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Cottontail numbers, like most animal populations, run in cycles of highs and lows. The population builds up to a very high level, then disease, strife and poor reproduction down to a low level. This low may continue for two or three years before a slow increase begins to bring numbers back to another high. Peak populations usually occur at intervals of about 10 years. Within this 10 year cycle, there may be local areas having highs and lows opposite to the overall state cycle. Also, some areas may hold a continued high or low for several years and not seem to go through the cycle change.
“It is indeed a boom year for rabbits in the county,” Spillman said, “Rabbit populations here are cyclical and about every seven or eight years you see a large spike in the population followed by a relatively steep (and quick) decrease as the boom attracts predators like foxes and hawks which bring the population down… It’s likely the decline will start to become noticeable as early as this November,”