Hunters might despair a little around this time of year. The deer seasons are over, fall turkey too, squirrel, pheasant and more. Is there anything yet to hunt before next fall?
As someone said, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings" and she hasn't sung just yet. Rabbit season runs until Feb. 28, and sometimes the last weeks of the season can be surprisingly productive, this year more than most.
Cottontails are comfort lovers, and they don't like being really cold. If the night is bitter, as so many nights have been recently, with chill factors below zero, they'll hurry out, feed on bark and twigs and any greenery they can find, then go home to a warm woodchuck hole, under a big brushpile, or maybe beneath farm buildings where temperatures are higher. And hunters can't reach them. But when a night comes along with reasonable temperatures, they'll often stay away from the confines of a chuck hole, and spend the day in cattails, curled over grass, and similar places where they can stay warm and still find fresh air. A night like that means you should be out hunting next day.
I've mentioned more than once in this column the fun of snow hunting, and this sport is productive for rabbits anytime. When a few inches of fresh snow fall, every rabbit that's out feeding at night will leave tracks, which means less energy spent and more game in the pocket. Find a patch of thick cattails around a pond or swamp with plenty of tracks in just one section and you'd best have a finger on the safety. Find a brushpile with no tracks and you'll waste no time there, but one with prints moving in and out means you should do some jumping on that pile.