Pest Control - Rabbits

Written by Joe Meaney, TheGunstore.ie.

With the longer day and warmer weather all around the country, you can see rabbits feeding out in the fields. Rabbits can do serious damage to grass and crops, so it is essential to cull some rabbits in the spring time. Shooting rabbits with a rifle is generally found to be the best and most efficient way to control numbers.

The (Standard) .22LR and .22 Magnum are very popular bullets. The Standard .22 is very silent and it is possible to shoot several rabbits that are close to each other. The .22 Magnum has greater range, but is loud. With the aid of a silencer (moderator) it is also possible to shoot several rabbits.

A personal favourite is the .17HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire). The .17HMR has a velocity of 2550 feet per second and I have taken rabbits out to 190 yards in good conditions.

The disadvantage to the very small .17 bullet is that it is badly affected by wind. A 3 mile per hour wind can move the bullet impact 1” at 100 yards and you will not notice a 3 mile per hour wind. But I still favour the .17HMR over the Rimfire rifles. With the aid of a silencer (moderator) on several occasions, I have shot 3 or 4 rabbits within 40 yards of each other.

Shooting rabbits with a shotgun is not as easy. The range is maximum 50 yards and with the shotgun being so loud, you will usually only get one shot in each field.

Shooting rabbits with a shotgun using springer spaniels is more effective. The springers bolt the rabbits from cover and you need to be on the ball to shoot running rabbits. This is also great work for your working dogs. Rabbits can be hunted all year and farmers greatly appreciate your assistance in controlling them.