Winding up hunting season

LITTLE ROCK – Better hurry. Just a few days left. But there is still time for winding hunting season with a quest for rabbits and squirrels.

The season for both ends at sundown Wednesday, Feb. 29.

There are several factors working in the hunters’ favor in a late February field outing. One is a hunter is likely to have the field to himself or herself. Most everyone has shut it down with the close of deer and duck seasons. Turkey hunting is several weeks ahead.

Another element is populations of both rabbits and squirrels are good in most parts of Arkansas. It has been a mild winter, so natural die-offs are at a minimum.

Nearly all of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas are open for rabbit and squirrel hunting, and so are some – not all – of the national wildlife refuges in the state. The open refuges are Bald Knob, Big Lake, Cache River, Wapanocca and White River’s North Unit.

It is even possible that a hunter could go after both rabbits and squirrels in a day of hunting. Rabbits are not likely to be found in deep woods, and squirrels won’t be hanging out in open fields. Edges of woods, however, could produce both animals within a short distance.

Ditch banks are traditionally a place for rabbit seeking, and here there is a chance for swamp rabbits as well as cottontails. Swampers tend to be a good bit larger than the more numerous cottontails.

A hunter with thoughts of both rabbits and squirrels could load pockets with high brass No. 6 or No. 7 ½ shotgun loads and be ready for whatever turns up. Hunters who use .22 rimfire rifles are ready for both animals.

The daily limit for rabbits is eight, and for squirrels it also is eight.