5 Varmint Animals Great For Hunting When Deers Are Not Available

Small Game Hunting | Varmint Animals Great For Hunting When Deers Are Not Available | featured

Feel like your skills are always a bit rusty at the start of every hunting season? Try varmint hunting! It's a great way to sharpen your shooting and tracking skills while waiting for the next hunting season.

RELATED: Complete Deer Hunting Checklist

Varmint Hunting | 5 Animals You Can Legally Hunt All Year Round

1. Coyotes

A Coyote is watching in the woods | varmint animals

There's an abundance of coyotes. In fact, it's legal to hunt as many coyotes as you want in most states all year round. Some livestock farmers even pay hunters to get rid of the coyotes in their area.

If you want to make some extra cash, try selling their hide. During the colder seasons, coyote hide can be sold at around $20 to $30 per piece. Those who hunt these wild dogs by the dozen will make a handsome profit.

Their meat is edible. Just be careful not to eat rabid ones. Either way, not many people—hunters and non-hunters alike—can stomach eating coyote meat, no matter how well-cooked it is.

Hunting Tips

Coyotes are nocturnal varmint animals that spend most of the daytime asleep, so go hunting at night. Ideally, set the trip anywhere around 5 P.M. to 5 A.M. in the morning.

For the bait, make sure to use a foul-smelling one such as deer, hog, pig, or beaver carcasses. If you're not comfortable bringing around animal carcasses with you to the trip, you can opt to use afterbirth. This placenta extract has an extremely strong, pungent odor.

2. Rabbits

Hunters with Catch: Hare, Duck and Pheasant in hand | varmint hunting magazine

Rabbits are great game. There are plenty of these small critters to go around, and in most states, you are free to take home as many as you want.

Also, rabbit meat is considerably tastier and more appetizing than the meat of other varmint examples like coyotes, armadillos, and raccoons. The reason not as many eat rabbits is these critters are generally seen as household pets, not game.

Hunting Tips

Both beginners and experienced hunters have trouble locating rabbits as they are very small and fast. Many times, they'll spot you before you even spot them.

A good solution here is to look for their eyes rather than bodies. Rabbits have large, sparkling, glass-like eyes that stand out in grassy backgrounds.

Also, wear protective gear. A common mistake beginners make is underestimating rabbits. Yes, they don't hold a candle to larger animals like coyotes, but they're equipped with razor-sharp claws.

If you're not careful, they'll end up clawing you. Trust us, having a wild rabbit scratching your unprotected neck as it fights for its life is not something to joke about.

3. Armadillos

Standing armadillo watching beside a fallen tree trunk | varmint rifle

Armadillos are perky varmint animals ranchers and farmers despise. They destroy and eat crops. In fact, some lose thousands' of dollars worth of crops during the cold winter months when they are most active.

When hunting armadillos, always aim for the head. They have tough bodies so you might not be able to break the shell and kill them with one shot if you're not a skilled shooter.

Also, dispose of the armadillo carcasses properly. Many armadillos are coated with a virus known to cause Hansen's disease or leprosy among humans.

Hunting Tips

Armadillos have an amazing sense of smell. In fact, they primarily rely on their noses for their day-to-day activities as their eyesight isn't the best and they're very nearsighted. It's easy to sneak up on armadillos as long as you're motionless and odorless.

Make sure you get rid of any unnatural scents on your body. Apart from getting a good scent eliminating solution, use unscented soap, shampoo, and laundry products as well before going hunting.

RELATED: Pheasant Hunting 101 | A Complete Guide

4. Crows

hooded crow | varmint hunting texas

Crow hunting is a great way to improve your shooting skills. Efficiently locating and gunning down these agile, fast-moving birds is great practice in preparation for duck and turkey season.

Also, ranchers hate crows. They are very destructive and have been ruining crops for hundreds of years now. That's why farmers always have a scarecrow up.

In most states, it's legal to hunt crows all year round. There are areas, however, that only allow hunters to shoot crows at specific times of the day.

Hunting Tips

Crows are intelligent bids. They won't respond to baits or calls unless they confirm it's safe to land and that there are no bird-preying predators around.

That's why you need a decoy. Ideally, you should have around four to five crow decoys set up. These birds will respond to sounds much better if they see there are other “birds” in the perimeter.

If you have extra funds and regularly do crow hunting, we suggest investing in battery-powered moving decoys.

5. Raccoons

A raccoon plays outside on the water | varmint examples

The number of messy garbage cans and bins outside residential establishments is proof that there is no shortage of raccoons in the country, so hunters won't have to limit themselves to just one or two coons.

Plus, they are actually more valuable than other varmint animals. You can sell their fur for quite a handsome profit if you collect enough. You won't make a lot of money, but you'll at least be able to break even and get back the costs of your hunting gear.

Their meat is edible and there are plenty of ways to cook them. However, if you find the idea of eating freshly killed raccoons a bit off, you can use them as bait when hunting larger animals such as coyotes instead.

Hunting Tips

It's best to go raccoon hunting at night when they are most active. Make sure you bring a bright lamp with you as these fast critters are extremely hard to spot.

Also, bring a coonhound with you. Some breeds you can train to spot raccoons include Treeing Walker, American English, Black and Tan, Plott, Bluetick, Redbone coonhounds.

Make your varmint hunting sessions a success by bringing a reliable, efficient varmint rifle with you! Gunscom shares some of the best options:

Quantity precedes quality when you're varmint hunting. Unlike with deers, you don't have to limit yourself to just one animal. In most states, you are free to hunt as many varmints as you want.

To make the trip more productive, try scouting the area for other games as well. Study the perimeter to see where deers, ducks, pheasants, turkeys like to rest and assess where the best hunting spots are.

Have you tried hunting any of these animals before? Share your varmint hunting experience with us in the comments section below!

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