The European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) arrived with the First Fleet but was released for hunting purpose in the 1800ís by the Acclimatization Society. Then they spread. Bred and spread as only a rabbit can. Now the rabbit is one of the easiest game species to find in Australia.
Myxomatosis and Calisivirus were introduced to put the hand brake on the rampant Australia wide bunny population explosions. Myxomatosis was always present when I started my bowhunting on bunnys as a kid. But its effectiveness eventually faded. Prior to Calisivirus being introduced it was a great time to be hunting rabbits. They literally were everywhere. When Calisivirus was introduced, almost overnight it flattened the bunny populations I hunted. Thereís good numbers of rabbits around now though. The rabbit still gets knocked around by Myxo and Calisi but nature always seems to find a wayÖ Look for rabbits on farm land thatís cropped. Range land holds its fair share of rabbits, but youíll get more bunny action on local farmland than you ever would driving hours to hunt a pastoral station. Youíll find plenty of bunny action around the farm sheds and the old farm machinery junk piles. The land owner will be happy to show you all the other places they see them too. Later youíll discover warrens tucked away all by yourself and then youíll have got yourself a half decent rabbit spot.
Spot and stalk your rabbits. Use them to hone your hunting craft for bigger game. If rabbits have any sort of hunting pressure they will give a good account of themselves. Dusk and dawn are the best times to hunt rabbits. Use lighted nocks if you hunt bunnies at dusk. Work out a circuit that lets you visit each rabbit hot spot a couple of times before the day is over. Move slowly through your rabbit hot spots. Donít be quick to break cover and work on approach tactics that donít blow a whole area if you get busted by a rabbit you donít see. The rabbits will teach you the rest. They have some cool habits that will defeat you but eventually youíll learn their tricks and use them against them.
Use the same hunting gear youíll use for bigger game, but with one exception ñ you must use bunny busters. When you do a perfect stalk and shot with a broadhead that is shaving sharp – I promise the only animal around that doesnít know itís already dead will be your rabbit. With broadheads, nine out ten times, your rabbit will drag your arrow down its hole and both will be out of reach and gone for good. This is partly because rabbits are tougher than they look and need to be íshut downí with a blunt. Partly because we mostly shoot ëdowní on top of rabbits, the arrow digs in the ground behind your bunny and hangs up in him as he flips around to make his escape. Bludgeons are excellent, so are Zwickys, Muzzys and Bateman Adders. G5 SGHís are arguably the best of the lot and work well on feral cats if you shoot a high energy bow too. Whatever bunny buster you choose, your opportunity to conversion rate will improve out of sightÖ and you wonít be losing so many arrows either!