“On our roadside surveys they’re actually a little bit down from last year, not much, basically unchanged,” Bogenschutz says. “But our rabbit numbers are 20 percent above the long-term average right now — so we’ve got plenty of bunnies in Iowa.”
While the population is doing well, he says fewer hunters are looking to hunt rabbits. He says the number of hunters has been trending down and he is not sure if that is following the pattern of more people moving from rural to urban settings. “There’s just a lot more opportunity for other species right now, 30 years ago we didn’t have a turkey season or deer season, or giant Canada geese,” Bogenschutz says.
He says rabbits are a good way to get a young person started in hunting. “For beginning hunters, there’s nothing easier than cottontails and squirrels. All you need is a 22, and you don’t need any camo, you just need a place to go and sit in the woods,” Bogenschutz says. Rabbit season season runs through February 28th, with a daily bag limit of 10 rabbits and a possession limit of 20.
Shooting hours are sunrise to sunset. Hunters looking for places to go rabbit or squirrel hunting should use Iowa’s online hunting atlas at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.