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Re: Catching Rabbits in Live traps

  • Subject: Re: Catching Rabbits in Live traps
  • From: "Andrew Lietzow" <andrewl@hostahaven.com>
  • Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 14:51:16 -0500

Bruce Banyai wrote:
RE:>>about those Havahart rabbit traps.

Bruce, would you happen to have a good recipe for rabbit stew?  I actually
prefer them breaded first, then fried--just like how Grandma used to cook
'em down on Amwell Acres, in Wayne County, Ohio.  It takes me back a few
years, but I remember it like it was yesterday....
We were the courageous volunteer defenders of Wayne County, Ohio and all the
townspeople of Sterling, where the rabbits were so thick they'd chase little
children back into their houses, were it not for the brave grandchildren of
the Swainhart/Amstutz Klan.  Their heroic efforts kept the population of
those pesky, pugnacious and voracious, garden-eating rabbits in check, so
life in town was at least bearable for most.  So plentiful were the rabbits
in Sterling that you'd trip over them trying to do your chores, or just
going out to fetch the mail.  To gaze out our farm kitchen window and not
see a rabbit was indeed an exceptional day.   They were everywhere, and
that's the way things were out on the farm, at the edge of town, 50 years

So out of necessity, it became a right of passage.  When a young boy's
birthdays could no longer be counted on two hands, the grandsons would need
to learn how to shoot; to understand "ready, aim, fire" and the
responsibilities associated with carrying heavy weaponry out into the field,
where the enemy lived and would otherwise prosper, and heaven forbid,
multiply!  Hunts were no simple undertaking, for the gun was half the size
of the boy.   Grandpa owned so many shotguns that grandchildren were never
allowed to get them as Christmas presents; "Why would you need one? I've got
plenty for all you whipper-snappers."  (Only after he passed on, did I
inherit just one piece of his arsenal--a 12-gauge, 1910 Marlin pump shotgun.
I'm told one should never shoot magnum shells in that gun but I have refused
to tell this to the rabbits--wouldn't want to encourage any disrespect).
We had to protect ourselves from those would be assailants; to defend the
townsfolk, and to preserve the produce that would otherwise be lost.

Toward that end, Grandpa maintained at least a half-dozen rabbit-hunting
Beagle hounds, and in his heyday, a couple of Basset hounds, just to show
the Beagles how a rabbit hunt is properly conducted.   Bassets will set a
nice slow pace for the hunt--slow enough not to spook the rabbits into
high-tailing it beyond the fences, or beyond the reach of even those
new-fangled magnum shells--but fast enough to scare them to pee each time
they stopped to plot what will likely become a futile path of retreat.   And
there wasn't a concert pianist in all of northern Ohio that could make
sweeter music to the ear than what those Basset's and Beagles baying on the
hunt--noses to the ground, tongues and tails wagging in that cool,
rabbit-scented breeze.  Did you know the fresh scent of rabbit actually
drives a poor rabbit hound nuts? One has to shoot the rabbit in order to
save the dog!    Other than the short, shrill sound of a whistle, nothing
breaks the concentration of a hound on the trail of a cunning, elusive Wayne
County rabbit.  What joy for young boys to see dogs on the hunt, even before
they are burdened with responsibilities to carry weaponry out into the
field, while in service to the townsfolk.  Was there any wonder then why
most girls were enamoured by the courage of those young Swainhart boys?

Sometimes, we'd hunt our elusive prey twice in the same day.  But somehow,
by the very next day, even more would have returned and we'd have to launch
another offensive!  Otherwise, they would be thicker than flies on a
summer's kitchen screen door. Why, if we hadn't been vigilant in our
efforts, they could have taken over the whole town!  Yes, the Swainhart Klan
from Amwell Acres, comprised of heavily armed grandsons and one
master-hunter Grandfather--they were the saviors of the south side of
Sterling, Ohio back in the late 50's and early 60's.   Their legend still
lives on to this very day.  They saved the children, the gardens, and truth
be known, they saved the whole town from an invasion of a plethora of pesky,
pugnacious and voracious, garden-eating rabbits.

And that's the news from 41st Street, where they're resurfacing our street
today, trying to cut back on the areas where vegetation can grow to feed
those dastardly, Hosta-munching rabbits.  This city dwelling ain't all it's
cracked up to be ... we've got more rabbits here than we ever had at

Hosta la Vista!

Andrew Lietzow
#1 Plantsman at http://HostaHaven.com
1250 41st Street
Des Moines, IA 50311-2516

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