The stones of the path crunched beneath my feet, the sun’s rays were sliced by the forest, and coconut gorse and syrupy sweet foxglove scents filled the air. Above me, the sky was cloudless. I skipped along like a pixie in a Disney movie.
A cute little rabbit crossed my path and darted into a sloping field. Then – bang! A big loud shot filled the air, and the rabbit’s head exploded.
I couldn’t hide my shock and disgust from the two hunters who looked over me. Shaken and – completely without reason – convinced that they were going to shoot me, I walked away. Any minute now, I thought, a bullet in the back.
Up where I live, near Roundwood and Laragh in Co. Wicklow, the sound of the gun is common enough, whether it’s for deer, rabbits, or just clay pigeons. But I never got used to it; it’s always made me distinctly uncomfortable.
I mention this here because fish, fauna, or fowl, hunting or gathering your own food is not just cheap. It’s free (well, maybe factor in the cost of the bullet). Despite my queasiness, there’s nothing wrong with hunting; if you’re a meat-eater who objects to killing wild deer and rabbits for food, I think you’re being a chimp. Anyway, rabbits quickly lose their cuteness when you spend half an hour trying to whoosh the bewildered idiots off the road, and there’s too many of em. Also, they taste incredible. Yum. Here’s a recipe from The Frugal Cook blog for Lapin a la moutarde (Rabbit in Mustard to you and I).
But still, the gun just doesn’t fit well with my ignorant city mindset. I knocked one of the rabbits down a few weeks and didn’t have the guts to strip its carcass for the meat, so it was lost to the rats and ravens.
I want to know if any of our lovely readers have gone hunting for their own meat, or what you think of it. Do you hunt, is it a family tradition, can you save any money doing it, and is there any recipes you could share here?