Next Step-Rabbits?


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Yo Mama
May 19, 2009, 03:01 PM
I didn't grow up hunting. Untill my daughter was born, I just shot for fun and had guns for defense. In the last few years I got into bird hunting. I love it, and enjoy eating food that is natural.

I want to move up and hunt other animals. I was thinking Rabbit would be the next step, and I have land I'm allowed to use at this time. I had a few questions.

1. Is Rabbit ok to eat right now? It's legal to hunt, but is the meat any good right now?

2. The gross factor. How do you get over that sickening feeling when gutting? I just got over the little birds, and watched some vids on cleaning a rabbit, and it looks a bit more disgusting.

3. What is the easiest way to clean a rabbit?

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rmuzz
May 19, 2009, 03:44 PM
1)I have never eaten rabbit, but it is supposed to be practically without fat... I imagine it would be pretty healthy eating. I've been thinking about giving rabbit hunting a go myself, also not coming from a family that hunts. As soon as I get my hunter saftey/dnr classes in order and get my small game license etc all figured out sign me up. What are you planning on using to take your rabbits? I have a cz452 .22lr and a .410 bore, kind of depends where I go to do it.
2) When I gut fish I catch, or see an uncle dress a buck I keep in mind that its a meal there being prepared... I honestly feel more sick dealing with chicken legs I get at a grocery store vs dealing with food I killed myself. That rabbit had a good time in the wild while it lasted and if you take it in a clean humane way know that it had a better life than any factory animal out there.

3) I'm not sure the best way to gut them, I may have to check out those videos myself. When I was a kid I did some wilderness survival classes, teaching you to sent snares and traps for small animals. I was told that if you grab the front legs, hold it behind you and give it a strong overhead swing the insides all become outsides via the back door. No idea if thats a good way to do it given all modern conviences, or its any less gruesome to you haha. Id wait to hear from someone else about that though... it occured to me if done wrong it could be messy/ruin your day.

Yo Mama
May 19, 2009, 03:47 PM
I'm only able to use an air rifle for this as the land has some neighbors that the owner worries about. It seems to work ok, as he says he uses it when they destroy his plants, and videos on the net show an air rifle is just fine.

Walkalong
May 19, 2009, 04:07 PM
How do you get over that sickening feeling when gutting?Repetition I guess. Snapping Turtle was pretty gross the first time. Just a bowl full of guts, but really good eating. I figured out a better way to clean after the first one. Mom would cook anything we killed and cleaned...Good ol' Mom. Rabbit included. :)

woof
May 19, 2009, 04:09 PM
You can use a shotgun for rabbits and shoot them on the run after flushing them. I prefer to flush them, watch where they run, then stalk them for a head shot with a .22. As for getting used to gutting them, you just get used to it. Wait till you have to get used to field dressing a deer. Rabbit pan fried in a cast iron dutch oven is about the best game for the table IMO.

jmorris
May 19, 2009, 04:11 PM
I only do rabbit in the winter. The smell is the worst part about rabbit. I'd rather do deer/hogs even though it's more work. Thats one reason Dove remain my favorate animal to hunt the weather is the other. Walkalong hit the nail on the head, repetition is the only way that I know of.

jbkebert
May 19, 2009, 04:31 PM
You would have to check your local game laws concering if its okay to hunt rabbits right now. Kansas is open year round and you have a dailey bag limit of 10. I usually wait for first snow fall to hunt them but other than the fact they are having babies right now. Yes they do that more than once a year but this is a heavy time. As far as gutting a rabbit goes. I still field strip them. Take the rabbit and grasp around the chest area just behind the front legs and give a good squeeze. You'll feel a buldge start to form in the abdomen. Move you hands down one width and squeeze again. Some times it requires three but you get the idea. All of the entrails are forced through the rear end and end up in a pile on the ground. I would also recommend cleaning and cooling the meat fairly quickly. Other than that pan fried rabbit is pretty darn good eating.

rmuzz
May 19, 2009, 04:58 PM
You would have to check your local game laws concering if its okay to hunt rabbits right now. Kansas is open year round and you have a dailey bag limit of 10. I usually wait for first snow fall to hunt them but other than the fact they are having babies right now. Yes they do that more than once a year but this is a heavy time. As far as gutting a rabbit goes. I still field strip them. Take the rabbit and grasp around the chest area just behind the front legs and give a good squeeze. You'll feel a buldge start to form in the abdomen. Move you hands down one width and squeeze again. Some times it requires three but you get the idea. All of the entrails are forced through the rear end and end up in a pile on the ground. I would also recommend cleaning and cooling the meat fairly quickly. Other than that pan fried rabbit is pretty darn good eating.

Definatly know the laws, if there destroying plants there might be some regulation that gives you more latitude if you do have set seasons for rabbit? Yes? or do laws like that typically only count for full-blown farms, not just a land owners garden/plants/landscaping etc?

Cougfan2
May 19, 2009, 05:02 PM
Yo Mama, I grew up in Kansas hunting Rabbit. I can assure you, Rabbit is pretty fine eating, particularly as someone mentioned earlier, pan fried in a dutch oven. I would always wait until the first good frost to start hunting rabbit in KS. Rabbits are known to sometimes carry a disease called Tularemia (sp?). The sick ones usually die off after the first good frost. If you are cleaning a rabbit and see yellow/grayish spots on the liver, pitch it.

I always hunted them with a shotgun. Keep in mind that if you flush one and miss, wait a little while then hunt the area again. They will usually go back to the area they were flushed from within just a little while.

dagger dog
May 19, 2009, 05:39 PM
You never want to eat wild rabbit, before the first frost, that was becuse of the tulermia (parasite ,virus?), that can be transmitted to humans form ingesting under cooked rabbit or by transfering from infected intestines, the liver of the affected rabbits will have yellow spots on the liver. After the first frost or freeze the parasite is killed in its natual state and is less apt ot be transferred, from the rabbits food to the rabbit then to the human host.

Rabbit is on of the best game species going , the young ones can be fried as you would chicken, as matter of fact you can use the same coatings , seasoned flour etc. The older ones require some parboiling or pressure cooking, then the dredging in seasoned flour then fried.

Most local game laws will start the rabbit "season" late october, or mid November, which north of the Mason Dixon usually come around the first freeze, because of the threat of the tuleremia vector.

Yo Mama
May 19, 2009, 07:47 PM
I plan on boiling the meat for 2 hours. Would this lower the concerns over the illness?

jbkebert
May 19, 2009, 10:21 PM
I plan on boiling the meat for 2 hours. Would this lower the concerns over the illness?

Yes I think would kill anything. I will have to find a receipe for Rabbit stew I have not made it for years. My brother and I survived college off of wild game meat and a garden. Used to eat it on a bed of rice, man now I am hungry. If you are set on not waiting until the first frost just make sure you thourghly cook the meat, Skin the animal quickly and cool the meat off quickly. I would go as far as feild stripping the rabbit and then cutting up through the abdomen to expose chest cavity and placing in a cooler full of ice even placing ice in the chest cavity. Make one small cut near the rear end and flip knife over blase up and continuing the cut to the neck. Do not cut down through hair cut up through it. By doing this you will get a lot less loose hair to pick off of your meat. Go home remove the skin, head and any remaining entrails. Wash the meat well and make sure you remove any hair. Soak in salted water over night and then drain pat dry. Wrap in freezer paper and freeze or cook.

Good luck

jbkebert
May 19, 2009, 10:46 PM
Rabbit Stew

2 rabbits cut up into peices mostly hind leg is what you'll get
3 tbs vegtable oil
2 medium onions chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
2 tsp basil leaves
2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 bag frozen peas
3 carrots sliced
3 medium potatoes cubed
1 sm package of whole mushrooms
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste.

lightly coat rabbit with flour and salt and pepper. Brown in oil. Add onion, celery and spices reduce until onions soften, mix 4 tsp flour into the chicken broth add, rabbit reduction and vegtables in a dutch oven or casserole dish covered. Bake at 350 degrees enough for it to simmer slowly for 2- 2 1/2 hours. Serve with corn bread.

indoorsoccerfrea
May 19, 2009, 10:50 PM
grilled rabbit

1 rabbit (hind legs and forelegs if you can salvage them)
2 cups of vegetable oil
a pinch of salt, rosemary, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder
put mix into a ziploc bag with the rabbit legs and smoosh around and then let sit for a few hours in the fridge. take them out and grill, brushing the remainder of the mixture on as you go. 10-15 minutes is about all it takes. a little tough, but great taste.

if you want soft tender meat, either tenderize it or stew it. its good.

Tim the student
May 19, 2009, 11:25 PM
The only thing I can add that has not already been mentioned is that in this heat, I would have a cooler nearby and do make sure my meat is in it pronto. If you will be far from your truck, I personally might even try to take a small one strapped to my pack and stash it somewhere. You could even put a couple of pops in it for a nice refresing drink while youre gutting one up. No sense in killing a perfectly delicious rabbit only to have the meat spoil on you. It will happen faster than you think.

PT1911
May 19, 2009, 11:43 PM
easiest way... while still warm and before rigor sets in, you want to cut off their feet. Then, you want to pinch up some skin on their lower back and cut a small hole. once you have made the hole, insert your fingers and start to pull the skin away from the meat. as you loosen more skin, enlarge the hole until you are all the way around the rabbit (essentially making a tunnel from back to abdomen) then use your knife to cut the skin into two parts, the front (hole forward) and rear hole and back) then pull on one as you pull the other.. will feel like pulling off a wet sock. take care not to rip the skin and it will come off neatly with consistent pressure. when you get the skin to the neck and over the front legs(the skin will be draped over the head) go ahead and cut off the head. Same sequence for the rear.. when you get the skin to the tail and over the rear legs(draped over the tail) cut off the tail. your rabbit is now skinned... will take only a couple minutes, then proceed to make a cut into the chest ( I prefer to cut straight through the sternum )down into the abdomen but be sure to cut shallow into the abdomen as to not make a mess. then, pull out the entrails from the chest to the abdomen (top to bottom) should all come out in one good scoop. anything left (typically connective tissue) is easily removed. rinse in warm water and soak in butter milk and you have the makings of a fine rabbit dish.

bang_bang
May 20, 2009, 01:29 AM
I'm going to try taking a mess of rabbits this fall (lil critters are getting thick over here). I've never skinned one, but I can almost bet they are not near as nasty as gutting a bird.

Personally, I think a turkey or chicken is worse than rabbits. I can't really handle the smell of deer blood either. But after the first one each season, every one after that isn't nearly as bad. Just have to really get in the mood, breath through my mouth, and start hacking away.

6x6pinz
May 20, 2009, 05:07 AM
Don't know where you are from, no location in your profile. Here in AZ we can hunt them all year and I have done so for many years. The time of year is not important for rabbit as much as it is for hare. Took me a while to figure out why people waited for the first frost until I realized the two are different animals and have different habitats. Cottontails here will have parasites (fleas, ticks....) and if they have too many I just let the predators have them, not worth the risk of illness. Once you have cleaned a few rabbits you recognize what is normal and what is out of place. Keep you eyes open for abnormalities, spots on the liver, internal parasites, infected wounds, anything that is not normal. I have chosen to leave those for the predators. Rabbit is one of the best small game animals IMHO for sport and eating. I prefer a small bore shotgun with as light a load as I can effectively take them with. In my case that is a 2 1/2" 410 with 7.5 shot. I find 22s very effective but does a lot of damage to the rabbit. Very gross to see a head opened up after being hit with a 22, not that a shotgun blast to the intestines is any better.
Time will get you past the cleaning issues. I prefer to wear latex gloves when cleaning any game animal. this will help keep the smell of your hands as well as any possible diseases they might be carrying.

Oh as far as keeping the meat cool, blue ice pack in your game bag works great even in 100 plus weather.

bang_bang
May 20, 2009, 11:58 AM
I find 22s very effective but does a lot of damage to the rabbit.

A little brains now and then won't hurt anything. Head shots are quick for the rabbit, and saves meat. It's a win-win situation. Shotguns, well, I never fancy the taste of shot. I'm going to stick with a .22lr, jump the rabbits up, let them run around 25 yards (about as far away as they run when spooked) then take them.

I do have a .410 shotgun that doesn't see much field time anymore, might have to take it a day or two this fall for gits and shiggles.

Supertac45
May 21, 2009, 01:12 PM
I'd wait until Fall. I've eaten rabbits in another state during the summer when I was younger, and the hide and throat area usually had worms and etc. Just cook normally since 2 hours of boiling will render it down to nothing left.

MCgunner
May 21, 2009, 05:13 PM
If it's legal where you are, is here, spotlight 'em from a truck at night in the fields. You can slay 'em that way with the air gun. You'll get mostly running shots in daylight as you kick 'em out. I used to hunt 'em with a .22, but I hit more of 'em with a shotgun. Hunting with good beagles is my favorite way, but the most productive is probably driving around at night spotlighting them. I used to have a deer lease out in west Texas and I'd take along a .38. When going out in the mornings, I'd collect supper, camp meat until I could find a nice backstrap.

Rabbit is excellent eating. Fry it like chicken, stew it, smother it (with flour gravy) or mom's rabbit dumplin's. I have never tried to grill it, mighty dry meat for that, but it might work, don't know.





1. Is Rabbit ok to eat right now? It's legal to hunt, but is the meat any good right now?

The meat is fine year around. You have to worry about Tularemia this time of year, rabbit fever. If the rabbit seems lethargic, he might have it. Cooked meat is fine regardless, just wear rubber gloves to clean 'em and don't get any of the blood into any cuts on your hands. I've never known anyone to contract it, don't really scare me at all.

Also, this time of year, they might have ring worms under the skin, we called 'em "wolf worms" when I was a kid. The worms come off with the skin, not a biggy. Colder months, you don't have to worry about this, either.


2. The gross factor. How do you get over that sickening feeling when gutting? I just got over the little birds, and watched some vids on cleaning a rabbit, and it looks a bit more disgusting.

Heck, I can clean a rabbit without a knife! They don't bother me at all, the skin just tears off when it's warm. I cleaned my first one when I was 7, so I guess I'm used to 'em, squirrel, too. Ducks and geese, now they have an odor to 'em. I've cleaned a boat load and more over the years. The absolute WORST thing to clean IMHO is a danged chicken. :barf: Chickens are just plain nasty, but I still eat 'em.

3. What is the easiest way to clean a rabbit?

You can just tear the skin around the legs and pull it up over the head. Then, pull his pants down and the skin is off, cut feet and head off. Slit up the belly/sternum and dump the guts and wash out. Easiest animal I can think of to clean. No, wait, check that, breasting out doves is easier.

Yo Mama
May 21, 2009, 08:10 PM
I've gotten the Dove, and want to make a next step up in size of game. That's why I figured squirel or rabbit.

Is this something I could do on my own? I plan on having the comments and videos close by while I'm doing it.

jbkebert
May 21, 2009, 10:33 PM
http://www.google.com/images?q=tbn:2tB1k_v9nmbL2M::www.ashlandbaptistchurch.org/aabc/wp-content/elmer-fudd.jpg

Good wuck with the wabbits. Remember be vary vary quiet.:)

MCgunner
May 22, 2009, 08:15 AM
Well, I did it on my own. I'd go walking in the woods with my Benjamin .22 pellet rifle I got at age 7. One day, I guess I was about 8 or 9, I was walking along a path in the woods and a rabbit was just standing there, big swamp rabbit. I shot him in the head, he thumped a bit, I pumped it up and shot him in the head again. I was so excited, I spilled half the pellets on the ground out of the tin. LOL Brought him back to my grandpa all proud and grandpa did teach me how to clean the thing. I was on my own after that far as cleaning goes.

I got my Remington M512X .22 rifle at age 9 for my birth day and didn't use the Benjamin anymore, but pellet rifles have gotten more powerful. That old Benjamin no longer works, but was working, still, when I bought my chronograph in the 80s, and before taking that chrony to the range, I shot the Benjamin over it in the back yard to test it. Showed a little over 400 fps, not shabby for 1959 vintage. :D I've not chronographed my cheap .177 Crossman spring gun, says 1100 fps, but I don't think so, and it really depends on the weight of the pellet. Pellets vary. I killed squirrel quite dead with that old Benjamin when I was a kid and the Crossman seems to hit harder, whacks the heck outta grackles, I know that! Shoots right through 'em and leaves a good exit hole. I'm quite sure it'd take a rabbit out to 25 or so yards.

Yo Mama
May 22, 2009, 11:48 AM
Also, thanks for the recipes!!! I'm going this weekend and will let you all know. :)

Pulsar
May 26, 2009, 10:55 AM
easiest way to gut a rabbit i know
is to hold firmly with one hand around the rib cage (armpits?)
with the other hand grab right before the ribs end squeeze in and down towards the legs the guts should tear a hole and come out

fast and easy

Yo Mama
May 26, 2009, 01:49 PM
Well I went, and not nearly as many rabbits as I thought would be there. I shot one in the ass and it jumped up in the air and ran off quick. :what:

The only real shot I had :what:

MCgunner
May 26, 2009, 06:23 PM
Bwaaaa, ha, ha, ha! Sorry, couldn't help myself. :D BTW, the area of the ass, is the best meat. Move up to the front. LOL!!!!

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