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#3288725 - 12/22/21 09:56 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: DAA]
SlickerThanSnot Online
PM senior

Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 5793
Loc: stuck in a fence
Originally Posted By: DAA
The good old days.

Rabbit Herd

- DAA



not that many, but i have seen them close to those numbers many years ago. it was only 1 or 2 boom years like that then they started dwindling. not many around now.

daa, do you have any guesses why the numbers tanked and never came back?

i know the drought aint helping, but we have had a few good wet years and the numbers still dont come back.
_________________________
skeptical is what i am when told there is a dead coyote in certain far off pictures.

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#3288742 - 12/23/21 07:56 AM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
DAA Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/23/01
Posts: 5408
Loc: Salt Lake City
Guesses on why, yeah. Don't actually know though.

But I think the reasons vary with locality, too. Not just one answer for everywhere. For instance, there are big areas just out of town here, that were that thick with rabbits in the mid to late 70's. And old timers tell me they had been thick around those parts forever. Then they crashed in the 80's, and they have never come back nearly that strong in those areas since. A lot of that area, it's been kind of unusual to see a jackrabbit for almost 40 years now.

While in other areas, like where that video clip was taken, I've seen them come and go in varying waves of population density quite a few times in that same time period.

So, for one thing, I don't buy the seven year cycle thing, at all. I've never seen that hold up, anywhere. Yes I have many times seen populations get really high and then crash, then come back again. But not ever on any regular timeline. Sometimes they are back in only three or four years if conditions are just right, other times they don't come back for fifteen or twenty years before the right weather and habitat come together for a few years in a row.

The usual suspects, for crashes and rebounds - weather and disease. Jacks seem to be pretty susceptible to the weather. Heavy snow, especially. I've seen healthy populations disappear with one winter of heavy DEEP snow. I think their food is hard to get to, their breeding isn't very successful and they are easy pickings for predators. They also yard up really tight in heavy snow so any disease gets pass around quick.

Drought, I've seen them thrive the first few years of a drought. But a many years long one, like we are in now, the habitat just degrades so much, nothing can thrive in it. The exact spot where that video was shot, is a barren wasteland now. I don't see rabbits ever coming back strong in that area.

And of course, disease is a big deal with jackrabbit populations.

But, so, why they seemingly NEVER come back in a lot of areas, my guess, it's a variety of mixtures of all of the above. Combined with habitat loss, from whatever cause - development, farming, drought, fire, etc. Once they are really down, they need several consecutive years of just the right conditions to really bounce back. And it seems in many areas, there just hasn't been several years in a row of those conditions and maybe there never will be again.

- DAA

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#3288758 - 12/23/21 11:10 AM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
SlickerThanSnot Online
PM senior

Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 5793
Loc: stuck in a fence
i am on board with every bit of that. and i suppose all the same reasons for the cottontails disappearing also.

how ya been dave? you all making it through this covid buIIshit alright? many coyotes around?

merry Christmas to you and the family.
_________________________
skeptical is what i am when told there is a dead coyote in certain far off pictures.

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#3288781 - 12/23/21 04:18 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
steve garrett Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 2276
Loc: tx
in many areas I feel like the seed to come back isn't even there. there needs to be at least a few to breed again.
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LONG LIVE THE GREAT GHOST OF THE HIGH DESERT.........THE COYOTE

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#3288802 - 12/23/21 08:56 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: steve garrett]
SlickerThanSnot Online
PM senior

Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 5793
Loc: stuck in a fence
Originally Posted By: steve garrett
in many areas I feel like the seed to come back isn't even there. there needs to be at least a few to breed again.


i have given that a lot of thought also, and it may be where we are right now in my area.
_________________________
skeptical is what i am when told there is a dead coyote in certain far off pictures.

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#3288836 - 12/24/21 09:05 AM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: SlickerThanSnot]
DAA Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/23/01
Posts: 5408
Loc: Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: SlickerThanSnot

how ya been dave? you all making it through this covid buIIshit alright? many coyotes around?

merry Christmas to you and the family.


Been pretty good! And we're making it through the covid so far.

Not too many coyotes around though. A few, in spots, but that ain't saying much. I have been getting out and about a decent amount, but not hunting too hard. Mostly just enjoying being out there, messing around old ghost towns, eating good around the campfire and stuff like that.

Totally agree on the seed thing. Need to have some, and some places don't have any. Saw a scattering of jackrabbit sign last weekend, few small spots, over a pretty big area. Nothing like huntable numbers, but enough seed in enough places to give some hope for the future at least.

Merry Christmas!

- DAA

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#3288917 - 12/24/21 08:00 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
204 AR Offline
PM senior

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 5904
Loc: Nebraska
What about increased predatory bird numbers? There's owls and hawks everywhere, and eagles made a huge recovery over the last few decades. When I see those kinds of numbers I wonder why it's totally "hands off" instead of managing their numbers like any other predator.
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photobucket sucks

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#3288923 - 12/24/21 08:59 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
DAA Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/23/01
Posts: 5408
Loc: Salt Lake City
I'm sure the numbers of raptors doesn't help. But I don't think it's a major factor, myself.

Prey generally determines carrying capacity for the predators. Predators don't generally control prey populations. It's usually the other way around.

Once jacks get on a roll, predators can't do anything about it. The area where that video clip was shot, was crawling with coyote at that same time.

About fifteen years ago, me and my buddy Tim rolled up on a spot in the winter time, around a natural spring in the desert, where the jacks were thick like a biblical plague. Could see a couple dozen running around at any given moment. Right at the spring, the sage was really tall. Too tall to hunt the rabbits in. Like seven foot tall sage brush.

Also a couple big cottonwoods right there at the spring. With a pair of roosting Golden Eagles. There were about two dozen jacks hanging in the tops of that tall sage under the cottonwoods. With only their eyeballs missing. Those eagles were so stuffed on jackrabbit, they were only eating the eyeballs! Yet there were still so many jacks the ground appeared to be moving.

Interesting side note - there were LOTS of lesser birds around. Small hawks, ravens, magpies etc. Yet those jacks still had only the eyeballs missing. My thought was that those lesser birds didn't want to get too close to that golden eagle nest!

Similar deal another time. We walked through a spot and just shot the crap out of jackrabbits. It was thick with them and we shot I don't know how many. Came back the next day and a bunch of the dead jacks had just their guts eaten out by coyotes, but most weren't even touched. Again, lots of coyotes, so stuffed on jackrabbit they weren't bothering to eat the whole thing. And still thousands of rabbits hopping around everywhere.

Etc.

Big birds of prey might suppress a jack population in one little spot, for a little while. But if conditions are right for the jacks to multiply, the birds aren't going to stop it or even slow it down. With the number of litters and the number of generations possible in one year under ideal conditions, one pair of jacks can produce 200 jacks in a year. They get a chance to really get going, they get going!

- DAA

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#3289314 - 12/29/21 08:39 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
SlickerThanSnot Online
PM senior

Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 5793
Loc: stuck in a fence
walking to a coyote stand and kicked up a big jack this morning. first one i have seen in a long time.

also had a pair of magpies come in to check out the e-caller racket a few stands later. have not had that happen in a long time either. bad thing is there was no coyote with them.

was a good cold day to be out in the prairie.
_________________________
skeptical is what i am when told there is a dead coyote in certain far off pictures.

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#3294515 - 02/18/22 10:27 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
Lex Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 03/01/06
Posts: 780
Loc: arizona
South East Arizona is way down still on jacks.

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#3294556 - 02/19/22 04:52 PM Re: Jack rabbits on rebound? [Re: Michael_in_WA]
viper Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 1295
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
I saw a couple last week while Coyote hunting. But they do seem to be down not bumping as many while out.

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