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

October 18, 2012

DNR Small Game Project ranks top counties for rabbit

Survey results for the 2011-12 Rabbit Hunter Survey shows the top five counties, in terms of rabbits jumped per hour (based on a minimum of 25 hunts), were: Lee (2.01), Greenwood (1.72), followed by Hampton (1.42), Chester (1.40) and Abbeville (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 slight increase in the number of rabbits jumped per hour when compared with the previous year. The number of rabbits jumped per hour increased from 1.43 in 2010-11 to 1.49 in 2011-12. Rabbits harvested per hour also increased from 0.77 to 0.92.

The number of counties reporting rabbit hunting activity decreased for the first time in 6 years year 42 to 27 this past season. In 2011-12 Abbeville, Hampton and McCormick counties were first, second and third, respectively, in hunter effort (hours hunted), followed by Lee and Clarendon counties. In terms of rabbits jumped per hour (minimum of 25 hunts), Lee, Greenwood, Hampton, Chester and Abbeville were the top five counties.

Cooperators reported dry weather and above average temperatures as having a negative influence on hunting and dog performance this past year. 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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