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Discussion Starter #1
Ok guys, so I am new around here and I should start by saying that rabbit hunting is my absolute FAVORITE game of the woods. I love hunting all small game, but there is something about the sound of a couple dogs running a bunny that just makes me itch. So with the season approaching I am faced with the same issue that has plagued me for the last several years. I live in western PA, about 1 1/2 hours east of Pittsburg, and I cannot seem to find rabbits very much around here. Rabbits have been on the decline in my area for some time, and while I have been finding them around this year a little more, it is still not enough to make me feel like I am having good days for rabbits. One rabbit up in five hours of hunting is straight depressing. So, does anyone have any suggestions on areas nearby that I might take my dogs this year? I live in Johnstown, PA (close to Altoona and Bedford if that is helpful). Hope to hear some encouraging words from someone. Thanks guys!
 

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Find a game land find a food plot. No one is going to give you a lot of help on this. I started hunting on rabbits and have always like to hunt behind a dog. Just love listening and watching them work. Good luck.
 

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The problem isn't having nowhere to go. I wish it were so because I would just go somewhere else. It is that it seems that right around this time of year the rabbits mysteriously disappear from the local woods
I know of some Game commission food plots in the area maybe I will try those. Thanks!
 

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Yeah, I've never figured out the disappearing rabbit thing. See the all summer then poof they are gone. Magician's taking them all?
 

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Don't hunt where there is alot of yote and other predator sign. A group of yotes, and hawks, can thin em out. Find out where guys are trapping or have trapped, sometime the predator population is thinner.

Hunt the thick nasty and let the dog;s run em out. They are there. I have found that hunting the morning after a nice long rain, usually has them rabbits out of the holes. You can push one are one week and not get one rabbit going. Go through the same area after a nice long rain, and there is rabbit under every bush.

Personally, game lands are deserts, and i won;t hunt them until 2nd season with snow on the ground, and i only hunt them if we can;t get out anywhere else. Sometimes the smallest pieces of property hold a ton of rabbit. An acre or two, or even less, can hold alot of rabbits and these places are typically the ones that you think of not even hunting because they look so small.

If i still lived back in Johnstown i could help you out better, but the last time i was back there, all our places had been built up or bought by others that owned stock in posted signs.
 

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Around this time of the year the vegetation starts to thin out a little, that coupled with the migration of hawks through our area adding to already high numbers of hawks and owls and like you said its easy to notice the impact of predators. Years ago when hawks and owls were controlled you didn't notice the sudden loss in the beginning of fall, so many rabbits you could find some in the open hard woods under fallen branches with leaves on.
 

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Look for areas of heavy cover. Pine tree farms around here produce good because the rabbits can move and stay under cover other than when they cross the road at Mach 5. Good quality cover reduces predator impact. I think there needs to be a Rabbits Forever or something where you guys can get together and make brush piles, edge cuttings and other things to increase the number of rabbits on areas you hunt. I have seen this done and it works. Look online for instructions on brush pile construction. There is a right and wrong way to build them.
 
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