Fish and Game Report: Beagles vs. Cottontails

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by Don Dubuc

wwltv.com

Posted on February 23, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 23 at 7:43 PM

Most sportsmen agree that the best thing about February is that it’s the shortest month of the year.

Low, dirty water coupled with stiff, shifting winds resulting from the passage of frontal systems, puts a real damper on saltwater fishing for specks reds, drum and flounder.

Freshwater fishing for bass, bream and sacalait hasn’t quite come around and with the duck and deer seasons over, there’s not much left unless you’re a small game hunter.

Quail, snipe, squirrel and probably the most popular of small game species, the rabbit, are in prime time. That’s because, vegetative cover is at its lowest point making flushing bunnies easier for beagles and making them more visible to shotgunners.

Butte Larose, in the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin is home to a variety of species including the two species of rabbit we have in here Louisiana, cottontails and the larger swamp rabbits.

It was in those low swampy areas, dotted with briar patches and palmettos, that our group turned loose seven eager beagles that fought semi-flooded conditions and managed to track a couple dozen rabbits.

The total for the day was 14 rabbits, including the first two ever taken by young Jordan Krause of Baton Rouge.

JC Fresina Jr. and his dad worked the dogs their family has trained for three generations. While they often disagree on rabbit stalking techniques they are in total agreement about their favorite recipe – rabbit and pigtails over spaghetti!

Rabbit season is the longest of our hunting seasons opening at the beginning of October ending at the end of February. The daily bag limit is a generous 8 per hunter.

There are several public areas with good rabbit populations near the metro area that allow rabbit hunting with or without dogs. Those include Pearl River Wildlife Management Area and Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge near Slidell, Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe and Ben’s Creek Wildife Management Area in Bogalusa.

 

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