The Kansas Bowhunters Association’s annual Bunny Hunt got underway Saturday at Cheyenne Bottoms. Between searches for cottontail, members enjoyed archery target shooting and the chance to relax outdoors among friends.
Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism notes that rabbits are an overlooked resource for winter hunting. “Prolific breeders, they are found throughout the state, and many hunters find the lack of competition for these elusive mammals a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of upland bird and deer seasons.” It’s a good way to put meat on the table, and the cottontail populations can be so good that nonresidents travel hundreds of miles to Kansas where rabbit hunting is a tradition.
Indeed, the Kansas Bowhunters Association has about 600 members, from all over the state and from other states, said Bob McCartney, state vice president.
More than 40 were expected this weekend at Cheyenne Bottoms, including McCartney and his family from Gorham.
His sons Jace and Judd posed for a photo in front of the first three kills of the day, and while 2-year-old Judd doesn’t actually hunt, 10-year-old Jace McCartney and his friend Aiden Morrell, 12, do. Eight-year-old Ryan Quint joined Morrell for some easy target practice. The event is open to all ages.
By Saturday afternoon, the campers and tents were set up, as well as targets 100 yards away, and the chili and vegetable soup for the evening meal were cooking.
“We might not shoot anything but we’ll eat well,” said Chris Mullins, a bowhunter from Hutchinson.
Ralph Renfro from Chase has been attending the annual Bunny Hunt at Cheyenne Bottoms for as long as he can remember.
“Kansas Bowhunters started because of this place,” Renfro said. “It started in 1973 — a hot summer with four guys shooting carp.”
The group exists to promote bowhunting and to protect our natural resources for future generations, Renfro said.
The Bunny Hunt continues until noon Sunday at the Cheyenne Bottoms campground. From the junction of U.S. 281 and NE 60 Road, head east for 1.25 miles. Look for the green KBA sign.
The next KBA event is Conservation Day on Saturday, March 17, at Lovewell Reservoir.