Biologist Billy Dukes said one of the most- common complaints he hears is that there is not any good rabbit hunting on WMAs in South Carolina.
“Actually, there is some sensational rabbit hunting on select WMAs,” Dukes said. “The key is habitat. Rabbits have a specific type of environment where they flourish in big numbers, and that specific habitat is not found at every WMA.
“The problem with rabbits on WMAs is that some areas don’t have good habitat for this species, but some offer excellent habitat and excellent hunting,” Dukes said. “The key to success for many rabbit hunts on WMAs is the willingness to do the research to locate the right areas, then perhaps have to drive a little further in some cases. But good hunting for rabbits is available on some WMA’s.”
Dukes said one of the biggest differences between good rabbit and quail habitat is while both can be found in upland areas, quail prefer a more open understory and frequent fire, and rabbits are ideally suited for thicker understory, with briars, shrubs and old field-type habitat.
Dukes said some of the better areas include the Marsh WMA and the Webb Center, Hamilton Ridge and Palachucola WMAs, as well as portions of the Sumter and Francis Marion national forests.
“Even the very large WMAs may have only limited areas where rabbits are found in good numbers, but opportunities exist in those places. But the fact is, when you find the right habitat, the rabbit population is usually very good.
“But as habitat changes — such as timber thinning or other factors — so will the number of rabbits,” Dukes said. “It’s an annual process of finding the right areas. But with some research and the willingness to drive a bit if necessary, rabbits hunters can find excellent rabbit hunting on WMAs in South Carolina,” he said.