Shhhh! We be hunting wabbits. Been keeping busy these cold months. Got a hankerin for some wabbit to go along with the squirrel we’ve been noshing on. Having grown up in the 60’s, the most common word association with squirrel is moose, as in moose and squirrel. Mostly spoken with a Boris Baddenough voice. While I’d love a moose to go along with Rocket J Squirrel, sadly Kansas has no moose. So, you do what you can with what you have and the next thing you know, you’re shlumping around the woods with a goofy hat on your head and hear in the distance, faintly, “What’s up, Doc?”
I had studied the Fuddster extensively in my youth and came to the early conclusion, there had to be a better way. A way that a wabbit actually ended up in the pot. And as is my way now, I turned to the University of All Knowledge, better known as the Internet. An amazing goulash of knowledge and lunacy. Barking moonbats with pearls of wisdom hanging about their necks. It would be nice for them to, now and then, maybe look down and avail themselves of said pearls, but what fun would that be?
My favorite place for profiting from the blood, sweat and tears of others is YouTube. Never in any other time, have you been able to learn stuff that it would take you years of hard work to accomplish back in the day. That is if you can tear yourself away from watching kitten videos, and not everyone is up to that task.
I have recently, thanks to the boys on YouTube, gotten into trapping. More out of necessity than anything else. We have had a rodent problem. Had one for years, but like all things, it takes awhile for you to recognize you have a problem, and even longer to figure what to do about it. Since we have lived in rural Kansas, rats are part of the scenery. Wood rats, Pack rats, Norway rats, filthy, vehicle chewing rodents that love to crawl up your tires and eat all those pretty colored wires. I finally had had enough. Studied up on what to do, and since I did not drink of the Walt Disney cool aid, catch and release was not an option. I don’t like poisons because the dog will get into them and it’s just not sporting.
Got me some Duke #0 long spring traps from Amazon. Old school justice. The first day I put them out, I caught 11 wood rats. Without bait. Wood rats, not the brightest bulb in the pack. I burned through those guys in no time. Then I started getting some snapped traps with no customers. I had entered the smart rat zone. Norway rats, also known as brown rats, house rats and so on, are generally known as the super genius of the rat world and these are the guys that brought black death to Europe back in those fun loving olden days. These dudes are tricky, they can steal bait and not even snap the trap. I had to up my game. Learned a new term too. ADC – Animal Damage Control. People get paid to remove these guys and here I was doing it for free. Might have to change that. Anyway, I started baiting my traps with corn and peanut butter and I caught the slow and retarded, but most of the traps were licked clean. OK, I tried dried apple and started batting 90 percent, but there were a few slippery guys left and now it was on like donkey kong, dude.
One rat foiled me 5 times. So I brought in the big guns. Koro traps, made by those crazy Canuks, in the frozen wastelands of what’s North of Minnesota. They were the bees knees for this type of situation. A little pricey, but worth it. Out of all the smart rats, none have resisted the siren song of dried apple, wired lovingly to the Koro pan. Just like dear old mother would do. If she had a rat problem.
Now that most of our rats had turned into good rats, it was time to broaden my horizons, as it were. We didn’t really have a rabbit problem, per say, but I did notice increasing numbers of bunnies eating my free buffet of corn and other assorted chow, meant for my day walking birdies, squirrels and quail. It was time to get my Fudd on.
Saw a sweet design for a live trap from Meat Trapper. I was able to cobble the thing together with stuff that I had in the shop. His advice was to bait it with alfalfa cubes or something that would not attract predators. The reason being, if something, like say a possum, gets stuck in the box, it will smell like a possum and will now be your new possum box, instead of Bugs Bunny’s new condo. And that’s what I did, put in a few cubes of alfalfa and set it out near our bait station. And waited. And waited. I could see the wretched cotton tails frolicking at the bait station, but none would cast a glance at my inviting new home I had made for them. Clearly the Fudd influence was harshing my bunny mellow. OK fine. I ordered some rabbit gland lure from one of the ADC vendors and when it came, applied a few stinky drops into my box, now know as wabbit cozy.
As they say, location is everything. So I moved my wabbit cozy up on the ridge, out of sight of the bait station, and let nature do its thing. The next day, as I was walking up the hill to my rendezvous with destiny, I found myself, slumping a bit, traipsing along like some mentally addled nimrod of lore. When the ridge was surmounted and the wabbit box in sight, I had a feeling in my chest that Fudd only dreamed about. The door was closed, the flag was up with a Do Not Disturb vibe wafting about it. I had captured a wabbit. I tipped the box on end and opened the door. I could not resist an ironic “What’s up, Doc?” and let the Fudd pass through me.
The rest is, well, icky parts, but what the heck, this ain’t a cartoon, it is real life. Because a smart trapper is an optimist and always expects to have something in his trap, I brought Thumper with. It’s my little buddy that takes care of life’s little problems. Like having a live bunny in the wabbit cozy. A few moments later, I had a good bunny and headed to the shop for butchering. A word to the wise. Always carry a freshly good bunny by the hind feet, lest you end up with a wet leg. Just saying.
To butcher a rabbit is simplicity in itself. You hang it by a hind foot and if you are hurting for tools, just butcher the thing with your bare hands. Bunny hide is very delicate. It rips easily and you start with the hind legs. Just rip the hide and pull down. Do this with both legs and continue to pull down, which should come easily, down to the front legs. Push the front legs up so the elbow sticks up through the hide. Stick a finger under the crook of the elbow, and push it through to the other side, then pull down. The hide will rip off near the end of the paw. Continue to pull the hide down until the head is reached, and since you don’t use the head, and if you have a knife, use it to separate the head and that will give you a nice package of the head and hide, which makes a great bait for coyotes or bobcats.
You are now left with a naked bunny. Take some time to remove any hair left on the meat. You should not have much. Now, as I said, you can do this without a knife, by pinching the belly and tearing it, pushing your forefinger up past the ribs. It works better with a knife and when you remove the wiggly inside parts, take a moment to examine the liver. It is the big, deep red organ in amongst all the other colorful parts. The liver should be deep and dark red with no white spots, and if it is not, discard the whole caboodle, you have have a sick bunny. If the liver looks healthy, continue.
To finish the job, you can chop or just break the feet off. Yea, I know, to the weak of stomach, this kind of thing is just off putting. Sorry Bunky, life gets your fingers bloody sometimes and that’s the way it goes. I have had, what I had thought of as rational adults, just about loose it when talking about this. I’ve had to counsel them, gently, about the birds and the bees, and the way Mother Nature treats her furry children, and they are incredulous. Quite a few of these snowflakes reject that whole premise, and for that I feel sorry for them. They are so far insulated from life, they don’t recognize anything but their own lunacy anymore, almost as if it has become a religion. That makes it their problem, not ours. And when Reality comes knocking on the door, a little Fudd might just save the day. Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have a few rabbit hides I need to tan. Waste not, want not. Channel your inner Elmer, you know you want to.