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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Forum!

Long time listener, first time poster. I've been on an upland game kick ever since I got my new shotgun, so I've even hitting rabbits really hard (or trying to, at least...).

I've been hunting mostly around Rush Valley, and South all the way to Vernon, but I've only seen a handful of jacks in the multiple weekends I've been out. Mostly sticking to the flatlands and the smaller rolling hills. Am I in the right area and just not seeing them? I noticed a bunch of tracks and fresh pee/poo in the snow earlier in the year, but now I'm seeing nothing. Where do these rascally rabbits go this time of year? Further down into valley bottoms like deer? Or are do they just vanish? Lol.

Maybe going to hit up a spot I believe has some snowshoe hares this weekend too, if anyone has any tips on those that would be helpful as well.

Any tips/help would be appreciated. I don't expect anyone to drop me their onX pins or anything, but if I could be pointed in a better direction that would be great!
 

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A lot of people still parrot that nonsense about jackrabbits being on the downswing of the 7 year boom/bust cycle. In my opinion that's not the case. I'm not saying rabbits don't have boom/bust cycles, but I believe that overall jackrabbit populations have been on a downward trend for years now and seem to be going the way of the dodo bird. 7 years ago people said we were in the bust phase of the cycle. People say we are currently in the bust phase of the 7 year cycle. In 7 years they will be saying we are currently in the bust phase of the cycle. The jacks just aren't there anymore.
 

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I somewhat agree with colorcountrygunner ... the 7 or 11 year cycle is crap. But there are boom years, but I've found they are somewhat unpredictable. Last boom I saw was 6 years ago, but it was limited to a pretty specific area. Oddly there were lots of tarantulas running around that year too.

-DallanC
 

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Ive seen more rabbits this year than ever when out in the marsh. cant remember seeing this many ever but rarely give them much notice. dont know if this helps but thats all i know about bunnies. I do know i would like to go chase some snoeshoes sometime.
Marsh jackrabbits? I guess that's why I never see them. I need to be in the marsh instead of the sage brush 😜. That's interesting. Maybe OP needs to grab some steel shot and go hit the marsh. The last time I saw good jackrabbit numbers was in the late 2000s down by Cedar City. I would see loads of them down off Vandenberg Road and Highway 56. I could go out at night for a solo run and didn't even need a buddy to hold a spotlight for me. I'd just train my headlights at them, bail out of the pickup and blast away. One night I kept count and I think my Henry .22 piled up 16 or 17. A work buddy of mine got into them real thick in middle of nowhere Nevada a few years ago. I think Critter mentioned finding good numbers of them somewhere in the Book Cliffs awhile back. I think you can still find little hot spots here and there, but they are needle in a haystack and probably off in more remote areas for the most part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Marsh jackrabbits? I guess that's why I never see them. I need to be in the marsh instead of the sage brush 😜. That's interesting. Maybe OP needs to grab some steel shot and go hit the marsh. The last time I saw good jackrabbit numbers was in the late 2000s down by Cedar City. I would see loads of them down off Vandenberg Road and Highway 56. I could go out at night for a solo run and didn't even need a buddy to hold a spotlight for me. I'd just train my headlights at them, bail out of the pickup and blast away. One night I kept count and I think my Henry .22 piled up 16 or 17. A work buddy of mine got into them real thick in middle of nowhere Nevada a few years ago. I think Critter mentioned finding good numbers of them somewhere in the Book Cliffs awhile back. I think you can still find little hot spots here and there, but they are needle in a haystack and probably off in more remote areas for the most part.
Since steel shot is about all I can find for my 20ga anyways, I wouldn't be opposed it it lol.

However, I'm not a duck hunter, so "the marsh" means nothing to me haha. I assume that's some areas around Utah lake/Salt lake?
 

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Marsh jackrabbits? I guess that's why I never see them. I need to be in the marsh instead of the sage brush 😜. That's interesting. Maybe OP needs to grab some steel shot and go hit the marsh. The last time I saw good jackrabbit numbers was in the late 2000s down by Cedar City
Yea im hunting north UT for the most part and run into them quite a bit west desert chukar hunting but can't say theres a ton out there this year but around the Bear River they definitely had a good year.
 

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Since steel shot is about all I can find for my 20ga anyways, I wouldn't be opposed it it lol.

However, I'm not a duck hunter, so "the marsh" means nothing to me haha. I assume that's some areas around Utah lake/Salt lake?
I would assume that's where he means although he could mean somewhere like Clear Lake down by Delta or somewhere else. Maybe cootshoot will be willing to specify.
 

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I would assume that's where he means although he could mean somewhere like Clear Lake down by Delta or somewhere else. Maybe cootshoot will be willing to specify.
Ive been seeing them out on the Refuge but It is closed for the season now for hunting. I think the WMAs should still be open as long as the goose season runs and could be an option. I would check the regs for sure but might be worth looking if your close by
 

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Ive been seeing them out on the Refuge but It is closed for the season now for hunting. I think the WMAs should still be open as long as the goose season runs and could be an option. I would check the regs for sure but might be worth looking if your close by
Just pointing this out for anyone who may not know - the Bear River Bird Refuge isn't open to rabbit hunting even when waterfowl season is open. Most other WMAs probably are but I haven't seen many rabbits on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Most other WMAs probably are but I haven't seen many rabbits on them.
That has been my experience too. Saw a handful of sign at the James W. Fitzgerald WMA, but no bunnies. Figured as much, since the DNR basically hot-spotted that area by making it a WMA in the first place lol (not that I'm complaining about protected land for hunting,).
 

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A lot of people still parrot that nonsense about jackrabbits being on the downswing of the 7 year boom/bust cycle. In my opinion that's not the case. I'm not saying rabbits don't have boom/bust cycles, but I believe that overall jackrabbit populations have been on a downward trend for years now and seem to be going the way of the dodo bird. 7 years ago people said we were in the bust phase of the cycle. People say we are currently in the bust phase of the 7 year cycle. In 7 years they will be saying we are currently in the bust phase of the cycle. The jacks just aren't there anymore.
For what it's worth, 7 years ago I was CRUSHING bunnies big time on the Parker Plateau. It was glorious
 

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I think the closer you are to the large populations, in this case for Rush Valley down to Vernon you are dealing with Utah County, Salt Lake County, Tooele County, and probably parts of Davis County. You are just going to see fewer rabbits, and critters in general in some of those areas. Gotta be willing to travel a bit further I would think. I see a few when I go out that my boys chase after but never tons of them!

Between people, cars, birds of prey, coyote, bobcat, fox, etc.... Those little guys are up against it.

Speaking of cars though if you are driving looking for a spot to hunt and come across a few squished bunnies... It might be worth looking in that general area.
 

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There has been active rabbit hemorrhagic fever (ebola for bunnies) going around utah the last couple of years. So I suspect the population numbers are currently low.

Either way if I am looking for Jack's I am looking for sagebrush areas bordering juniper trees. And I am looking during the last 30 minutes of light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There has been active rabbit hemorrhagic fever (ebola for bunnies) going around utah the last couple of years. So I suspect the population numbers are currently low.

Either way if I am looking for Jack's I am looking for sagebrush areas bordering juniper trees. And I am looking during the last 30 minutes of light.
Interesting, thank you. I've been going out earlier in the day (admittedly only mid morning. Hard to get out of bed super early on my 1 day off lol). Maybe I'll try a later hunt. I'm going to (try to) get out at first light and stomp around, maybe do some target shooting at a spot nearby until dusk, and then try again. Will report back after Saturday.
 

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For what it's worth, 7 years ago I was CRUSHING bunnies big time on the Parker Plateau. It was glorious
I remember those years! 2015/2016 were great and 2017 was good, tons of rabbits and sage grouse. Never seen so many golden eagles in my life as during those years. You could drive around and see 12 a day, damned dragons. Been very low #'s of both rabbits and grouse the last several years with 2021 being the worst. 2022 was slightly improved. My hope is this good winter will help. Parker is an amazing place that I spend a good deal of time on in the late summer months
 

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I judge populations by road kill and you hardly ever see jacks anymore anywhere near city populations.We used to go out to West mountain by Eagle mountain In the 1980s. We got to the point where we never used shotguns and 22s as it was easy to kill 10 a day , so we switched to deer rifles and yes it was messy 💥. There were lots of cottontail’s too but we always passed on them no point . I would go out there and camp every weekend with my friends in high school and party🍺 . I’m sorry to say we killed them all off 🐇 lol . This has been another short story of the Good ol Days that everyone under 30 loves to hear about by Last Word Larry 🥂
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would judge populations by road kill and you never see any jacks hit anymore. The last time I seen one on the road was down in central utah. We used to go out to west mountain by Eagle mt. In the 1980s .We got to the point where we never used shotguns because it was just way too easy to kill 10 a day ,so we switched to deer rifles and that’s how we learned to shoot. And yes it was messy .So I’m sorry we killed them all . 😳
That's a good point. I don't think I've seen a roadkill jack in quite a long time, possibly years now...

Well, we did hit one pulling the boat a while ago. He missed the truck but the trailer axel made sure he didn't get away lmao. This was in Southern Utah passed Hanksville going to Powell, so way out of the way and in the middle of the night. Besides that I can't recall the last jackrabbit I've seen from the car...
 

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In the 1980s .We got to the point where we never used shotguns because it was just way too easy to kill 10 a day ,so we switched to deer rifles and that’s how we learned to shoot.
Man, we were smacking triple digit bunnies with 4-6 shooters in 3-4 hours on the Parker in 2015. Those bashenings were legendary. I still grin and giggle thinking about those trips every now and again
 

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We had boomer years out by Rush valley before they built the south military area . We found another spot down south where we each shot around 10 or more in an hour . That spot still exists. The farmers hate them as much as deer and elk .I don’t hunt them anymore but they really helped my long range rifle skills back in the day. What I remember most is the pot gut days of Central utah . Me and my dad would go to the gun range and shoot them instead of targets , we always said if you can hit a pot gut at 200 you can kill a deer at 400 or more for sure .There were thousands of those things probably millions for about a 10 year run. There’s still alot of them but not as many
 
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