Rabbit as Food

Rabbit Vital Statistics
34 to 50 cm in length, 1.1 to 2.5 kg
Height to chin, 15-16cms
Height to clear the ears i.e. chin to ear tips 18-20cms
rabhead
Typically nocturnal EXCEPT in mating season which is January to June going into August if the weather is good. Feeding time Just before dusk to just before dawn.
An adult rabbit will normally stay within 200 m of the main burrow, but juveniles can move up to 4 km at the end of the breeding season.
This is the main danger time for spreading diseases between warrens.
Two thoughts on snaring.
First, you use a snare to hold the prey until you can get to it.
Most snared rabbit will (if possible) after a fight burrow into the nearest greenery and hide. Good for you as long as you remember where you left the snare. Some will struggle until choked to death (see stop on snares).
Those get VERY stressed as a ground strangle is slow. It usually leaves the rabbit in full view.
Not good as a passer-by might see it and KNOW someone is on their territory.
Bad PERSEC.
Having said that, I like to dangle and strangle. Three reasons.
  • The first is lifting things off the ground prevents them wriggling out or even biting through a snare.
  • Secondly, it lifts the corpse out of the reach of ground feeders like rats.
  • Thirdly, a quick strangle doesn’t make the meat “stressed”.
    The longer the death, the more bad chemicals are produced in the body and that affects the quality of the meat.
    OK, a minor point but eating is what it’s all about isn’t it?
These traps are easy to fabricate.
traps
The two traps on the left are shown baited.
They can be used for squirrel, and other “munching” prey.
The batten / nail peg is something which you can set up VERY easily.
Two alongside each other make a brilliant roller trip type trap and it can be used to form part of a teeter trap.
Key rings are typically 1″ across. Bear in mind that your prey will want to escape. If it has teeth, para-cord snares can be chewed. Again, that’s why I like dangle.
Bear in mind that a rabbit may only weigh 1-2 kg BUT when struggling the force can top 5-10 kg.

There will be a time though when dangle and strangle can’t be set-up.
Now we’re talking about rabbit bouncing through fields along paths they often establish i.e. ‘beats’. We’re using snares in a different way now.

The little snare sketch shows (in cm) a typical set-up.
It might seem a bit high but the idea is to sit the snare JUST UNDER CHIN HEIGHT of a travelling rabbit and big enough TO CLEAR IT’S EARS.

Professional trappers use wire “tealers” to support snares in the right position. Nice, but not essential. 

snare

The stop 13 cm from the snares eye is a legal requirement in the UK. 
It stops a strangle and just holds the prey until you arrive to dispatch it.
Average snare LENGTH is about 52-55cms (21-22 inches).
The peg is typically 8-12 inches long.

For rabbit running along beats, they tend to lope (little hops). Thus you’ll see little “depressions” along their route. 

beats


Rabbit travel both ways along these trails or “beats”. Ignore the larger ones, they rest there, pick a straight path and not at a junction of a beat. i.e.
You must let the rabbit get up speed and blunder into the snare.
That’s all for rabbit, just a quick brief look at trapping them.


Anything will do to hold the snare, just don’t handle things in bare hands.

To put it bluntly, YOU STINK!

All humans do and your scent is the biggest “TURN OFF” ever to a cautious rabbit, squirrel, or bird. You don’t have to smoke your traps or bury them though, most snaring is done with the animal on the move. Just don’t use smelly soap on your hands before setting traps.

Shooting with an Airgun (UK limited at round 12 ft-lbs).

If you choose to shoot, remember that 40% of a rabbit is gut.
Where possible always go for the head shot. 
If, and only if, you are closer than 15 yards, a straight on chest shot is permissible as it won’t affect the meat.

rabhead

Finally three disease cautions.

Myxomatosis. (Virus spread by flea and ticks) 
Not harmful to pets or man YET a rabbit suffering from it will be in extremely poor state and susceptible to other diseases.

Symptoms, listless, blind, swollen eyes.

RHD aka VHD.
(Virus spread by flea and ticks) 
Extremely toxic effect on rabbit flesh and therefore dangerous to man and pets.
Symptoms, bleeding from nose and mouth. 
EXTREMELY fast kill typically within 24 hours. 98% mortality.
Basically Ebola for rabbits. It is devastating causing internal bleeding and massive tissue toxicity.

Tularemia aka rabbit flu.
Caused by bacteria.

Spread by an infected tick, deer fly or other insect, and handling infected animal carcasses.
THIS IS A MAN KILLER. 
Initial symptoms look like flu BUT include :-
sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, and progressive weakness.
This can develop into pneumonia, chest pain, bloody sputum and can have trouble breathing and even sometimes stop breathing.
Other symptoms depend on how a person was exposed bacteria. 

These can include ulcers on the skin or mouth, swollen and painful lymph glands, swollen and painful eyes, and a sore throat. 

Symptoms usually appear 3 to 5 days after exposure to the bacteria, but can take as long as 14 days. Wear gloves, follow tick safety procedures, use strong DEET repellants. Report symptoms to a doctor ASAP and show them this article.

Treatment (Preferred choices)
Streptomycin, 1g IM twice daily

Gentamicin, 5 mg/kg IM or IV once daily

Treatment (Alternative choices)
Doxycycline, 100 mg IV twice daily for 14-21 days
Chloramphenicol, 15 mg/kg IV 4 times daily
Ciprofloxacin, 400 mg IV twice daily for 10 days

Mass Casualty Setting and Post exposure Prophylaxis
Preferred choices:
Doxycycline, 100 mg orally twice daily
Ciprofloxacin, 500 mg orally twice daily

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