Cottontail Rabbit Hunt

Libby if you look over at them rocks, there is rabbits over in there ok. there will be rabbits down this way. There will be a whole bunch of rabbits.
Meet Morris Cloward. Everybody ready? A big game hunter who introduced his family to the sport hunting through rabbit hunting. Morris has also mentored other dads who’s sons or daughters have wanted to hunt and a rabbit hunt as we al know, is a great first hunt.
We all did it as kids, but you are no kid anymore? You know if you get good at shooting rabbits, rabbits are just a small big game animal as far as I’m concerned.
He’s done that his whole life. Lots of families that have never hunted before. He’ll bring them out hunting, lots of different things.
What’s the key to finding rabbits this morning? Rocks and south facing slopes.
They like to sit out there in that sunshine. A lot of running shots or are they going to hold up? They are going to hold up.
Be very, very quiet. We are hunting rabbits.
Ok guys there is one up there waiting for you up there. I can see him.
Rob has a bet with young Isaac, if Isaac can shoot ten bunnies with ten bullets, he’ll earn some cash. It’s a way for Rob to encourage Isaac to make a clean, ethical single shot.
He get’s ten dollars if he only uses ten bullets. If he uses every bullet more than ten he looses a dollar. He can either shoot a bunch of bullets and not get the ten bucks or he can shoot ten bullets and get ten rabbits and make ten bucks. Make him a better hunter. Yeah better hunter, better shot, we’ll see.
There’s a buck. There went a dollar. I think he split his ears.
What do you like about this rabbit hunt? That we end up getting something. That’s the key. That is important isn’t it. And we get to shoot often and for each one we got unfortunately we missed a few. We let a few get away, but it’s an active fun, interactive hunt. Oh, there he is! A good first hunt isn’t it? it’s a great first hunt. Kids aren’t bored, because they are just excited to keep going.
Good shot.
We love it because it’s like practice for a big game hunt. We can go out there with a rifle with a scope on it and see rabbits and shoot them at long range or close range whatever. I think it’s good for the kids to practice that kind of stuff too with all the safety. It’s everything you need to know about hunting.
There’s two. Yeah. Somebody is eating tonight.
Oh good shot. Nice. Alright, guns up Ely.
In Utah, the pygmy rabbit, mountain cottontail, desert cottontail and snowshoe hare are protected. All but the pygmy rabbit can be hunted during specific seasons. The white and black-tailed jackrabbits are not protected and can be hunted any time with any weapon.
Little high. Oh good shot.
It started out with a merit badge for scouts and I was rifle shooting and ever since then I’ve just liked shooting so I figured I might as well try hunting.
There you go, there you go. It was fun. How many did you get? Uh, ten. Got one you couldn’t recover. Yeah. Count that towards your limit? Yeah.
It gets them going on hunting and teaches them how to carry a gun and how to be safe and they can be successful. They can hunt rabbits and be successful. You hate to hunt all day if you don’t get something to bring home.
On this side around the corner.
I did good. I got my limit today.
See him moving?
Oh yeah.
Lots of shooting. Oh yeah a ton. Do you think it’s going to make you a better hunter when you get older? Yeah. How so? It increases your aim
See that over hang right there? The bunny is right under the end of it.
Take another shot. There you go!
This was one of the best years in ten years for hunting cottontails in the state as their population peaked. Biologists say if we have a warm, wet spring this year, the population should still be good. The cottontail season runs from September 1st to the end of February, the limit it ten per hunter.
He picked up a couple. Nice! Where’s your smile then. Yeah good clean shots it was awesome.
Boy the kids had a lot of fun and I think some of the dads did too. It was fun to see some of the smiles on the kids faces when they had some success out there. They are counting some of the rabbits up I think they are well over 100. We’ll have the final count and we are going to show you how to cook up those rascally rabbits in a moment, but first tonight’s Burt Brothers quiz question.
In Utah there are three species of hares and three species of rabbits. The hares consist of the white-tailed jackrabbit, the black-tailed jackrabbit and the snowshoe hare. The pygmy rabbit, the mountain cottontail and the desert cottontail make up the rabbit group. Our Burt Brothers quiz question tonight is…Can you name some fundamental differences between rabbits and hares? The answer when KSL Outdoors, powered by Ford returns to the Book Cliffs.
KSL Outdoors is also brought to you by Fish Tech Outfitters, Utah State Parks, Burt Brothers, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Evanston Wyoming, and Camp Chef.

Welcome back to KSL Outdoors, back here in Northeastern Utah, I’m Adam Eakle. Hey in a moment, how to clean and then cook up those rascally rabbits, that in a second but first tonight’s answer to our Burt Brothers quiz question.
Our question is. Can you name some fundamental differences between rabbits and hares? Here’s the answer. Hares live above ground in a small leaf-litter depression. Rabbits tend to live in burrows underground.
Another difference is the offspring of hares, at birth, are open-eyed and furred and are capable of a high degree of independence at birth.
Rabbits, on the other hand, produce closed-eye and naked young that are helpless at birth and require parental care.
You know they are doing a count right now. One, twenty. That’s a pretty good day, that’s a pretty good day. Except when you start to clean them.
Cleaning one hundred and twenty rabbits is quite the chore. Luckily we have a lot of experienced hunters to show us how to do it. Now, if you are a little squeamish about blood, you might want to look away as Morris gives us a demonstration.
Usually we just take them like this. Come on Isaac, grab that leg. Grab them right in this area and just tear the skin down and it will expose that inner part.
Comes off real easy, some people ask do you save the hides. No, they are just way to thin, I wish we could.
We’ll refrain from showing you the next part, gutting the rabbit, but basically you just empty the chest cavity of heart, lungs….everything.
Yep, that’s it. Get it washed up good. Usually I’ll take and put them into a big pot of salt water and let them sit overnight with a lot of ice to keep them really cool and let them sit overnight and then take them the next day and cut them up. We like to de-bone. It takes a lot of time to do, but I think it’s worth it when the end product gets there.
To debone them, it’s pretty easy, just remove the legs, cut the meat off the legs or just cook them with the bone in. And don’t forget the best cut, it’s just like you’d find on a deer or elk.
So you’ve got back straps that run down both sides, those are really good. That’s the best. right there. Yup.
So that’s about it.
When grandpa cooks rabbit, you like it huh? I do like it.
Best way to cook it is deep fried. Yep. Battered and deep fried. So, can’t go wrong, it’s very tender, very crispy. We’ve tried it other ways, it’s still good, but this is the best way.
Bisquick is the main ingredient on this one here. Can’t go wrong on the Bisquick. Not flour, but biscuit. and then we add a little bit of seasoning salt pepper. We’ve done seasonal salt at our house. Or this is actually really good, this is a chicken rub. That one is really good, so that is what you guys are having today is the chicken rub.
There’s a stigma sometimes, people won’t eat rabbit. It’s true. I have not my family but my inlaws feel that way until they were forced to try it. Now they like it
I’ll give it a go.
Yeah it’s fantastic. Isn’t that good? Mmm. Yes. Fantastic. Chukars are good, but this is pretty good to. And a lot less work.
It’s a big hit at our house. Chicken nuggets, or rabbit nuggets, rabbit nuggets.
Taste like chicken. Does it really? Everything tastes like chicken. Good old KFC chicken.
The kids think it’s chicken. They know it’s rabbit, but they taste it and don’t know the difference.
It’s really hot! Inside. Yeah it’s really hot. But good? Uh hmm.
What did you think of the rabbit? It was awesome. Pretty good. Yeah it’s amazing.
Better than McDonalds. Healthier. Exactly.
What do you call it, what is it Libby? Rabbit nuggets.
Unfortunately cottontail season is over for this year, but now is the time if you have kids or you just want to get out and try it. Do your homework, make sure your kids have their hunter education done and get out and try this. Boy that recipe, not too bad, it’s actually really good. Really surprised. Hey back to the guys at Fish Tech now for tonight’s fishing report.
Hi, George Sommer here with Fish Tech Outfitters. We are going to get you geared up for some spring northern pike fishing. Give you all the tips, tackle and techniques you need to get out there and catch one of those big, toothy critters. First thing you are going to need is either some steel leader, or some hard mono or some heavy fluorocarbon to prevent those fish from biting through your leader. Some of the key lures to use, lipless crankbaits. These are by far my favorite. You can use a spinnerbait. A lot of guys have spinnerbaits in their tackle box. Suspending jerk baits work really well, especially these bigger sizes. Now we’ve got something that looks like a perch. A lot of places they key in on perch. An old favorite is a jointed rapala in fire tiger. That works well on northern pike and tiger muskys. A musky spinner, these are deadly as well, easy to use. Then one of the things I like to do. I like to go fly fishing for pike. I’ve got some flies that I’ll take. Typically you want to use sink tip line and one of these flies, based on the depth the fish are at. There are some special regulations, especially on Yuba to make it a trophy fishery. So, help us out by keeping some of the small ones and those big ones can be back in there. For tips and techniques like these and many others, stop in and see us at Fish Tech Outfitters and now for tonight’s fishing line.

Welcome back to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. Well we’ve moved to the West side of the Oquirrhs for our next story where biologists are using a helicopter to capture some 400 deer across the state to determine how those deer survived the winter.
So today we are at Pine Canyon WMA.
And we are catching mule deer to take a look at what kind of shape they are in, in March after the winter we’ve had.
In 2014, over four hundred, doe deer, in seven units across the state were captured and given a GPS collar. Today.
The DWR in cooperation with BYU grad students are using those GPS collars to locate and capture those same deer again.
We give the helicopter company a location and frequency and they are able to go out and target those deer. Once they do that, they’ll net gun it. Put it in a bag and sling it back to us.
They’ll drop it off. 63. We’ll go and weigh it. 46. Take various measurements, age it. We’ll use an ultra-sound to measure their body fat and loin thickness.
I don’t think she’s pregnant.
And we’ll also check for pregnancy and draw blood to look at various mineral levels.
What we are trying to do is look at all the habitat treatments we’ve done, some deer use the habitat treatments more than others and we want to get a comparision of the deer that are using those treatments versus those that aren’t. Are they in better shape than others? And can we quanitify the impacts these habitat treatments have been having for our mule deer herds.
This large, statewide effort is being conducted on seven units in Utah. From Pine Valley in the southern region to the Cache unit up North. All of this is funded by various conservation groups.
BYU’s role is to do the research part of it. So we’ll be collecting all the data. We’ll have a couple of graduate students on the project whole will be analysing the data and providing the results to the state. 95.
We started on Pine Valley a little over a week ago and we’ve been moving North. The deer there were in about the same condition as these deer right now, but those deer were in much poorer condition than these deer when we captured them in December. in fact, the December captures as we move from the Cache Valley in the North to Pine Valley in the south. The condition went from very good in Cache Valley, most of them had a half inch to three quarter of an inch of fat on their rump to almost nothing on Pine Valley in December. That’s probably because Cache Valley has great summer range and there is no real summer range in the Pine Valley region, those are all desert deer. So they don’t have a ton to eat in the summer.
It will be really interesting in two days when we get to Cache Valley to see how those deer are because they were in such good condition in December.
Processing the deer only takes about five to ten minutes.
The deer are then released back into the foothills.
We try and reduce our handling as much as possible and the shorter we can do that, the less stressed the animals are and we can get them back and be deer again.
This is a four year study, so biologists won’t know the outcome for quite some time. But one thing they do know is that if a doe goes and makes it through the winter and is pretty healthy, she’s more likely to have healthy fawns and give them a better chance at survival. Time now for tonight’s Utah Field Guide.
Hey Adam, fishing is so good, everywhere in the state except private water. That’s right Mickey, last for those of you that know. Judge Polum opened up 2700 miles of stream that flowed through private property. But, the Utah Supreme Court just gave the state a stay, meaning that anglers can no longer access that river. right? Right, It is a stay not a reversal. This just gives them time to review Judge Polum’s decision to make sure this is the correct decision. This could take awhile? It could, it could take up to a year. That’s the unfortunate part. You know what if you found a place that you really liked fishing when it was open. Go ask the landowner. They might give you permission. If you took care of that property when you were on it, they might give you permission to go on it again. It seems like this just keeps going back and forth, back and forth doesn’t it? Yeah, and I think we just need to take care of this and realize what we will get from this if we do take care of the property. and a good place if people want some information about how it’s progressing and when a decision is finally made. It’s Utah Stream Access Coalition. They’ll keep it updated, keep all the new information on it and you know while you are there, maybe help them out, give them a little contribution, they’ve worked hard to get this open. Let’s go fishing, the fishing is good. Time now to check out that recreation forecast.

Alright honestly. Who missed a couple of shots? Brock, raise you hand. I didn’t miss a one with the camera. Got to be a great time to get your family out here and your friends and mentor these people, some of these guys, help them out. We found a good place out here, we’ve brought a lot of people out, just had a ball bringing them out and having fun. They bring their kids and we all have a ball. It’s a good tradition isn’t it? Very much so. And most kids, like we talked about, this is their first hunt. Yup. Rabbits. Well now that the season is over, now what are you going to do? We are going to go do some shed hunting. We can’t tell you where those are at. Start getting ready for the next season. Thanks for having me out, that was a lot of fun Mort. Appreciate it. Hey I’m Adam Eakle, reminding you to get out with your family, your friends and make some memories, like a rabbit hunt in the Book Cliffs, outdoors. We’ll see you next weekend, goodnight.

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