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I have rabbits that routinely build nests in my yard. How can I get rid of the rabbits legally? I don't want some officer from the DNR knocking on my door because I improperly hunted or poisoned them.

The rabbits cause several problems:

  1. Our dog goes absolutely nuts barking at them through the window, chases them when she can in the back yard, and gently removes the young from their nest to play with (or tend to as a mother) when she finds a nest.
  2. The nests are basically a hole in the ground about the size of a softball. They're easily big enough to cause a twisted ankle when stepped in while walking in the yard.
  3. I'd like to start planting tomatoes and other vegetables, but I'm fearful the rabbits will have their way with my crops.

I've recently started using Liquid Fence, but it's hard to say if that's had much of an effect. I've certainly still had some rabbits, but maybe not as often.

What's the best course of action for me?

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Without knowing where you are it's impossible to help with the 'legally' aspect..."rabbit season" no doubt differing in different areas (and depending on whether or not you're in a Looney Tunes catoon) –  Alex Feinman Jun 9 '11 at 13:29
    
@Alex, I'm in Indiana. I didn't include it in the question since I didn't want to discourage answers that didn't specifically address that part, but it's in my profile. I'm certain hunting and trapping would be locale-specific, but I'm not sure if poisoning is (if that's even something I'd want to do). I also know some species of animals can't even be "disturbed" from their nests based on local, state, and/or federal laws but I don't suppose rabbits are protected (but don't know for sure). –  BQ. Jun 9 '11 at 17:49
    
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5 Answers 5

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Deer and rabbits both have a very keen sense of smell. I use a mixture of garlic powder, chili powder and water to keep the deer out of the garden. I am pretty sure that would work for rabbits as well. Spray it around where they are nesting and see if they move. If they do make up a large batch and spray the whole yard.

I spray once a week on average. If it rains I spray again as soon as it's dry.

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Along these lines is blood. If you hunt, save some of the blood from your game and pour it around in your garden. Sounds nasty, but it's healthy for the dirt and a warning to the rabbit. –  UtahJarhead Sep 17 '13 at 16:55
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Truly, having dogs around gets rid of rabbits, feral cats, deer, bobcat, fishers, voles, moles...etc. You DON'T have to allow the dogs to kill them. Helloooo! Rabies and all kinds of disease could be transferred. It takes a few months but works just fine! I have all of the above and more. That and freezing temperatures at night any night of the year. I just went with a greenhouse and solves most of those problems.

I've shot one animal one time at 100 yards with a 22...it was a rabbit. It screamed! I'll never forget it. Made myself eat the poor thing. I have no problem with hunting and killing done correctly and humanely. I love my meat...sigh but it'll be vegetarianism for me until I get hungry enough to kill. Lots of meat around here!

This area is full of squirrels (I love them!!), rabbits, rodents, feral cats not to mention LOTS of coyote, bobcat and cougar. I've two dogs I don't allow freedom to roam. My cats forever and always will be indoor cats. Yup, I have to exercise to exercise my dogs. Oh well! I've got two horses as well and I have to exercise them or be a heartless, self-centered and overweight person. This is my first garden here and it is a tough place. The greenhouses solved 90% of these problems. Having dogs...just having them here, pooping, peeing and occasionally barking has scared away most of these animals.

The point is, if you kill one...there are thousands waiting in line to fill in the niche. They DO belong and it is up to us to figure out how to live together. That is why we have this so-called intelligence we think makes us so special. Killing should only be done for food. Period. Period!! I've made it happen and most of my life I've been a single parent with all of the responsibilities and work. It is not tough. Killing and pesticides are a last, last resort. They only make more trouble.

Think of it this way; you are training your environment (including your animals, varmits) to live in harmony with you. You start killing them and then you have to teach the new guys the 'rules'...all over again. You allow your dogs to start killing and the next thing you know is they'll kill your neighbor's cats, little yappy dogs or bite kids. You don't need that heartache nor the expense!

RELAX!!! If you are going to be a gardener then you should know YOU CAN'T CONTROL ANYTHING!!! Orchestrating harmony is vastly superior...humility and education is a must! We are NOT more important nor more special than any other form of life. Asking questions on this site, studying, researching, going to school are the best ways to show we humans have something going for us. Kudoes (sp) to you!!

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Not to sound too glib, but we had rabbits and voles in our yard when we moved in 2.5 years ago. Then the foxes and owls came, and no more rabbits and voles. Maybe you can figure out some way to make that work for you.

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After just reading the title, I was going to suggest get a dog. Our dog has killed a couple rabbits already this year. Perhaps you could simply leave your dog in the yard more often, letting him/her out when she's barking at them through the window. I guess this depends if your dog is fast enough to catch them. You could consider getting another dog, perhaps a bigger, faster one.

Another note: when putting in vegetables, make sure you have a sure method of keeping your dog out of them. Our dog ate quite a few of our green beans last year (didn't bother the tomatoes, though), so we had to put up a higher fence this year.

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+1 I stayed at a farm that used dogs to "guard" their plants. They were outdoor dogs and lived outside. Did Wonders. –  Seanland Jun 9 '11 at 15:06
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I've heard of dried blood working well as a repellent for rabbits as well as deer. If you were to plant a vegetable garden you could sprinkle some of this around the plants as a sort of combination fertilizer/pest deterrent.

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