Rabbit drives, which probably were conducted in times of high rabbit numbers, are depicted in some early American Indian rock art. Conservation Measures While the factors that affect cottontail populations are not well known, it is fairly easy to increase populations temporarily.
Cottontail meat is excellent eating and the fur is used in the clothing industry.
It is an underused game species in South Dakota, despite a long season, September 1 through the end of February, and generous bag limits.
Cottontails reach sexual maturity in approximately six months.
Grasses and forbs are the preferred foods in summer months.
(See the section on distribution for this information).
The eastern cottontail is mostly grayish-brown with scattered black hairs on the back and sides. The nape, or back of the neck, is a dark, rusty color. Weight ranges from 32 to 53 ounces (900-1500 grams).The fur of jackrabbits turns white in winter, but cottontails remain basically the same color throughout the year. Like other true rabbits, the young are altricial, or naked and helpless at birth.Jackrabbits are actually hares, and have precocial young.Precocial young are born fully furred and are able to leave the nest shortly after birth.Distribution The eastern cottontail is found in shelterbelts, wooded draws, creeks, and river bottoms. Eastern cottontails are found statewide with the exception of the higher elevations of the Black Hills.The desert cottontail looks very similar to the eastern cottontail but is smaller and paler.