11 January 2011

Hunted, Roasted Rabbit

Sunday morning I drove to my good friend Bob’s farm. The temperature was in the low 20s with a decent wind. After taking some practice shots with the 12 and 20 gauge shotguns we went off to hunt rabbits. Although I was gung-ho about hunting I had a few reservations. First, the shotguns were very simple and had no safety switch. Second, I had never hunted, or shot rather, moving on foot in a group. Ultimately I did not want to pull a Dick Cheney.

I walked into the field with enough shells in my pocket to wipe out several generations of rabbits or take over a small country, whichever came first. Not having dogs, we beat through the brush ourselves. Bob periodically warned me we may not actually see anything. I would respond that I realized that a part of the hunt involves locating the prey. Hell, I was completely satisfied braving the elements, tramping through brush with a gun in hand. I can see the benefit of having a dog root out the rabbits for you. Besides not having to walk through brush and the dog having a heightened sense of smell, it gives the hunter more resources that can be devoted to having the gun ready to shoot.

About halfway through our walk we saw our first rabbit. Neither of us had a good shot at it so it got away. It was the largest wild rabbit either of us had seen. We did our best to track the prints in the snow, but to no avail. Not long after that we had another rabbit appear and that one did not get away. I managed a nice, clean head shot and was quite impressed with myself.

Straight out of Fargo
We hunted longer but saw nothing else. With the wind biting at that point, we grabbed our kill and went back to the house.

Butcher's Board
Bob’s father was very kind and did the gutting and skinning for me. This is something I have full intentions of learning, I just did not want to rough up the only rabbit. We went off to wash the final product and came back to the barn cats having a feast with the entrails. Luckily I had already saved the heart and liver for myself!

Waste Not
Once home I further washed any hair off, wrapped it in bacon and roasted. I expected the taste to be gamier, but it turned out to be rather mild and quite delectable. I think next time, hoping there will be a next time, I will try a stew. I must admit that there is something uniquely satisfying about killing and cooking your own food.

Heart and liver fried in bacon fat = Amazing!