great training for future deer and elk hunts to learn how to spot game, how to stalk as well as the importance of a steady ethical shot and hunting practices. The tried-and-true .22 caliber single shot rifle or a .410 shotgun are good firearms to start off a young hunter. Kids under the age of 14 need a hunter safety certificate but do not need a small game license; those 14 and older need a daily or annual small game license, conservation stamp and hunter safety certificate. Regulations are available online.
Rabbit is a great table-fare, with the most meat found on the front shoulders, hind legs and along the spine. it is required to take the edible portions. Know that rabbits can carry a disease called tularemia, but it is not as likely in cold months when ticks and biting flies are less numerous and active. Hunters field dressing rabbits should wear latex or nitrile gloves and inspect the rabbit to make sure it’s healthy. After handling or field dressing harvested game, always wash your hands thoroughly.
Grant Frost and Cody Schoonover,
Senior wildlife biologist and Cheyenne senior game warden