Roman Sturgis Take care of each other and make good decisions.

April 13, 2009

Easter Rabbit

Filed under: Blog — Roman @ 7:10 am

Corey shot three rabbits while he was looking for his dog. His friend Gomez rode shot gun with the spotlight as Corey drove at a crawl over the ranch road calling the dog’s name. “Yeah, I think she must be stuck in a briar patch,” Gomez said, not wanting to betray his true feeling that the dog had run off down 290, as there was often evidence.

“If she did, I know she must of just sat down,” Corey said. “Just got tired of thrashing and sat down.”

Gomez tracked the spot light once more along the side of the road. Corey called, “Bandit!” and crawled them a long a bit more and then stopped to idle. The heavy exhaust churned on Corey’s cherry red pick-up, with the lift and the KC lights, which he’d put in himself. He never paid someone to do work on his truck, Gomez would testify. As in, Corey might have been well-to-do and have a nice truck, and it might have some improvements that were more for fun, but he sure as hell didn’t just swipe his parent’s card—he rolled up his sleeves and crawled under there and did it himself.

Just at the minute they’d arrived, Gomez thought, she’d run off. They had just met some of the other people at the party, and there was that fine dark-haired woman with the Pat Greene t-shirt. And then Bandit sniffed the other dogs and just high-tailed it out of there. They thought she’d gone off to pee.

Corey had excused himself from the group and went for her, and then he was gone for a long time. He’d been gone just long enough for Gomez to ascertain that the fine dark-haired woman was also a friend of a friend, and more important, not with anybody. Corey had said, ‘I think I’m going to look for her in the truck,’ and had given him a look that meant I’d really like you to help me. And they were boys, so Gomez had to.

Corey said, “Wait, shine it over there.” Gomez did and lit up the bright spark of a rabbit’s eye. “Hold it right there,” Corey whispered as he turned in his seat and unlatched his .22 from the rack in the back window. He rummaged in his center console for half a second and plucked a spare round he’d emptied from his pocket earlier. Without making much fuss, he loaded the .22 and pointed it across the passenger seat to stick out the passenger window. Gomez leaned back as much as he could and prepared for the sound without taking his beam off the rabbit, still frozen by the bright light. POP! went the rifle and the rabbit fell dead, shot right through the neck. It quivered and died quickly while Corey and Gomez walked from the truck. Corey had a few more rounds in his hand, which he dropped in his front shirt pocket. Gomez held the beam for him as he picked up the rabbit by the back legs and flopped it into the back of the truck.

“Come on,” Corey said. “Let’s see if we can get any more. You get the next one.” Corey handed Gomez the rifle and took the spot. He called Bandit’s name every once in awhile, training the spot along the road. They walked down the rounded edges of the gravel and along one of the grassy troughs on the side. It was quieter there, and Corey soon spotted another white-tail. Gomez lined up the shot and fired.

“He wasn’t, what, twenty feet away?” Gomez said while he picked up the rabbit.

Corey shook his head. Gomez didn’t think so either, but then he thought Corey was more upset about the dog. “Well,” Corey said, “I guess it is possible that someone picked her up.” Gomez thought this unlikely, even if the dog didn’t have tags. Corey didn’t believe in tags. He’d always said, I wouldn’t want a collar around my neck.

They walked along the grassy trough, boots catching on loose pebbles that scattered off into the brush. Corey said, “Maybe I can ask Andrew to talk to the neighbors.” They walked a bit more and then he said, “Let’s go back and see if she showed up.”

As they were walking back, Corey found another rabbit. Wordlessly, Gomez passed him the rifle and took the spot to the rabbit, which shivered and then froze, tilting its ears towards the sound of something strange. Then its eyes stopped working and all it could sense was a distant urgency. While its brain was still deciding whether or not to flee, the rifle popped and its neck fell to the side. Luckily, the bullet severed the spinal cord, so the animal died instantly without pain.

Corey took the rabbit and they dropped both of them in the back of the bed with the other one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When the red truck arrived, I saw that the two guys had not found the dog. The heftier one had pulled a cigarette and was talking to Sophia. Nate and I had just gone for a walk to look for this poor guy’s dog. We came back and there were three dead rabbits. I asked the two guys who had shot them if they were going to eat them, and they sort of shrugged, which I took to mean, “yeah, if we get around to it.” I asked if they knew how to skin them, because I’d like to know. It’s not every day you get a chance to skin a rabbit, and besides, these were going to go to waste, was how I looked at it.

The first was a bit of a learning experience. I got the head off okay, and had started a pretty good cut down the belly, from the throat to the anus, to clean out the guts. But I nicked the large intestine, and soon a super fine chopped grass oozed out like pesto, but with a different, unappetizing smell. It ruined the meat, so I threw it on the fire.

For the second one, I skinned first, and then gutted. I took off the head and then down the throat a bit. The skin separated from the body like a roast chicken as I forced my fingers between the seam. Then, when about half of it was separate, I pulled the rest off like a latex glove.

Then it was a little pink, headless thing with a slight bulge in the stomach. This time, I cut carefully down the belly and opened up the chest with a little crack. The organs fell out pretty easily for the most part after I cut them from the underside of the ribs. When it was done, we washed it off by the outdoor sink and placed it back on the white plastic cutting board. It looked very odd with tufts of hair on its toes and the last nub of tail. The skin was laid out by the fire. We prepared the meat in aluminum foil with salt and pepper and oil and threw it in the coals to slow cook.

I won’t say that it tasted good, but if I needed to, I could. But then I heard from someone that you shouldn’t eat just rabbit meat if you get stuck in the woods.

1 Comment »

  1. nice. but…gomez??? haha!

    Comment by meister — April 15, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress