3Rivers Archery Supply
Rabbits replaced by prairie dogs??
Small Game
Contributors to this thread:
Vids 10-Jul-15
sureshot 10-Jul-15
Bigdan 10-Jul-15
bigdog21 10-Jul-15
midwest 10-Jul-15
Vids 10-Jul-15
Stick Man 10-Jul-15
HockeyDad 10-Jul-15
cityhunter 11-Jul-15
midwest 11-Jul-15
t-roy 11-Jul-15
Zbone 13-Jul-15
Vids 13-Jul-15
APauls 13-Jul-15
writer 14-Jul-15
LINK 14-Jul-15
Vids 14-Jul-15
cityhunter 14-Jul-15
Vids 14-Jul-15
From: Vids
10-Jul-15
Slow time of year here on the forum, so maybe some of you can help me out with our confusion at the ranch.

The last couple of years as we've been cleaning up the place (getting rid of wood piles, cutting the grass shorter) there have been a ton of rabbits around. All of a sudden this summer the rabbits are all gone and their dens have been taken over by prairie dogs or some sort of a ground squirrel.

We've been wondering why this happened. There have always been plenty of coyotes around, last year there was an owl roosting in a tree regularly and this year a family of hawks built a nest there. There was some sort of a weasel there last year as well, but haven't seen him this year. Not sure if specific predators play a role or not.

Any theories? Do prairie dogs run off rabbits or does it have something to do with the predators? Is this just cyclical due to rabbit populations decreasing?

From: sureshot
10-Jul-15
Probably the change in habitat such as burning the wood piles and mowing the grass shorter.

From: Bigdan
10-Jul-15
Owls is what I find in my dog towns.

From: bigdog21
10-Jul-15
not as much cover easier for predators to see and catch in the open.

From: midwest
10-Jul-15
"The last couple of years as we've been cleaning up the place (getting rid of wood piles, cutting the grass shorter)"

Just a wag....loss of habitat?

From: Vids
10-Jul-15
Definite loss of habitat, we've been cleaning up what was an overgrown 2-3 acres. We keep it pretty tight now, to try and keep the mice population accessible to predators.

I've just been surprised that the dogs completely took over, living in the Denver suburbs there are rabbits everywhere around our yards which are short grass. They can get by with some hiding spots and there are still plenty at the ranch. We haven't cleaned up all the woodpiles, and there are some old time sheds that animals can live in.

Seems like the dogs ran them out of town somehow. Wondering if there is some relationship between the two where sometimes the dogs can run the rabbits off?

From: Stick Man
10-Jul-15
The two species co exist in complete harmony up by Longmont. At least until I show up with the 22 250. Rabbits use the prairie dog holes. Prairie dogs won't live in the tall grass like the rabbits. You got rid of the grass and wood piles, so instead of instantly adapting and using the holes, the predator and raptor population took care of the rabbits.

Short grass allows prairie dogs to see. You basically invited them in, especially if there's an established colony nearby.

The raptors hunt visually, thus short grass and rabbits getting used to a new environment = easy pickings.

So in short you "chased" the rabbits off.

From: HockeyDad
10-Jul-15
Vids, sounds like you need to invite me up with teh 22-250 to have a look about getting rid of them squatting prairie dogs/ground squirrels so the rabbits can come back!

Rod

From: cityhunter
11-Jul-15
this is normal for rabbits they have hi cycles then go into drought period were u cant buy one !

From: midwest
11-Jul-15
Vids, Sorry for the smarta$$ post. I don't know about western rabbits but here in the midwest, the best rabbit populations are found in the thickest nastiest cover like multiflora rose, raspberries, oid farmsteads, and brush piles which, I assume, keeps them protected from coyotes and raptors.

An area I antelope hunt in Wyo had a lot of rabbits where I was camping. Not much for cover there but a lot of rock piles.

From: t-roy
11-Jul-15
What city hunter said x2.

Tons of them here this year.

From: Zbone
13-Jul-15
Vids - I lived in Highlands Ranch for a while and had a prairie dog town next to my apartment complex...

I got a kick out of the little critters and luv taking pot shot them with my stickbow, but never killed one. They actually got to know me personally and would immediately run for cover when they see me coming, yet other neighbors they're barely pay attention too...8^)

They're quick little suckers to shoot at and quick to learn, but anyhow, I seen all kinds of wildlife due to that town, from the dogs themselves, to rabbits, and other ground dwelling creatures to about every predator the Denver area had to offer. Was nothing to see a coyote patrol around the town during the middle of the day in broad daylight. Am talking only a few yards from the interstate and shopping plazas. Heck, one year even a litter of fox pups were raised there... There was a lot of wildlife activity due to that prairie dog town...

From: Vids
13-Jul-15
Thanks for the input, it must be as simple as the predators picked off the rabbits and now we're left with dogs. (At least for now, maybe they'll rebound)

From: APauls
13-Jul-15
They'll probably rebound - those things breed like rabbits!

From: writer
14-Jul-15
It all goes back to habitat.

No "rabitat" and the bunnies get eaten.

Too much cover and the p-dogs get eaten.

I'd rather deal with the rabbits....fewer fleas and good to eat.

From: LINK
14-Jul-15
Back in the early 2000's we had rabbits every where in my neighborhood. We used them for bait in box traps, trapping bobcats. Around 2006-2013 we couldn't hardly find a rabbit and now we are covered up in rabbits again. The predator population has stayed relatively even. Those years without rabbits were the center of a drought so maybe that played a part.

From: Vids
14-Jul-15
We are keeping the grass short because the ranch had a huge mouse population. Trying to open things up so the predators can cut their numbers down. It's been helping, we're seeing fewer nests now.

I don't really want prairie dogs either, we might need to take some of them out. Rabbits would be my preference.

From: cityhunter
14-Jul-15
snakes will help big time with the mice

From: Vids
14-Jul-15
Yep. We've seen a couple snakes, and we leave them be just for that reason.

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