Saturday, June 11, 2005

Step 2B: Hunting

Written by Nick...

All you need to hunt is a New England Firearms Pardner in 20 gauge with a modified choke ($80). This one gun will fell anything in North America when used properly and responsibly.

Generally speaking, hunting is not quite as simple as fishing. It's also something I haven't done so much of. The only thing I've seriously hunted has been rabbits. They are easy enough. Any shotshell loaded with No. 6s or smaller will do fine for rabbits out of the gun I mentioned out to about 30-40 yards. Take your shotgun, go walking through the woods or prairie, stomping and kicking every little bit of brush or briars you find. Don't pass up even the smallest bits of cover. If you see a patch of grass and say "That's too small for rabbits, there won't be any in there" I guarantee that's where you'll find a rabbit. When you jump it and it's running off, aim a little bit ahead of it and pull that trigger. The best possible outcome is that the rabbit's head will catch the very edge of the shot pattern. That way you won't have any shot in your meat, which isn't all that pleasant.

You clean a rabbit almost like you do fileting a fish. Grab the fur about the middle of the body and pull with both hands, the fur will strip right off. Leave the fur on the head side, but take the fur all the way off the back-end and legs. You can leave the fur on the feet. Then all you have to do is filet the backstraps off each side of the spine just like a fish. Then cut off the hind legs, there's a joint in there that's just tendon and your knife will slice right through you just have to find it. Then cut the feet off the legs, a little more trick but the same idea. If the front legs aren't shot up too bad, you can get those too, but I usually just leave those for my cats or hound since there's not much meat on them anyway.

Right now we wrap our catches in freezer paper and stick them in the freezer. We are, however, working on alternative methods of storing meat because the next step in the path to self-reliance and independence is to reduce or eliminate using the utilities.

I will write more to this chapter when I have more experience hunting other game.

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