Several years ago when I was thinking about going all independent and self sufficient, I decided to raise meat rabbits. I did all the research and
followed all the directions. When harvest time came round I just wasn't quite ready and decided to wait 'just a little longer'. Although I had
watched several YouTube videos and was fairly certain of technique, I was still a bit hesitant. I decided to discuss the dirty deed with an elderly
gent I knew from town named Sam as he and I had several random conversations in the past and he seemed fairly knowledgeable about many things.
I met with Sam at the local pub and opened up about my dilemma of butchering the rabbits and the bit of fear about doing it wrong. Since I had never
intentionally killed an animal for food with the exception of fish, I was pretty sensitive about the idea in general even though I had no problem
watching how-to videos. Sam said he had hunted many a wild rabbit in the past and he would help me. "Piece 'o cake" he said over a beer. I had
another friend named John who had hunted and processed deer many years ago. Although he was no longer an avid hunter and in fact, pretty much not a
fan of killing and harvesting animals, he agreed to help me as well.
The big day came, my two friends and I and my 15 rabbits were about to happen. We three stood around for about 20 minutes or so discussing exactly how
this process was going to work. John would shoot the rabbits and Sam and I would butcher them. The day was quickly getting hot and not wanting to be
even more stressed because of the heat, we decided it was time. John had his .22 rifle in one hand and picked up the first rabbit by it's bound back
feet. He took the rabbit over to a large stump and I heard a shot. Damn, he missed. He fired again - aaaaannnnd missed again. HOLY CRAP! I was
quite irate at this point because I was feeling sorry for the poor rabbit and was wondering how in the hell someone could miss under those
circumstances. John fired a third time and success! He came up with a limp rabbit with a trickle of blood coming out of the side of it's head. Thank
God I thought, that poor rabbit.
Sam took the rabbit from John and began to separate the rabbit's head from it's body. Then off to hang it to bleed out as was the plan. Sam quickly
realized he had chosen a rather dull knife because cutting through the rabbit's fur and neck was extremely difficult. He left the rabbit to lay on
the processing station and went to get a different knife. Not more than 10 seconds after he moved away from the sink area, that rabbit started to
wriggle and try to get up and hop away. It hopped off the sink area, legs still bound, onto the ground but wasn't gaining any traction. It was
looking around and trying desperately to get away. I grabbed the rabbit as fast as I could and Sam immediately returned, grabbed the rabbit out of my
hands and took his knife and made sure that rabbit was good and dead.....for real this time.
And that was that. I was DONE! My first ever processing of my own hand-raised animals had failed miserably. In fact all three of us were so over it.
John and Sam left. I finished processing the rabbit which went very well I might add, and put it in an ice bucket I had waiting. While cleaning up
and putting things away, I glanced over at the ice bucket and low and behold, the damn rabbit was gone. I started to freak out and began looking
around wildly.....then I saw my golden lab Cloe - laying in the shade of a giant Eastern cottonwood tree with a nicely skinned and cleaned rabbit in
her mouth, happily munching away. Hmmm I thought, you win some...you lose some.
Several days later, I found a man in town who wanted all my rabbits for his freezer. He said he would pay $5 for each one but I would have to
dispatch them and he would butcher them. I countered, $3 a piece and he could kill his own damn rabbits. He took that offer and I happily dropped
off 14 rabbits.
I told this story one day while sitting at a full table at a church potluck. Mind you this is a farming community and many people raise their own
animals or hunt for meat. It had been quite some time since that event and here I was, laughing my head off telling about the three idiots and the
so-called dead rabbit jumping off the sink area and trying to get away. Everyone got a chuckle.
I never really spoke to Sam again after that except for a 'Hi' in passing here and there. John vowed to never again kill an animal and I backed him
100% as he sucks at it. As for me, that was the end of my rabbit raising days. Since that time long ago, I have toughened up and harvested many of
my own chickens. And not one of them has given me a bit of trouble!
edit on 10-6-2020 by StoutBroux because: (no reason given)