The most-recent small-game survey conducted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (2015-16) revealed that the best rabbit hunting occurs in the Midlands (2.19 rabbits jumped per hour), followed by the Lowcountry Country’s (1.22), the Piedmont (0.77) and the Northern Coastal Plain (0.56). Cottontails make up the bulk of kills at 68.6 percent, while marsh rabbits total 27.4 percent and swamp rabbits 4 percent.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission surveys showed that last season, the average hunter took .87 rabbits per hunt, or 4.74 rabbits while hunting 6.21 days.
In both states, hunting success fluctuates, but never a lot from year to year. North Carolina hunters took 222,181 rabbits in 2014-15, 248,779 in 2015-16 and 202,658 in 2016-17, indicating cyclical population shifts.
South Carolina’s harvest numbers range up and down over the past 10 years.
The conclusion in both states is that habitat for rabbits is key to their survival.
“I don’t worry much about predators like coyotes or foxes,” said biologist Chris Baranski of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “As long as there’s plenty of cover, rabbits will be around.”