Small Game holds a place that is close to my heart. It is how most hunters start out. Sneaking through the woods after rabbits, looking for squirrels to bring home. I can remember chasing cotton tail rabbits with a sling shot on a Brahma Bull ranch in my old town. Life got easier when I finally got a pellet gun, well for me not for the rabbits. With low levels of commitment and not much needed in the way of equipment small game is a great place for novices to the hunting world to start.
Below is a small dissertation on my favorite wild game and links to my recipes! Bon appetite!
First thing you need to do is check it for fleas. Look at the fur and see if it has any little bugs ridding along, make sure to check inside the ears. If it has a lot of fleas, or ticks, I skin and gut the animal promptly and make sure my dog stays clear. No ticks, no fleas and not gut shot…I will hang the rabbit in my cool garage for about 2-3 days and let the meat relax and age. Why? It think it tastes better and it allows gamier tasting meat (hares aka Jack Rabbits) to calm down and taste better.
(Jack Rabbits are not just target practice by the way. If you kill it, eat it.)
Check out the guy pile to – lots of worms in the guts, make a stew. No worms – feel free to cook like chicken.
Sound gross – well, it kind of is. But what is worse – a little extra cooking time for a free range, wild, grass fed, organic chunk of bunny meat or a cow who stands in shit up to its knees all day? Honestly both animals have very little risk and both should be eaten.
Squirrel – I have limited squirrel eating experience – but I have just started hunting them in Idaho. I also do eat marmot, a big ol ground squirrel. They are tough as nails and need hours of cooking time and a lot of garlic. Bring a knife sharpener when you go to skin them. Since they are a larger animal I recommend gutting and not hanging these guys. Bigger bodies retain heat longer and heat can lead to bacteria growth.