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Old July 30, 2011, 01:49 AM   #1
PoorRichRichard
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MY FIRST SUCCESSFUL HUNT!!!!! Got some ?'s

Went up into the hills today and shot my first 2 Cottontails in less than 30 minutes! I have a few questions as a new hunter. As soon as as I shot these little guys, I raced back down to my car and drove home. My newfound hunting ground is very close to my house, and I had each skinned and gutted in each about 50 minutes after I shot them. My question is, did I wait too long to gut them??? Please bear in mind that the location is in Southern California, and the temperature was about 85 degrees.

Also, think they may have a few worms (cannot seem to get the stupid pictures to post). I plan to boil the heck out of these for about 2-and-half hours and use them in a cream-based pasta I usually make with chicken. Bearing all this in mind, do you all think they will be safe eating???

Last edited by PoorRichRichard; July 30, 2011 at 01:56 AM.
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Old July 30, 2011, 02:20 AM   #2
mete
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Congradulations !!
Worms ? What kind , intestinal ,in the meat ? It's best to dress out the game immediately especially large game , especially in warm weather. Google rabbit desease and learn about them. Many parts of the country have lots of rabbits this year .
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Old July 30, 2011, 02:30 AM   #3
PoorRichRichard
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Thank you mete! Worms look to be just under the thin membrane outside if the meat. I honestly did not get a good look at the intestines to check for worms because I gut them in my garage in less than bright light- guts went right in the garbage can. Gonna go shoot some more in the morning, so I'll take a closer look next time.
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Old July 30, 2011, 06:29 AM   #4
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I'd suggest cleaning them right after shooting them in the field next time. Bring some water with you for clean up.
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Old July 30, 2011, 09:14 AM   #5
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I wouldn't eat rabbits in the summer. As a child, we were told to wait until after the second freeze so that it kills all the fleas.

Do some more homework on this, for your own health and safety. Where I grew up in NE AZ, we had issues with rabies and bubonic plague and we simply didn't dare. Rabbits aren't much different than rodents (generalization here) and eating them can cause issues.

The worms you describe indicate some kind of disorder or parasite or disease. Eating them is just plain risky, in my never-to-be-humble opinion.

Not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, but just some thoughts.

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Old July 30, 2011, 10:29 AM   #6
buck460XVR
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Quote:
I wouldn't eat rabbits in the summer. As a child, we were told to wait until after the second freeze so that it kills all the fleas.

Do some more homework on this, for your own health and safety. Where I grew up in NE AZ, we had issues with rabies and bubonic plague and we simply didn't dare. Rabbits aren't much different than rodents (generalization here) and eating them can cause issues.

The worms you describe indicate some kind of disorder or parasite or disease. Eating them is just plain risky, in my never-to-be-humble opinion.

Not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, but just some thoughts.

First off, I doubt that there'd be a second freeze in Southern Kornyforny to kill the fleas. Most wild animals have skin and internal parasites and they are generally not a problem as long as the meat is cooked thoroughly. The worms you saw were probably the larvae of botflies (commonly called warbles). I would tho, refrain from eating any animal that acted sickly or strangely before being shot. One also does not eat any rabbit with white spots on the liver( a sign of Tularemia). Tularemia is a bacterial disease of rabbits that is transmittable to man, usually through openings in the skin. You have a greater chance of being infected by the cleaning of a rabbit than by eating it. This is why many rabbit hunters wear rubber gloves while cleaning rabbits. Even then, Tularemia is easily treated with antibiotics. If you hunt in hot weather I suggest cleaning your game immediately and having a cooler with ice in your vehicle for transport home. Your taste buds will thank you.
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Old July 30, 2011, 10:38 AM   #7
ltc444
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Recommend that you carry some surgical gloves and wear them when you process the rabbits. This will prevent any transmission of disease and or parasites through the skin.

Good luck on your rabbit hunting. If you continue you may want to get some Begales. They are a blast to hunt with.
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Old July 30, 2011, 05:12 PM   #8
603Country
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Back when I was a kid, I hunted with an older fella that had beagles. He always said that rabbits could have 'rabbit fever' in the hot summertime and to only hunt and eat them in colder weather. I have no idea what rabbit fever really is, but a Google search sounds like a really good idea if you're going to hunt them in the summer.
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Old July 30, 2011, 05:37 PM   #9
tahunua001
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I would have to tell you what everyone else already has,
1. clean your game at the scene
2. wear gloves when dealing with any kind of rodents
3. have ice and water in a cooler to preserve the meat
4. if it's acting like it's drunk its a good sign of distemper or rabies in which case you should kill it(avoiding shooting it in the head) and call either fish and game or animal control to come take it for rabies testing. they need the brains so that's why you shouldn't shoot it in the head.
5. read up on diseases in your local area and if you cant find anything the local fish and game office would know.
6. generally you shouldn't eat rabbit in the summer because of heavier parasites and diseases but in soco it shouldn't be as much of an issue as the rest of the country.
7. if you're gonna eat well you may need more than 2 rabbits
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Old July 30, 2011, 05:49 PM   #10
jimbob86
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First, congrats on your hunting success!


Quote:
I wouldn't eat rabbits in the summer. As a child, we were told to wait until after the second freeze so that it kills all the fleas.
Is small game season even open this early? CA is a strange place.....

I grew up hearing the same thing: "Don't hunt rabbits before the first freeze- cold weather kills the sick ones and you don't want to eat sick animals."
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Old July 30, 2011, 05:52 PM   #11
hogdogs
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http://www.beaglesunlimited.com/rabb...a-rabbit-fever
Rabbit fever is easier to pronounce...
Quote:
Symptoms of the disease in a rabbit are a white spotted liver, swollen spleen, and an ulcerated or raw area about ΒΌ inch in diameter which is where the animal was bitten by a tick or deer fly and thus infected.
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Old July 30, 2011, 06:21 PM   #12
tahunua001
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rabbit fever

this is derived from a utah hunting site but it discribes warble flies in desert cottontails and should probably be dealt with accordingly.

One form of external parasite that you may encounter on rabbits is known as the Warble-fly or Bot-fly (Cuterebra cuniculi). It is actually the larval "grub" of this fly that is quite unpleasant to look at. The warble-fly larvae burrow into the flesh and can be found in the neck, spine and groin region of the rabbit. The grub lives under the skin of cottontails until it develops into an adult fly. The grub is black in color and about one inch in length. It is one half to an inch wide, has a segmented appearance and is covered with short, black bristles. The larval grub does not lessen food quality of the meat except at the point of contact. Remove the small area of affected flesh that was around the grub and the rest of the meat will be perfectly edible!
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Old July 30, 2011, 08:39 PM   #13
banditt007
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I'd suggest rubber gloves,a bag to put them in so you aren't littering,and keep a small cooler w/ those re-freezable ice packs in it, then just throw the rabbits in a large ziplock and then into the cooler. You could even grab one of those 'soft' coolers and bring that into the area you are hunting-keep it in the shade close by, and have at it.

Congratulations on your first successful hunt, and to answer your question death to getting chilled down in weather of that temperature, in 50 minutes-for sure you are fine.You are on the right track, kill quickly and cleanly, field dress, and get the animal chilled as soon as you can. Nice work-Enjoy your hard work, its so satisfying..
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Old July 31, 2011, 11:46 PM   #14
PoorRichRichard
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Thank you all so much!!! This is GREAT info. I actually went out the next morning with my buddy and shot another one
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Old August 1, 2011, 03:57 PM   #15
Dr. A
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In midwest we look for Tularemia, which is a real problem, and don't assume simple gloved practices will keep you clean of this disease. Its fairly serious. Most of the diseases will be obvious with looking carefully at the liver and vicera. I have seen the disease in cats that catch small cottontails as well.
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Old August 1, 2011, 04:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
One form of external parasite that you may encounter on rabbits is known as the Warble-fly or Bot-fly (Cuterebra cuniculi).
The first time I saw those things guess what we had for lunch? Dark colored grapes.

I once took a parasitology course at OSU. The class was right before lunch. Yep Cuterebra on a test. I passed the test and passed on lunch too.
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Old August 1, 2011, 04:19 PM   #17
JACK308
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I dont think you waited to long but with warm weather you never know! just make sure you cook it good enough.
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Old August 2, 2011, 10:45 AM   #18
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I only heard to dump a rabbit with a spotted liver.

Thanks for the info. Luckily for me, I don't hunt rabbits nowadays.
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Old August 2, 2011, 03:46 PM   #19
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Congrats!! Hooked for life, you will be

Everyone else already said the rest...
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Old August 3, 2011, 05:16 PM   #20
PoorRichRichard
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Thank you again.

Thank you all again for the kind words. I've been hunting/scouting my new hunting ground more extensively this past week. I have seen multiple doves, and quite a few 8+ coveys of quail!!! Gotta wait about six weeks on the dove, and ten weeks on the quail for hunting season to start... The cottontail are abundant and healthy
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