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It’s probably true for you as it is for many others that rabbit was their first kill. Almost all hunters begin their hobby with such ‘small’ game and squirrels, hares, and birds. But can you hunt rabbits at night in Texas?
On private property in Texas, you can hunt rabbits by any method or means and at any time. There are no closed seasons, possession, or bag limits on these spreads, and you don’t need a hunting license. On public land, rabbit season runs from early November to mid or late February, and you can hunt them at night as small-game. For this, you’ll need a general license, but further restrictions apply if you’re looking to trap them for their fur.
Rabbits are abundant in the US, a small mammal that offers excellent hunting opportunities for any age group. In Texas, you can take them with a small-caliber rifle or airgun and hunting seasons include youth and special firearms. Read on to see if you can hunt rabbits at night in the lone star state and how to go about it.
What Type of Rabbits Can You Hunt at Night in Texas?
You can hunt rabbits any time of day or year in Texas, as there isn’t any specific season. It’s a more engaging pastime than waiting hours on a stand for deer or lying-in wait for hogs. You don’t have to bait-and-wait in this state since you’ll see bunnies everywhere. But a hunting license is still necessary unless you’re hunting on a private spread, where you can take them at night.
The bonus is there’s a meal in the offing after you harvest rabbit and an outstanding one too. A medium-sized bunny makes delicious table fare fit for a small family using numerous recipes. However, hunting rabbits isn’t as popular as it once was, and you’ll rarely come across hunters rounding them up with hounds.
You can hunt rabbits in any part of Texas, but you’ll come across different types of bunnies. For instance, East Texas has its fair offering of white or cottontails, while South Texas is more hare and black-tailed jackrabbit country. Besides cottontails, you can take the brush, swamp, and marsh rabbits that never stray too far away from their preferred inhabitant cover.
They disperse over large tracts of fields, roadsides, streams, and creeks but can also be found in cultivated farms or along fence rows. Cottontails aren’t sociable but travel from cover to cover at night in Texas, feeding in open pastures, lawns, flower beds, and meadows. They’re most active during the night and at twilight, seeking out their favorite mesquite beans and other green vegetation.
Is It Legal to Hunt Rabbits at Night in Texas on Public Land?
In Texas, you can hunt rabbits without worrying about bag limits. You can take as many rabbits as you want and still be on good terms with the law. You can take bunnies at night, but only on private land in this state. Cottontails and swamp rabbits are plenty here, and you lamp them in darkness for straightforward, more involving kills.
The average cottontail adult weighs between two and four pounds, stretching to a length of 14 to 17 inches. Also known as whitetails, they have a reddish-brown to brown coat with a cottony and whitetail. They reproduce year-round with approximately five-year life span with about four to five litters of one to eight babies in a litter.
Hunting rabbits is recommended by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TPWD. That’s because they’re considered pests for undermining farmland margins, fueled by a fast-breeding rate. They burrow into the ground, and their holes pose a potential danger to horses and other livestock. If a hoof gets into a rabbit hole, it results in the break, which to a farmer is disastrous.
Landowners are more than happy to allow rabbit hunting at night in Texas. Their meat, or rabbit as it’s called, makes a gratifying meal, rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s a recommended diet for everyone, especially nursing mothers, pregnant women, sports enthusiasts, the young, and the elderly. You can also hunt rabbits for their fur to make clothing items like hats, coats, and gloves.
How Do You Hunt Rabbits at Night in Texas?
Rabbits are fast, not as quick as hair, but elusive all the same. It’s easier to hunt them at night than during the day as that’s when they rest deep within their burrows. When chasing bunnies in darkness, you must have an idea of how to track these critters. For that, you’ll beat some bushes, where they like to hide or stake out their burrows on dry land.
Vegetables and soft grasses are the rabbit’s preferred fare, and you should look out for areas where crops have been damaged. Check for tracks, droppings, or chews around their warrens, significantly if the entrance to their hole is cleared or grass pushed to the sides. Wear camouflage clothing and maintain silence, which is essential when stalking bunnies as they’re sensitive to noise.
Choose a windy night to go hunting rabbits. That’s because the wind will muffle your activity, such as walking while stalking or brushing with leaves and branches. Put off your phone and soften any jiggling of keys or coins in your pocket; otherwise, you’ll spook the rabbits. Shine your light on a field or a place you’ve spotted a warren and not on fence lines since the bunnies will take off.
Once you’ve spotted a rabbit, it’ll crouch down or run and hide. Avoid turning off your flashlight, but instead, keep the beam stable on the bunny’s face. As you lamp it, continue moving closer until you’re at a reasonable range for your preferred weapon.
What Do I Need When Hunting Rabbits at Night in Texas?
Night stalking and spotting cottontail rabbits at night in Texas requires time and the bunnies, for which there’s plenty of. You can spot large males sitting on mounds or stumps in the lowlands, using the elevation to keep an eye for predators. These are easy to locate, especially when you’re shining a light beam onto a field.
You can also spot rabbits near their favorite food plots, particularly those planted for deer. Green oat, wheat, or rye shoots will always attract a few bunnies at night, and so is turnip and young rape sprouts. Use any number of weapons when shooting bunnies. That includes small caliber rifles, air guns, or archery.
If you are a spot and stalk hunter, a 17MHR or .22 rifle works excellent since you don’t have to get too close. You’ll also hit a running rabbit easier, and you don’t risk running the meat with shotgun pellets. You can also bring along a small-caliber handgun for when the bunny springs out of cover under your nose.
Also read: Where to Shoot a Rabbit with a 22
Unlike in many states, the answer is affirmative when asked if you can hunt rabbits at night in Texas. You can have harvest success with a powerful spotlight or night vision optics to spot bunnies. These crepuscular animals are active at nighttime, dusk, and dawn.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.