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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

Oct. 21, 2011

DNR Small Game Project ranks top counties for rabbit

Survey results for the 2010-11 Rabbit Hunter Survey shows the top five counties, in terms of rabbits jumped per hour (based on a minimum of 25 hunts), were: Saluda (2.63), Lee (2.07), followed by Chester (1.74), Edgefield (1.59) and Anderson (1.38), according to biologist Billy Dukes, Small Game Project supervisor with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Through intensive field observations, South Carolina rabbit hunters maintained detailed records of their hunting excursions throughout the year and provided the data to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Small Game Project for analysis. Hunting data compiled included the number of rabbits jumped, the dates and counties where hunts occurred, and the amount of time expended in pursuit of these species.

If you are aware of someone who hunts rabbits but does not participate in this survey, please encourage them to do so. Potential cooperators should contact the DNR Small Game Project at (803) 734-3609 or castinep@dnr.sc.gov.

Statewide survey results indicate a significant increase in the number of rabbits jumped per hour when compared with the previous year. The number of rabbits jumped per hour increased significantly from 1.20 in 2009-10 to 1.43 in 2010-11. Rabbits harvested per hour also increased from 0.70 to 0.77.

The number of counties reporting rabbit hunting activity increased for the fifth year from 40 to 42 this past season. In 2010-11 Abbeville, Hampton and Chester counties were first, second and third, respectively, in hunter effort (hours hunted), followed by Lee and Anderson counties. In terms of rabbits jumped per hour (minimum of 25 hunts), Saluda, Lee, Chester, Edgefield and Anderson were the top five counties.

Cooperators reported cold, wet days, including freezing temperatures and snow as having a negative influence on hunting this past year. Four cooperators expressed concern over a perceived increase in predators, especially coyotes. Several cooperators indicated that rabbit populations seemed to be up in areas that they hunted when compared to past years, while a few cooperators indicated that populations were down. Lack of quality rabbit habitat on public lands and restricted access on private lands leased by deer hunting clubs remain as concerns among cooperators in the survey.


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