Rabbit Opener

T F Coyote

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July 1st holds two great meanings for me: it’s my birthday (I’m now 31), and it’s the beginning of rabbit season.  When my wife asked what I wanted to do on my birthday, I thought briefly and stated I would go rabbit hunting.  Since I wasn’t about to get up early on my birthday, I decided to go in the afternoon.  However, we were going to go out for dinner, so I couldn’t stay out until dusk either.

I decided to try a place in the Cleveland National Forest, about 15 minutes from my house.  This trail is popular with mountain bikers, but being a Monday (I don’t work on Mondays), I figured I’d have the place to myself.
 
Before I left the house, the doorbell rang.  I answered it just in time to see the UPS truck driving away.  On the front porch was a package from Cabela’s.  My mother sent me a pair of great hunting/hiking boots.  Perfect fit.  Time to break them in.

I headed out at about 1600, and it was hot.  I almost called it quits before I started, but I figured I’d scout the area for a future date when I could hunt later in the day.  I was happy to have my tiny Remington model 24, .22 caliber, instead of a heavier gun.  About a half mile up the trail the Natl. Forest begins.  

About a mile later, just as I rounded a corner to a shady slope, I heard something in the bushes on the uphill side of the trail.  About ten feet away, at eye-level, sat a little brush rabbit, staying as still as possible so some predator wouldn’t see it.  Too late.

Pop.  Dead bunny.

I quickly field dressed my trophy, and my watch told me it was time to head back to the truck—rifle in one hand, rabbit in the other.

En route, I was passed by seven separate mountain bikers headed the other way.  Now I respect mountain bikers because that’s not an easy sport.  However, I find that many, if not most, fall somewhere between “I don’t know what to think about hunting” and eco-nazi.  The first six cyclist just smiled and said, “Hi,” as they passed.  Maybe they didn’t want to confront somebody carrying a rifle, or maybe they couldn’t catch their breath (riding uphill in 85+ heat), but this was an encouraging response.  

The seventh slowed down and stopped right next to me.  “You’ll get arrested if they catch you shooting up here,” was his caustic greeting.  I politely, but defensively explained he was mistaken, and that I shot the rabbit on Natl. Forest land, outside the “No Shooting” areas.  He argued a bit more and claimed I couldn’t have a gun anywhere around there.  Then I showed him my badge, but made no reference to the bulge under my shirt that was my .40 cal. Glock.  I told him he was welcome to contact the ranger station to confirm the legality of hunting there, just as I had.  He stated he still wasn’t sure I was hunting legally, but claimed he would contact the ranger later.

Anyway, one rabbit will barely make an appetizer, but I will fry it up tonight.
 



Marty

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Hey TF,
Happy Birthday and congrats on popping the bunny.  At first, I thought you were going to say that the rustling in the bushes was a mtn. biker.  lol.
Those mtn.bikers are a sore lot.  My neighbor rides and frequents those trails.  Once, when he was injured, I drove him up the trail.  His fellow bikers nealy ostracized him over the use of a motorized vehicle on "their" trail; despite the facts.  I'd wager a small sum, that if; and I mean IF, that mtn.biker ever checked with the FS Ranger, that it would have been the first time he stepped foot into any station.  
 

shaginator

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Hey TF - wait till they get a load of me: mountain bike rider with .22 pistol on the hip and dead bunnies hanging from the frame!
 

Bigman

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Best experiance I have had yet was hunting a wild life area call Little Panoche in Fresno county.  My friend and I were walking back to our car with some quail, a chukkar and a couple rabbits after a nice morning hunt.  As we were looking at out birds and gutting the rabbits a group of about 5 ladies show up to use the portable restroom there.  One lady proceeds to yell at me about having a weapon and that hunting is horrible and unsafe.  My friend and I are sort of laughing and trying to explain to her that this area is a hunting area paid for by hunting fees for hunting when the DF&G ranger pulls up.  We continue to clean the rabbits as the woman proceeds to yell at him about us hunting.  He takes it for a little bit, but then you can tell he has had enough explaining and asks the ladies if they signed in at the self registration booth (adjacent to the gate you have to walk through to use the portable bathroom)  they say no.  He then explains that they could recieve tickets for entering the area with out signing in and he made them all sign in.  I think he got his point across as the ladies shut up, signed in and left.  I was laughing so hard when they left that the officer couldnt help but smile and congraduate us on our take!!
 

songdog

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I was just thinking some more about this thread...

If I am correct, it is now illegal to harrass a hunter legally in pursuit of game in CA, is it not?  I know that this has been made law in several states and I think that it even made it into CA?

In TF's case, they were just disapproving and didn't attempt to stop him - but it would have been interesting to reply when the one person said "It's illegal..." that it was perfectly legal and that what THEY were doing (not really doing in this case but you get the idea) was illegal.

So TF, if they actually made a bodily attempt to stop you from further pursuing your hunting, could you have pulled out your badge and arrested them?

It probably only works on paper but the irony is thick enough to cut with a knife...  Kind of like the PETA folks in NorCal who had the giant rubber ducky boat on the opening day of duck season and intended to scare all of the ducks away by shooting blindly in the air.  The only problem being that they forgot to take the boat's motor out of the water which constituted shooting from a motorized vehicle and were sighted by the local warden.
 


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