Oregon Jackrabbit

FairWeather

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Joined
Sep 30, 2021
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601
Location
Eugene, OR
Hey all,

Hoping to get some advice/info on hunting jackrabbits in central OR.

I live over on the west side of the state, but most hunters I talk to seem to regard east of the cascades as the real hunting jewel of the state. I’ve started buying points for big game out there, but it will be years until I draw. It seems like jackrabbit would be a good way to get out there any year, all year. Thing is, I’ve never hunted jackrabbit or the high desert.

Is there a time of year that’s better for success? It looks like most videos are shot in the winter, but I figure that’s because it’s the off season, and jr is one of the only things still open?
I was thinking to go out in early May. That way it’s not too cold at night in the tent, plenty of daylight, and turkey season is on so I could take a tom should I find one. No idea of their habitats overlap, though, which brings the next question: where?

Not looking for specific spots, rather wondering what sort of habitat I should focus in on. Should I be looking in open sagebrush/juniper? Ponderosa forests? Craggy, rocky outcrops? All of the above because they don’t care?

Thanks in advance for any input/advice!
 
We use to kill them in big sage flats in I believe was the Warner unit. I haven’t been over there in 20+ years
 
Their numbers really fluctuate and the last couple times I've been out in the desert they have been fairly rare. 20 years ago you could shoot them all day long everywhere. I've seen the most down in the SE corner of the state anywhere there is sagebrush.
That’s helpful! The wife and I have been talking about making a trip to Steens mountain. Could be a good opportunity to get a jackrabbit while I’m at it. I’ve also heard the coyotes are booming down there. I’ve never hunted those before, either, but wouldn’t mind a hide for the living room.
 
The area around Christmas valley can be very good. I’m older than dirt but shortly after they started growing alfalfa down there I had Ranchers go into town and buy us more 22 ammo. Christmas valley has become quite the Mecca for single wide “urban sprawl” but get out of town a little and you’ll find jacks. Lots of sage/blm country North east of there worth hiking into.
Check with some of the ranchers, probably still some who will let you hunt if you promise not to shoot their irrigation.
In the mid 70s populations were very high. We would go over mid winter/full moon/new snow. Climb on top of a hay stack and shoot all night as the rabbits came in.
 
Haven't spent much time chasing rabbits, but if it were me I'd pick a spot that looks cool that I wouldn't mind visiting regardless of hunting, and start looking there.

I've seen rabbits most places on the east side. Generally not looking for them though.
 
As Brittany Chukarman and Joe Hulburt, pointed out the numbers can really vary and in places I used to see very large numbers they seem to have been low for quite sometime. Ask around as Salmonchaser pointed out, it might be worth your time. Some of the places that used to allow ground squirrel shooting, still allow it but for a fee.
 
Are jack rabbits any good to eat? I thought my buddy from Great Falls had said they taste like a cedar plank.
 
I don’t know. I just watched Randy’s video the other day, and got an itch to try hunting them. Looks simple and fun!
Randy ate a wolf and mountain lion. Yuck, I think I would throw out the pot or pan from cooking either of those creatures. Yuck.
 
Oregon Jacks are prone to tullerimia, not sure that's spelled correctly. Not something you want to eat.
Oh, gnarly! Yeah, I don’t want any part of that. I’ll definitely check in with the nearest ODFW biologist before I go to get the current state of things in the area.
 
if you are wanting to eat rabbit I would walk grassy old roads a lot closer to home and kill some cottontails. I've eaten a bunch of them and they are excellent.
I’ve only seen one rabbit while out hunting w. OR. I was very tempted to shoot it, but all I had was my 308, and it was on Weyerhaeuser land that I wasn’t sure about the access permissions.

Sure enough, though, it was just chilling on the side of the road.

I did draw a SW bear tag, though, so I need to get scouting. Sounds like walking some closed grassy roads is in my near future regardless, so might as well bring along the 20ga.
 
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