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Dean Hanson of Green Bay shared this photo of a deer and rabbit meeting nose-to-nose.
Dean Hanson of Green Bay shared this photo of a deer and rabbit meeting nose-to-nose. / Submitted by Dean Hanson

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When I was a kid, hunting with my dad was something I couldn't get enough of. And up to the age of 15, it was strictly small game and rabbits were the game of choice. Rabbits were challenging, fast and ultra fun. What more can a kid ask for?

For years, rabbits were my quarry of choice. Rabbits, along with pheasants and squirrels, took up much of my time in the fall. In fact, until I reached the age of 21 and bowhunting became a priority, my buddies and I were constantly after those particular small game critters.

These days, with most of my hunting time spent perched in a treestand, small game isn't on my radar like it used to be. But it's still there in the back of my mind. Each fall, I will take a few mornings and try to knock off a few squirrels and pheasants. As for rabbits, I usually wait for the snow to fly before I try hunting them.
I'm not an ice fisherman, so rabbits are an easy choice in the winter for me. There really aren't many hunting opportunities, other than coyotes, squirrels and grouse until the end of January. In the last few weeks, I've been making the most of my chances.

I'm a big beleiver in getting kids into the woods. And since October, I've been taking a kid by the name of Montana Mattie with me whenever I get a chance. He did some pheasant hunting with me and spent the gun deer season with me. But, sadly, niether one of those ventures produced any game for him.

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Undeterred, Montana Mattie has a love for the outdoors reminescent of myself in my younger days. It took me a few years before I scored. And last weekend, he shot his first rabbit. How cool is that? This kid was seriously proud of his accomplishment and he should be.

While neither he nor I scored last weekend, the two guys that went with us each got a rabbit. Two of the three rabbits we jumped were taken, and the last few weekends were the same thing, yielding a few bunnies each time. The first time we went, it seemed that rabbits were everywhere. The last few outtings we had to work harder at it. We don't use beagles like many guys do and do all the grunt work is done by ourselves.

It's always fun to go hunting. It's even better when a kid scores. Rabbits always provide some fun shot opportunities, have a long season (to the end of February) and is a great way to cure some cabin fever. Other than spring turkeys, there really aren't any hunting chances until September when the dove and bear seasons open. Unless you want to hunt coyotes, rabbits are it this time of year. Why not hunt as much as you can? Winter rabbits, one of the best winter sports around!

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