With rabbit season scheduled to open on Nov. 22, South Carolina hunters might get a friendly push in the right direction from the 2011-12 Rabbit Hunter Survey recently released by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. The survey showed that the five top counties last year in terms of hunting success were: Lee, Greenwood, Hampton, Chester and Abbeville.

The survey, done by compiling records submitted by rabbit hunters for last season, compares success ratios based on the number of rabbits jumped per hour of hunting, based on a minimum of 25 hunts. Lee County hunters jumped 2.01 rabbits per hour, followed by Greenwood at 1.72, Hampton at 1.42, Chester at 1.4 and Abbeville at 1.38. Abbeville, Hampton and McCormick counties were tops in hunter activity.

Those numbers showed a slight increase over 2010-11 numbers, as well as an increase in harvest success. Last year, hunters averaged taking .92 rabbits per hour afield, compared to .77 the previous year.

Cooperators reported dry weather and above average temperatures as having a negative influence on hunting and dog performance this past year. Lack of quality rabbit habitat on public lands and restricted access on private lands leased by deer-hunting clubs remain as concerns among cooperators in the survey.

Statewide, rabbit hunting on private land runs from Nov. 22 through March 1. The daily bag limit is five rabbits.