Grit Blogs > Another Kind of Drew

Rabbit Trap Yields Nothing, No Rabbit Stew Yet

A photo of Drew OdomMy homesteading life rarely leads into the kitchen. Pan does most of the cooking and for good reason. She is amazing and is able to blend homemade with 'good-for-you' with delicious. Me? I am quite astute at mixing grill with darkened meat with edible. 

I must confess though that we are pretty well stuck in either "chicken mode" or "beef mode" with a bit of pork every so often. We rarely have fish as it is so hard to get fresh when you live in middle Georgia. Good deer meat is rare as well and we are pretty picky about who we accept it from since - it has been my experience - the taste is all in the cleaning and preparation. And game? Well, game is just beyond us. Until recently. 

While strolling along the Interwebs one rainy Saturday I came across a recipe for some hearty, rabbit stew. "Rabbit stew," I asked myself? I had honestly thought that existed only in Elmer Fudd cartoons. But here was an easy to follow, delicious looking recipe for such. I decided we should try it. 

According to my family, rabbit had been a staple of my grandfather's diet and so I figured I must have some predetermined qualities that would allow me to catch one of these oft-forgotten critters. I set about researching how to make a rabbit trap. I had seen rabbit droppings and foot prints in the orange clay so I knew they were prevalent in my area. 

I decided on a simple, wooden rabbit trap perfectly laid out by Dwayne's This and That.

Rabbit trap from Dwayne's This and That

Within a half hour I was ready to set it out and within a day or two, I figured, would be reading up on how to clean and prepare the rabbit I had caught.

Setting our rabbit trap.

Pan and I took the trap out in one of our back fields being careful not to let too much of our scent permeate the box. Once in position we put in the bait; peanut butter, carrots and lettuce. We then set the door and sprayed some apple cider around the perimeter. I had such a good feeling about this endeavor. 

Week 1 – Nothing. I find all sorts of things to blame it one - weather, trap building, smart rabbits. 

Week 2 – Nothing. Discouragement begins to set in and I question my ability to actually homested. 

Week 3 – SUCCESS

Last night, Pan and I went down to the trap to see it had been tripped. The box was heavy, and because we heard no noise, we figured the rabbit had expired. I knew this was not ideal and figured this would be a lost cause. 

When we arrived up to the house I lifted the door up a bit so Pan could take a picture of what was inside. As the flash went off I watched her mouth utter the words, "It's hairy.....it's a possum....ewwwwww....a possum!" I quickly shut the door.

Still awesome, but just a possum.

The rest is fairly uneventful. We took the box back down and dumped the possum...well, the two possums (yes, two had found their way into our trap)....back where they came from. We took the trap up to the shop to be reconstructed and aired out in the hopes of trying again. But even with all this rabbit adventure, I began to think to myself how I might have felt if I was a true homesteader without a job to support us. I have heard of possum stew and I can see how if you live off the land and all you catch is a possum, you do what you have to. But I was still a bit discouraged the rest of the night and wondered how I would have done things differently. 

In the meantime, I look at my trap and my bait and my stew recipe, hoping that one day I will catch more than a case of the rabbit stew blues!

anotherkindofdrew
3/22/2010 1:01:10 PM

@Susan - Point well taken and my next build will be much more visibly conscious. hahahahah


susan_7
3/22/2010 12:28:45 PM

Drew, When I was a kid, we lived way out in the bush for two winters. I longed to have a snowshoe hare as a pet, so my Dad built a small outdoor pen (6x6 and about 3 feet tall, with the top covered so the rabbit couldn't escape) and a wooden live trap with little airholes in it. My brother and I set the trap along one of the hundreds of rabbit trails near the cabin. The first time we checked it, it was closed! I was so excited! I peered through a hole, but could only see darkness and hear scrabbling. We carried the trap back to the pen and I crawled inside on hands and knees while my brother closed the pen door and looked on. I opened the live trap door and out flew a magpie, squawking and flapping and hitting the chicken wire in a mad attempt to flee. Being a girl of ten, I naturally started to scream, covering my head and cowering as I thought that bird was going to peck me to death! My brother danced around outside the pen laughing his head off. Yes, indeed, a live trap you can see into is a must! Susan Close to the Earth in Alaska


nebraska dave
3/19/2010 7:46:13 PM

Drew, the good news is you caught a possem. The really good news is you didn’t catch a skunk. A few times my catch and release animal catching relative has come up with a skunk in the trap. Then what? I’m not sure what to tell you since you can’t see inside your trap. With an open wire trap, my relative will slowly approach the trap holding up a tarp in front of him and throw it over the cage. Once it’s over the cage the skunk will not spray .... most times. If it does it is confined. Then my relative would take the tarp cage and all to a remote area usually across a river and lift the tarp up on the gate end just enough to open the gate. Then run like heck and stay far away as Mr. Skunk will definitely not be in a good mood. When I was courting my first wife, I would spend weekends with her and her two brothers. They would take me hunting in the back woods of Missouri. One night we came upon a skunk walking down the road in front of the car. Quick as a wink my future brother-in-law jumped out of the car; ran up behind the skunk; grabbed it by the tail; and hoisted it up in the air. Apparently skunks can’t spray when the back feet are off the ground. He gave me the skunk to hold and shot the skunk in the head while I held it out arms length by the tail. He was so excited because a skunk pelt brought more money than a rabbit or raccoon.