Utah Jackrabbit Hunting

by Zach Lazzari
Shotgun hunting is the most effective for jackrabbits.

Shotgun hunting is the most effective for jackrabbits.

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Hunting jackrabbits is a challenging sport that requires more skill than one might expect. Jackrabbits are fast, and the hunter must intercept the animal as it bounds between bushes and around obstacles. Utah is home to a large amount of public lands, but hunting jackrabbits also is acceptable on private lands with permission.


Jackrabbit hunting is popular because regulations are minimal and hunting opportunities exist year-round. You may wait five years to draw an elk tag in a trophy unit but you can hunt jackrabbits tomorrow with great success. The state of Utah does not require a hunting license to target jackrabbits and coyotes. You can hunt jackrabbits on any public lands without hunting or weapons restrictions and on private lands with permission from the landowner. Permission is not difficult to obtain because many ranchers want to reduce jackrabbit and coyote populations on their land.


A large amount of the land in Utah provides hunting opportunities for jackrabbits, but the regions that share a border with Nevada are ideal. The high desert brush lands in areas such as the outskirts of Great Basin National Park and near the town of Wendover are prime jackrabbit territories. The areas are also a great place for hunting coyotes, mule deer, elk and mountain lions. Drive the country roads at night to locate high concentrations of jackrabbits and hunt the following afternoon.


Hunting jackrabbits is accomplished with a variety of weapons. Archery hunting is the most difficult because the rabbits are typically a moving target. Hunting with a shotgun is a common choice because the spray of pellets increases the chances for success. Small caliber rifles and air guns are also effective for distance shooting with a scope. Walk until you scare a jackrabbit and either make a quick shot with a shotgun or wait for the rabbit to stop and use the rifle or bow. Walking a line with multiple people is ideal because the rabbits are forced in one direction.


Minimal equipment is required for hunting jackrabbits, but several items are useful. A small backpack or satchel is ideal for holding drinking water, ammunition and dead rabbits. Rope is also effective for holding and carrying the rabbits. Thick pants are used for hiking through the brush and boots covered with gators are ideal for protecting your feet and legs from stickers and sharp branches. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the high desert sun, and a wide-brimmed hat will protect your face and neck.

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