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?

  • 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) Commented Jun 9, 2011 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.
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 17:49
  • Rabbits building nests you say? Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 8:35

7 Answers 7


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.

  • 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. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 16:55

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.


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.

  • 2
    +1 I stayed at a farm that used dogs to "guard" their plants. They were outdoor dogs and lived outside. Did Wonders.
    – Seanland
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 15:06

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.


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, varmints) 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. Kudos to you!!

  • 1
    It is now August 2016. I took up feeding wild bunnies and I have to tell you I enjoy the bunnies. Have to get over missing bunnies, especially babies but I have not found a single negative thing about rabbits. I love them. My garden is surrounded with bunny fencing. I feed the rabbits all the organic leftovers around here and they poop out this little pellets all over this property...fertilizing and mulching with no other help from me. Death rate is so high, but it is so much fun to have a little herd of bunnies running towards me. Even better is to watch these wild rabbits stretch out.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 6:58
  • I just 'noticed' we have zero weed grasses anywhere. Last year before my beloved feral cat was shot who controlled bunnies, rodents, we had grasses everywhere...cheat grass that has seeds that burrow under the skin. I hired a couple of guys to mow everything down. This year not a single grass. Wow. These bunnies have not only controlled the grasses/weeds but have fertilized these awful, sterile, pumice soils! Our pines look HEALTHY and everyone else's look sickly. Not good in wind storms!
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 20:08

Every product I've tried hasn't worked for long. I finally put up chicken wire. That's the only thing that worked.

What didn't work - Don't waste your money. An owl with light up eyes, moved every couple of days to a different spot. Many different brands of rabbit repellant, including Liquid Fence. Crushed up egg shells. Plastic snakes. All different colors. Spraying the bunnies with a garden hose - they come right back.

What did work - I had three places to fence in. Once I got the hang of it, a 20' by 15' bed took me around an hour to install. I used 24" tall cheap chicken wire. It was around $10.00 for a 50 foot roll. I bought 8-foot 2" x 1" lumber for $1.00 apiece. I had each one cut into four 2-foot pieces. I used plastic zip ties to attach the chicken wire to the stakes. I spaced the stakes about 4 to 6 feet apart. On the first fence I buried the chicken wire a few inches. That worked. Then I tried bending the wire outward a few inches. That worked too. For the last bed I didn't bother burying it or bending it. That worked fine too. I thought they might chew through wood or the zip ties or burrow under the fences but they didn't.

Good luck!


To try to get rid of nature, is like living in a bubble. Try to work with it and you'll probably be surprised. Last summer I was fortunate enough to flush out 4 baby rabbits before I ran over them with the lawn mower! I got them one by one and put them over in the woods-phew! I've seen a few in the back yard, but none bother my flower garden, mostly feed on certain weeds that are out there. Another deterrent is tabasco mixed with water, spray on or around the plants. As far as moles go, I've used a store bought repellent. They were so bad I had them in my flower beds. Eventually they've gone from the front yard towards the back. Stay diligent.

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