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Rabbit derby Saturday in Heuvelton

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Thumper and Bugs, beware on March 3. The Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department will host its first-ever rabbit derby that day at the fire hall, 95 State St.

“There’s no doubt about it, chasing rabbits is fantastic sport,” said organizer Craig S. Martin, a volunteer firefighter. “People hunt rabbits for food, furs, and fun.”

Rabbit hunting isn’t complicated, according to Mr. Martin, who said it can be as simple as a walk in the woods with a shotgun, or as involved as loading up dogs and gear for a planned hunt at a specific location.

“There are plenty of rabbits around,” he said. “They like the thick stuff - good cover, like woods, brush, and briars. Your chances of shooting a rabbit are a lot better than bagging a deer. It’s not shooting, though, it’s hunting. I’ve been skunked before.”

Running from noon until 4 p.m., the derby costs $15 to enter, with pre-registration available at Doug’s Tavern, Heuvelton, Gray’s Gun Shop, Lisbon, Northwoods Outfitters, Potsdam, Bradley’s Service, Ogdensburg, and Hilltop Hunting, Morley. Same-day registration will not be available.

“This is an open-boundaries hunt,” Mr. Martin said. “We’re hoping for 75 entrants minimum, and would like to make this an annual event.”

The rules are pretty simple, he said, with prizes awarded by chance rather than by size or number of bagged rabbits.

“We have two groups of prizes, main prizes and door prizes,” Mr. Martin said. “If you get a rabbit, your name is placed in a hat. If your name is picked, you get your choice of prizes.”

Among the prize bounty, he added, are muzzle loaders, trail cameras, fishing gear, and turkey hunting packages.

There will also be a 50/50 drawing, refreshments available at cost, and door prizes for anyone participating or in attendance.

“Door prizes are coming from local businesses, and extra tickets will be for sale,” he said. “We have a wide range of prizes including gift certificates, seed for deer plots, limb saws, and local honey.”

Proceeds from the event, Mr. Martin said, will benefit the fire department.

“New turnout gear or other necessary equipment purchases,” he said.

For more information, contact Mr. Martin at 344-7569.

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