For quite some time up to last year, I’d been bringing home squirrels for my wife and kids to enjoy. After all, it’s pretty plentiful in my locality. Occasionally, we couldn’t miss the likes of quail and deer either.
But somehow we never succeeded in hunting any rabbit for 3 or so years. Our youngest kid could never stop nagging us, “What does rabbit taste like?” I soon relented and made a resolve to get him some wild rabbit.
Choosing the rabbit hunting air rifle
I really wanted the experience to be wholesome – i.e. go through the entire process of choosing the best air rifle for rabbit hunting, do some research on how best to hunt rabbits, skin and prepare the meat.
And so my first stop was Air Gun Maniac’s piece titled “The Bunny Buster: Best Air Rifle for rabbits.” Out of the 10 air rifles listed, I further shortlisted 5 that matched my personality without compromising on my budget. These were:
- Air Arms S410
- Benjamin discovery air rifle
- Airforce Talon PCP air rifle
- Diana Stormrider multi-shot PCP air rifle
- Hatsan 135 QE Vortex air rifle.
After weighing all options, we settled for the Diana Stormrider multi-shot PCP air rifle. Here are some of the features that influenced our choice:
- That well built German beech stock – I like beauty
- Additionally, the stock is ambidextrous – my left-handed wife would not feel left out.
- A weight of 5.0 lbs, is light enough for any of my kids to carry
- A maximum muzzle velocity of 900 fps would allow us to shoot from a reasonable distance from the target
- A loudness rating of 2 is quiet enough not to scare away rabbits.
- An average muzzle energy of 20 FPE for the .177 caliber is enough to humanely eliminate the rabbits.
- Test results had proved that my favorite 10.65-grain H & N Baracuda Match pellets consistently yielded muzzle energy of 18.6 FPE
Knowing the rabbit hunting basics
To increase the chances of locating and hunting down the rabbits, we dug up some invaluable tips from the interweb and summarized them as follows:
- Instead of concentrating on large farms where the majority of hunters are, consider abandoned public hunting areas, overgrown hedges, fallow land, brushy ditches, and smaller farms.
- Rabbits are fond of hiding, so it’s wise to search around old barns and sheds, out-of-order machinery, and deserted property
- Rabbits have the habit of sunbathing especially after cold periods – and so it’s wise to look out the sunny patches
- Rabbits are both matutinal and crepuscular – meaning they are most active in the morning and evening
- To prevent the rabbits from selling you hundreds of yards away, it is best to work into the wind.
With these tips at our fingertips, we set out to hunt around 3 p.m. I don’t like dawn hunting because of the chilly weather and dew all over the place.
Remaining as honest as possible to the research, our first stop was a vacated mega property. It looked like a 10-or-so-bedroom house. All around it were overgrown bushes – looked quite scary.
Honestly, the place didn’t seem to have any sign of life, but we chose to hang around longer than planned, just to be sure we weren’t leaving behind any game.
Then out of the blues, lo and behold! 5 giant wild rabbits emerged out of the bushes – chasing each other as their norm is. Without hesitation, and with my Diana Stormrider already loaded, I simply waited for the first brief pause in the chase.
Boom! The first shot hit the front leg of one gray rabbit and immobilized it. I quickly fired two more shots to prevent the rabbit from running away wounded. And that was it. You could imagine the joy on my wife and kids’ faces.
What does rabbit taste like?
When the sumptuous meal was served, my curious kid at once equated it to chicken meat, which I definitely agreed with. But I admit it had less flavour than chicken. It took almost the same time as chicken to get well cooked. And needles to say, we prepared it similarly to chicken.
As the rabbit we shot was well grown, the meat was not that tender and soft. Overall, it was satiating enough and worth the hunt.