Rabbit Hunting Boy

Last Thursday, Marlene and James came home from the farmer’s market and the car had barely stopped in our driveway before James was out the door, running into the house to see me. It was a bit more enthusiasm than I’m accustomed to...

“Dad! Can I use your gun? I saw a rabbit up in the corn!”

He was referring to the small patch of open pollinated fieldcorn I planted up in my neighbor Don’s field. I said, “Do you think it’s still there?”

He responded somewhat frantically, “Yes. It ran into the corn. Can I use your gun?”

I said okay, figuring it would be an effort in futility on his part, and warned him not to run and to be very careful. Then I turned my attention to Marlene, quizzing her about how things sold for her at the market.

A short while later there was a gunshot in the distance, but I didn’t give it much thought. A few minutes later, I heard James outside the kitchen window saying in a sing-song voice, “I got it.”

I looked out the window and there he was standing with the gun and the rabbit and a big smile on his face. I was amazed. “Hey! I gotta get a picture of that!” I said to him. I grabbed my digital camera (which, if you haven't noticed, I’ve been keeping close by these days) and snapped this picture.

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By the way, some who read this story may wonder what we did with the rabbit. Well, we did not eat it. James took it way up the hedgerow across from our house and threw it in the weeds. Some sort of wild critter will make a meal of it. I know they’re cute but rabbits are varmints like rats or woodchucks. There is no shortage of them hereabouts and they eat the garden.


If you like hunting, trapping, guns, and stuff like that, I invite you to read some more of my essays...

How Not to Shoot The Bull

Trapping Class

The Charging Woodchuck

Going to The Trapper's Convention

Boys Will Be....Warriors (Part 1)

Boys Will Be...Warriors (Part 2)

Life Lessons From an Old Maine Woodsman

How to Butcher a Chicken

The Fun, Fast Way to Skin a Deer


Anonymous said...

Woohoo! for James! Great work. Yes, they are varmints. No need to convince me.


James said...

Nice shooting, and I understand how you must feel, but auughh!! Tossing a tasty critter like that. I look at rabbits as part of my garden's produce. Corn, squash, tomatoes, rabbits. Do what Mr. McGregor did and put the rascal in a pie. Rabbits skin and clean easier than just about anything (much easier to process than a chicken), and the meat is the best, very tasty but mild compared to most game meats.

Patti said...

good shot! (poor rabbit)

Madcap said...

My boy would be jealous. He's almost nine, and panting for the opportunity to rid the countryside of "gophers" (actually Richardson's Groundsquirrels, but we call them gophers up here.) We're hoping to be out on some land next year.

Emily said...

What?!! I can't believe you didn't eat it! Or at least skin it! Not that I would have, mind you. :) That makes me wonder though about the safety of eating game. How does one tell whether it is healthy enough to consume? By the way, good going there, James. You're the man! I just love your boy adventure stories, Herrick? Are you having James keep a journal, too?

Marci said...

Great shot James!!!! Yes, they are destructive and very plentiful this year around here. Although with 2 dogs in the yard, we don't get many rabbits or squirrels. Our dogs catch rabbits and eat them. They also catch groundhogs and eat them. My one dog goes down in their hole and gets them or their babies. She comes back with dirt all over her head and her latest snack. I have a picture of one of the groundhog heads left in our yard your son would love. It is just sitting there looking at you. =)

Emily, one way you can tell is by looking at their liver after you butcher them.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hey Everybody,

Thanks for your comments. I have yet to eat Rabbit, James. I've been told that you're not supposed to eat them in July or August because of worms? Does that make sense? Or is it just a convenient excuse on my part?

I did not grow up preparing and eating wild game so I still have the city boy reservations. I'll overcome them, mind you, but things like this have to be done incrementally. We're working our way from the top to the bottom, starting, six years ago with deer. We have processed a deer every year since then. So we're making progress.

Emily, James has started a joournal a couple of times but doesn't seem to stick with it. Robert is still writing in his and I've been meaning to post some excerpts.

Marci, Wow, that is one cool dog that goes down the hole after the woodchucks. Is it a special variety? maybe a terrier? Our dog, Annie, would be jealous of that. She gets excited and digs out the homes sometimes but doesn't usually get them that way.

Marci said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marci said...

Herrick, we have Australian Shepherds. Someone else was asking about our dogs. I posted a picture of them on my blog today.

James said...

Herrick, actually there is no problem eating a healthy rabbit any time of year. I used to believe this myself, but it is mostly a myth. It is true that if you get real cold winters it will kill off most sick rabbits. But most wild animals are not sick and don't live long if they are. If you buy any meat at the grocery store, I can assure you that you are much safer eating a wild rabbit. I prefer anything I shoot to anything I can buy at the store, but this took awhile for me too, since I also grew up suburban.

toolman said...

settler I agree nothing is much better than fried rabbit and biscuits and gravy...you can tell a sick rabbit or for that case any sick critter by its actions, if it acts normal throw em on the barby.

Anonymous said...

nice shot

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment about worms in the summer months, I don't understand why worms would go away in the winter for a rabbit that was already infected. Wouldn't the body heat of the rabbit keep the worms alive in the winter? I can't get a decent explanation on this.

Anonymous said...

oh that's just great. teach your kid senselessness towards life and encourage waste. He'll grow up to be a real treat.

Anonymous said...

I am going to kill you if you do not stop shooting rabbits they are cute and nice!My rabbit kicks people that are like you so beware!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!