Which Rabbit Hunting

Method is the best?

When it comes to rabbit hunting for extermination, there is a lot of choice! It can be hard to decide which method is best for you and your needs. This page is a breakdown of all the rabbit hunting methods, split into advantages and disadvantages. I would suggest you read them all, so it might be wise to bookmark this page if you’re not ready for a long read. Let’s start with my favorite:

Ferreting

Ferreting is using polecats or ferrets to flush rabbits out of holes, normally into nets placed around the holes. It can be combined with dogs, long nets or a shotgun.

A pair of polecats

Advantages


• All holes are searched; meaning next to no rabbits can get away

• A very high kill rate for the areas ferreted

• A humane and clean kill is easily achieved

• Meat is unspoiled

• No damage to the land is caused

Disadvantages


• If you want to do ferreting you will need ferrets. Keeping them is a large commitment and I strongly discourage it unless you plan to hunt places other then your own land (or if you own miles of land!). This means you will normally have to find/pay ferreters to do your land for you

• It can be very time consuming, if you have large sets (groups) of holes you will need more people. For example, if you have holes on both sides of a hedgerow you will need at least two people

• Due to the fact that rabbit pups and pregnant mothers will not bolt, ferreting is limited from early autumn to late winter
• This sport is Very physical, demanding and hard to master



A powerful method of rabbit hunting that can really hit your pest population. But sadly not in a way that makes it accessible to anyone. If you speak to other land owners you know about ferreters, they might be able to tip you off on a keen rabbit hunter willing to work for free. It can also be worth asking your local butchers (when you see wild rabbit meat in the window of course) if they have a hunters phone number.



Falconry

Falconry or hawking is the use of birds of prey to hunt. Think very carefully before you go down this route!

A lanner Falcon in mid Flight

Advantages


• Possibly the most environmentally friendly method of hunting ever

• One of the most amazing sights you will ever see. If you hire a falconer, I suggest you watch!

Disadvantages


• Its extremely hard to find falconers, especially those who will do it for free

• Training a bird and rabbit hunting yourself is only suggested for those who want to do it, not for those whose only aim is pest control

• Limited kills. This is not an affective method

Falconry is reserved for those who like the sport rather then control aspects. But if you know a falconer who wants some land to play on, why not?

Long Netting

It might not be a great shock to you; but long netting is using a long net to catch rabbits. Normally used at night, the net is set between feeding bunnies and their holes. The hunter chases the rodents into the net and dispatches once at the net himself.

A set long net for Rabbiting

Advantages


• The only cost is the nets, which wont break your bank

• Can be used for any decently sized land, but works best on larger fields
• Knowing your land makes setting the net simple, as you know where the holes are and where the rabbits feed

• A fast and humane death is almost certain

• Can kill very large amounts of rabbits in a short space of time


Disadvantages


• Not an easy method to begin with. Adjusting to the technique will take a while

• On larger land with more rabbits, more then one person will be needed. Normally split evenly into chasers and killers. I.E two in the field and two on the net

• Fields with livestock may find the animals get in the way

• Working in the dark can be dangerous, its easy to slip into a hole or trip

• Many bunnies will get away due to the nature of this sport. And I hate nothing more then that cottontail bouncing away


A great method if your land is packed with rabbits and hedgerows, not so great if you have a small garden with one or two warrens! I really enjoy long netting and it saddens me that it is a dying art; it’s an amazing way to control the population and rabbit hunting in genral.

Shooting

Pretty much every farmer has a shotgun right? Making shooting rabbit assessable and simple, but it has many downsides of course.

A shooter, waiting for the perfect shot at the a rabbit

Advantages


• Assessable to those with fire arms

• Great fun and can easily be done by anyone with the training

• Is good for plucking off ‘that bunny’ that other extermination efforts have missed

• Can be used with a large mix of methods such as use with ferrets or dogs

Disadvantages


• Owning and using any firearm is a legal minefield

• Safety issues have to be taken into account

• The cost of buying and maintaining a weapon isn’t cheap

• A clean kill is not assured, especially for less experienced marksmen

If you have a gun and want to stalk, lamp or flush, you have rabbit control as the perfect excuse. I wouldn’t rely entirely on shooting the problem away, but it can really aid an extermination drive.

Snaring

One of the lesser used rabbit hunting tricks, snaring is the use of wire based traps to snare the rodent.

A wirelooped snare, perfect for rabbit pest control

Advantages


• The cost of snares is next to nothing, especially if they are homemade

• Possible to achieve very large catches

• Can be used for ANY kind of land, of any size

• Has a low physical demand

Disadvantages


• Setting the snares is fiddly and easy to get wrong. It will take most people a long time to get the method to a good standard

• Snares are often considered cruel, as the victim can strangle themselves or possibly pull off parts of their own fur or skin.

• Snares will often get lost, it’s just a fact. You will lose them and they will get stolen.

.
Using that little wire loop can crush the number of furry fiends on your land dramatically . When it comes to rabbit hunting in genral, I would suggest everyone at least looks into snaring; it’s not for everyone but can be devastating.









Trapping

Considering how fast, effective and cheap trapping is, its massively underused. Trapping comes in the forms of cages, boxes and pits.

A wild rabbit trapped in a cage trap

Advantages


• Cheap, cheap and cheap. You can find more costly ones on the market, but they simply aren’t needed. Its also possible to DIY your trap, even cheaper!

• The most simple, assessable way to control your rabbit infestation

• The traps can be used over and over with few problems

• Great for small areas, like gardens.

Disadvantages


• Most traps will only trap one rabbit at a time, meaning you have to check your traps a lot, not forgetting baiting them

• The traps get stolen a lot, so unless you have a place to hide the trap think about who is around your land

• Not for large scale extermination, although it can be a good aid to it

• Limited success during the summer months where food is plentiful

Simple and easy, cheap and cheerful. A great tool for small plots of land or just someone who fancies eaten a nice game stew once in a while.

Dogs

Dogs are great rabbit hunting aids that can really boost your chances of a successfully trip. Whether you are using dogs as receivers, gundogs or trackers, the positives and negatives are about the same.

A  Beagle on a trail

Advantages


• Increased odds of a good catch

• Abilities that humans don’t have, making dogs priceless for flushing or scent trailing

• A much more enjoyable trip is possible with a dog

Disadvantages


• Training a dog of any kind is very taxing

• The cost of a dogs food and vet bills quickly add up

• An extra animal to look after can always cause problems

Conclusion

Although there are many different methods of rabbit hunting, it is important to choose which is best suited to your demands and requirements. If you are interested in any particular method descried here, you can find more information by clicking on the nav-bar on the top left hand side of any page on this site. Or you can return to the home page for more detailed listings.

If you want to know about the Pests act 1954 legislation, click here.


Return from " Rabbit Hunting Methods" to "hunting Overview"

Or

Return to "Rabbit control"



Return to "The Home Page"