Archery season for deer and fall turkey began September 6.  Read the 2014-15 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide before hunting.​

The hunting season for dove and some other migratory birds began September 1.  Read the 2014-15 Dove Hunting Guide before hunting.​

 Rabbit Biology

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has three species of rabbits. The eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit is the most numerous and can be found throughout the state. The Appalachian cottontail (Sylvilagus  obscurus) can be found at higher elevations in the mountains of the southeast. It is very hard to tell the difference between the eastern cottontail and the Appalachian cottontail, the most reliable way to distinguish between the two is to examine the sutures or cracks in the skull. The last species that can be found in Kentucky is the swamp (Sylvilagus aquaticus) rabbit, and can be found in wetland areas in the western portion of the state.

Distinguishing between species:

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus):

  • Color:
    • Grayish brown with a white underside
  • Size:
    • 3 lbs.
    • 21"
  • Distinguishing Characteristic:
    • White puffball tail
  • Food:
    • Spring/Summer - Grasses/legumes
    • Fall/Winter - Bark/fruits of woody vegetation
  • Average Home Range:
    • 13 acres
  • Litter Size:
    • 4-5 litters per year
    • 3-5 young per litter

Appalachian Cottontail (Sylvilagus obscurus):

  • Color:
    • Dark gray-brown with a white underside
  • Size:
    • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs.
    • 14-19"
  • Distinguishing Characteristic:
    • Black strip around ears and black spot on forehead
  • Food:
    • Spring/Summer - Grasses/legumes
    • Fall/Winter - Bark/twigs/fruits/seeds/buds
  • Average Home Range:
    • .5 - 8 acres
  • Litter Size:
    • 4-5 litters per year
    • 5 young per litter

Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus):

  • Color:
    • Brownish-gray washed with black on the back and sides
  • Size:
    • 3-6 lbs.
    • 14-17"
  • Distinguishing Characteristic:
    • White underside turns to reddish-brown under neck.  Big-headed with short fur and thinly haired tail.
  • Food:
    • Spring/Summer/Fall - Grasses/sedges
    • Winter - Twigs/buds/seeds/fruit
  • Average Home Range:
    • 11 acres
  • Litter Size:
    • 4-5 litters per year
    • 2-3 young per litter

 
Source:  Feldhamer et. al. Wild Mammals of North America; Biology, Management, and Conservation.  The John Hopkins University Press. 2003