Last weekend when we were in Queenstown we had rabbit for dinner. We had been driving into town when a large rabbit (not a bunny- a rabbit) darted in front of our car. We missed it but the driver behind us ran it right over. Jordan, a friend of mine, is all about not wasting any type of food and graciously taking any free food available (we had picked apples and chestnuts off road-side trees and watercress from the side of a river during the trip as well). Chris, the friend Jordan had invited to join us on the trip regularly hunts and eats rabbit. You see where this is going.
We turned around, Chris snapped the suffering rabbits neck, we bagged it and took it to a nearby park where he taught us the process of skinning, gutting, and cleaning a rabbit (unfortunately just as a group of school kids was meandering about. Oops). Just a reminder- I am not crazy, but the whole process was sssoooo cool! I’ve seen goats slaughtered and prepared for cooking, chicken and fish, but I’ve never been thoroughly involved in the process from beginning to end. By the end of this all of our hands were covered in blood and we had huge sh**-eating grins on our faces. There’s a high you experience when you do something survivalist, innate, an act that’s been sustaining life through the course of time. In the States we’re so removed from the process of acquiring our own food. I probably sound like some panzie to those people out there that do this on a regular basis (quite a few Kiwis actually), but it felt so good to get back that part of what being human and a member of the food chain is all about.
That afternoon we drove up an old miner road snaking around the rolls of the Remarkable mountain range with sheer cliffs on either side. Hanging out the windows of the car during all of this was quite an exhilarating experience. The view was spectacular and our campsite was the perfect place to start a fire and roast our rabbit. It was delicious- tasted like a mix between chicken and turkey, and oh-so juicy. I enjoyed it so immensely that Chris offered to take me rabbit hunting. Of course I jumped on the offer.
Yesterday he took me to his grandparent’s farm where I shot a real gun for the first time. Not to toot my own horn but I have pretty good aim. Apparently years of shooting my little brothers with airsoft guns has paid off. After getting comfortable with the gun we stalked for over an hour through the hills. Even though they’re a pest and I’ve never not seen a rabbit out in a pasture, we didn’t see a single one. Chris claimed it was bad luck, and with mine of late that would make sense, but it could also be that some force of nature knew that I just wasn’t ready yet to shoot at a live thing. I loved every bit of all of the learning before- how to skin the rabbit, gut it, cook it, and now shoot a gun, tread lightly and belly crawl while stalking what we thought was a bunny-turned-grass clump, and even pretend to fend off a pursuing line of zombies to practice quick reloading speeds, but what if I don’t aim perfectly and I put the thing through a lot of pain before Chris can finish it off? Maybe a couple more goes and I’ll be ready to help the fight against one of New Zealand’s greatest pests, but for now I’m happy shooting at invisible zombies.