Living with the cottontail and growing fruit


That’s true taking them off is better than leaving them on it’s just a matter of how much time you’ve got. These rabbits are on to my pruning sealer trick. I’ve been using this tube trick off and on the last 15 years. I usually take them off sooner rather than later.


I also have used the drain pipe as trunk protectors for a while. As far as the cut to get them on, I have moved to doing a spiral cut on the length, mimicking the white plastic spirals. It does help in getting them on and off, but the drain pipe is more rigid than the white PVC spirals and usually requires both hands to spread the gap while going over the trunk. More so after they have been in the sun a few years. I have found that the spiral cut takes less effort opening the gap than a straight cut, and tends not to leave any gaps that a vole/mouse can get thru.

I use a box cutter for the cut, and you do need to be careful to avoid cutting yourself.


Cut the grass very short this year and finding a lot of rabbit fur and no living rabbits lately. The coyote population is way up right now which is excellent news for me! There have been owl down feathers in many of the orchard trees which is more excellent news. Hawk and Owl wing and tail molt feathers are not unusual things to find.


I came upon two hawks fighting the other day on my way home. Hawk population is way up and rabbit population is way down. Things seem to be working out fine this year. The rabbits are not gone but they have pulled back to my blackberry patch.


It’s funny we don’t seem to have a rabbit problem here. I think that’s because our dog likes to chase them- he actually has caught a few of them, but they were real small. But when it comes to deer, he’s usually AWOL. There could be half a dozen in our yard at night, and just ignores them, unless I yell at them, and then he’ll give them a cursory chase!

Turkeys have been thick around here lately, which is too bad as fall hunting season just ended. They’ve been making a big ruckus up in the trees, and we have even seen them in the yard.

Here’s some in the back yard pecking away from a couple weeks ago:


Those big turkeys like that around here eat about anything! When they show up at my place they are usually running like crazy and just passing through. Id rather they did not knock my corn down and eat it anyway and they have been known to do that at farms fairly close by. There are so many coyotes and bobcats close to my place I can’t imagine the turkeys will stay long. Turkeys are not stupid and a tree is a pretty good place to sleep. Turkeys could potentially adapt and be as big a pest as rabbits someday.


They were back in a garden plot behind the house. We tried to grow cukes this year, but not very well. We haven’t really had anything grow well back there for 3 years, I suspect it’s just poor soil. We’re going to get a sample of all of our plots soon and make the appropriate amendments.

But this year, my wife got about 20 strawberry plants from her cousin, and put them in this plot. They actually did OK, with some vines producing some very small berries. I was worried that the turkeys might’ve been after those plants, but I was out there today and didn’t see many missing that I could tell.

Yes when I was out deer hunting in the pasture last month, they were making a big ruckus flying from tree to tree. But, to see one of those birds actually take off and fly is an impressive sight.


I accidentally stepped on some wild turkey eggs in my strawberry bed one year. The birds did not return.


I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to not have them in your strawberry bed. I think I know what they planned to eat!


I see the rabbits have been thriving on the extra rain and lush grasses this year! They are huge! It’s August and the grass is typically dried and brown by now but here it is sweet and lush!


Cottontail populations tend to cycle. Some years they are thick, others they’re hard to find. This year is a banner year for them around here. A few years ago I couldn’t find a bunny for dinner all winter


It takes a major illness to kill them off here but I’ve not seen their population miss a beat in a long time with the exception of from predation. The predators get tired of eating them.


Severe winters tend to thin them out big time up here. I’ve noticed a lot more raptors around this year. I imagine the large number of rabbits has at least something to do with that. I thought I’d have to declare all out war on the bunnies this year to keep them out of the veggie garden, but they haven’t been a problem. I’m thinking the milorganite I use to keep deer out is also working on the rabbits.


Squirrels are a much bigger problem and much harder to exclude


The cottontails were checking my tree guards this morning as soon as it snowed. They don’t waste much time. I’d like to trim off a few suckers at the base of the trees but I may just wait a little time before I start that job. I may get it done for free.055dc9f8faa760bcddf1241f32b5415a3b2cd442_1_690x920c023104ce11b9be7ccf692fde91dce247b8f5af0_1_690x920



Just build some simple snares around your trees. Once the rabbit head enter the loop then it is a done deal.



Looks like there will be plenty to go around this year. By the time winter is over I may need every idea you have to deal with them.


I suggest the 18 1/2 inch cylinder bore barrel for your Remington 870 or Mossberg 500. Step into the brush swing and fire. It makes a wide pattern at close range. This used to be my favorite setup back when rabbits were abundant.


Check your trees often after the first big snow. I know I will be outside looking for signs of problems, lose tree guards, etc. . I will bring help with me as I scout the orchards looking for cottontail trouble! Don’t let them get started!


3’ of aluminum screen stapled around every fruit tree trunk and a person can forget about bunny damage

The last thing an orchard pest wishes it would have saw sooner!