Why We Shoot Only Male Rabbits? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Why We Shoot Only Male Rabbits?

I've noticed this for a long time, that the vast majority of the rabbits we shoot are males. On the last 3 trips we have shot 14 rabbits -every one of them has been a male. I'm sure this is great for maintaining the rabbit population. I'm assuming the females must be holed up during the day and more nocturnal. Did a google search and found nothing. Have others noticed that they shoot mostly males?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 11:58 AM
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Last eight we killed were males, we killed most of the ones the dogs ran, that did not hole up. Maybe the ones that holed up were females. I did jump one rabbit while walking that I put the dogs on that they were unable to run, have had this happen before, and thought that some females may at certain times, not put off enough scent, for the dogs to be able to run. Kind of like when you shoot and miss and the dogs get to where you shoot and seem to lose the scent. I use to believe this was from the gun shot, but I tried shooting with a 17 rifle and even at 75 yards sometimes a missed rabbit, seems to lose scent. Also bow hunters report the same scent loss after a miss. I find that its the late season, especially February when we kill mostly males. Hope its not just because the owls kill more females. Too bad we can not tell them apart before shooting, as I would shoot very few females.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 01:20 PM
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Yeah most of the rabbits we kill are males as well. I remember hearing that the study that led to the Game commission extending the season into February cited the fact that most rabbits killed in the late season are males, thus minimal population impact in the spring. I have also read that females and young rabbits give off much less scent, especially during mating season, as a defense mechanism; if I can find the reference I'll post it.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Some good points. I have noticed there are rabbits that the dogs just don't scent well. Maybe those are females.
I do know in late season you will get an occasional rabbit that takes off for about a 1/4 mile then starts circling there and doesn't come back to where you first jumped it. My Dad always told me those were males looking for females outside their home range.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychobeagle12 View Post
Yeah most of the rabbits we kill are males as well. I remember hearing that the study that led to the Game commission extending the season into February cited the fact that most rabbits killed in the late season are males, thus minimal population impact in the spring. I have also read that females and young rabbits give off much less scent, especially during mating season, as a defense mechanism; if I can find the reference I'll post it.
Dale Scheffer was the rabbit biologist for a long time for the PGC. I am sure he could answer that question.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 02:46 PM
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I had the same thing happen the other day when i had my dog out. 1st rabbit he kicked out and ran straight at me and cut up over the hill and he was struggling with the track so i called him over and put him on it and he ran it maybe 50yds and continued to struggle trailing it,which i have seen before also. Then i went about 100yds and he put another one out and brought it around 3 times before he lost it in the same scent area it had been running during its previous circles. I didn t have my gun just running the dog but was also wondering why this happens from time to time,and also after you shoot it does seem like they have a hard time picking it back up,not always but have seen that happen also.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 08:21 PM
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I have noticed the same thing whaler. We kill
Mostly males too. Those females are frustrating for the dogs, but You sure can get some good running out of a buck rabbit this time of the year though
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Well the male only streak is over. We got 5 rabbits this morning and 3 were very large fat females. One of the females was running on the same line with a male. The dogs had been on a chase awhile and coming my way and I saw a rabbit in a thicket and took a shot and thought I got it but then I saw a rabbit moving down the same trail and thought I must have missed. I shot again and when I went to the spot there were 2 dead bunnies. My son shot a female that he thought was being trailed by the dogs but it wasn't. The dogs kept going and we ended up getting that one and it was a male. The last female we got was being trailed pretty well by the dogs. So out of the last 19 rabbits we killed only 3 were females.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whaler View Post
Well the male only streak is over. We got 5 rabbits this morning and 3 were very large fat females. One of the females was running on the same line with a male. The dogs had been on a chase awhile and coming my way and I saw a rabbit in a thicket and took a shot and thought I got it but then I saw a rabbit moving down the same trail and thought I must have missed. I shot again and when I went to the spot there were 2 dead bunnies. My son shot a female that he thought was being trailed by the dogs but it wasn't. The dogs kept going and we ended up getting that one and it was a male. The last female we got was being trailed pretty well by the dogs. So out of the last 19 rabbits we killed only 3 were females.
Surprisingly, the biggest running rabbit we got Saturday was a female. It went out 250 yards and we got it on the way back. I thought for sure it was a male.
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