A favorite game animal across America, especially for young hunters, cottontails are found throughout South Dakota. They thrive in a variety of areas, including brushy growth, shelterbelts and forest edges; they typically avoid large open areas. Cottontails are solitary animals that feed in the early morning and at sunset. They do not hibernate and remain active in the winter. Winter foods include stems, buds, and bark of woody vegetation. Some dedicated hunters will use specially trained dogs such as beagles to hunt cottontails. Although cottontails are excellent table fare, hunters must be cautious in handling carcasses. Cottontails are known to carry tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, both transmittable to humans. The Eastern Cottontail is common to South Dakota, but it isn't the only species found within the state. Mountain Cottontail and Desert Cottontail have been found in western parts of the state.