I didn’t do a lot of rabbit hunting with my dad growing up. He was a doctor, and he didn’t have a huge amount of free time. When he did get time off this time of year, we usually hunted waterfowl instead.
But during my high school years, I found that I wasn’t the only kid who was constantly wishing I were out in the field with a rifle or shotgun, rather than being forced to sit through yet another math or social studies class. Nearly every other kid in Riverton High School – boys and girls both – was also getting sidetracked in math by calculating how many more ducks or rabbits they could shoot over the weekend without violating the possession limit, or wondering if anything they were learning in chemistry could be used to mask their scent for an upcoming coyote hunt.
Somewhere along the way, we formed an unofficial, loose hunting club at school. Almost every weekend in February, a caravan of 10 or 12 pickups would converge on the Gas Hills, and a small platoon of us would fan out over the prairie, kicking rabbits out of sagebrush and yucca. These hunts almost always devolved into shooting competitions, when we found a stray Coke can out on the plains. Bragging rights for a week were on the line, and we took turns seeing who could hit the can first, or from the longest distance. Despite there being sometimes more than 20 of us out there looking for rabbits, the rabbit populations didn’t suffer much. We were much more interested in seeing who could bag the most Coke cans.
I still find myself plinking at cans when I go rabbit hunting today, but I’m a little more focused on the hunt. We only have a few weeks left for rabbit hunting, after all, and Coke can season lasts all year long.