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Any bowhunters here?
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David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Going retro. on 12/12/2013 19:04:51 MST Print View

I know several serious bowhunters here in Alaska, including one who got his last moose with a bow. Probably the most common use is on feral dogs (no gunfire in city limits, or if the feral-by-day dogs sleeps at your neighbor's house), but they'd be great at feral bunnies which have really taken off up here.

But let me propose a few, lighter options. As someone posted, a small .22 pistol is lighter and far more compact than a bow. Easier to use without massive practicing. A "wrist-rocket" sling shot is good to 10 yards with practice, maybe 15-20 yards with lots of practice. The $6 ones have a steel frame; perhaps some component of a pack frame could multi-purpose as the frame for the surgical tubing.

Potentially very light options:

I've played with blow-gunning darts from aluminum tent poles. As the pole-length exceeds 3 feet, it gets decently fast. A length of nail or metal rod inset in the tip of a 1/4" wooden dowel makes a heavier dart and helps stabilize it in flight. Tiny feathers or a streamer in back can serve as fetching. You know how the blow guns in the Amazon are SO fricking long? Like halfway to the monkey in the tree? We played with different designs in an engineering office and longer is always better. Out of a 10-foot blowgun, even a mini-marshmellow hurts. Multiple, nested tent poles might allow you to do that, with the only excess weight being the MYOG darts. Paint the darts a bright color.

And then there's the traditional sling. A friend saw a Afghan bean an eagle across a canyon with such a sling. With modern cordage, it could be VERY light. Practice, practice, practice. But not on eagles.

I've developed some atlatls from modern materials but I wouldn't suggest them for most things. Bows are more powerful and longer range. And the larger atlatl dart is overkill for birds or rabbits. I'd use a .22 or bow before an atlatl, although they were impressively better than hand-thrown spears.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 12/12/2013 19:07:10 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Hares on 12/12/2013 19:22:14 MST Print View

Be careful with those jackrabbits, I've heard about diseases and parasites and such with them, especially in dry desert areas (not sure why).
You know if you carry a whistle with you, when you spook the rabbit and blow on the whistle the rabbit will freeze and stop, giving you a chance for a shot. Kinda cheating but it works ;)

Edited by justin_baker on 12/12/2013 19:32:55 MST.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Hares on 12/12/2013 20:13:25 MST Print View

"Not many people here eat jackrabbit, but I like it. I wonder if it's similar to snowshoe hare. Not many people make the distinction here, but jackrabbits are a hare, different from a cottontail or the likes.

I know cooking jackrabbit is the same; long and slow to break it down.
Many recipes I know call for par-boiling it, then letting it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours with a marinade of wine and olive oil (with additional seasonings) to break it down a bit and reduce the gaminess. I know this sort of recipe is really common amongst Italians and in the Mediterranean. The grandfather of a good friend of mine is an old-school Basque hunter and prepares it in a similar way, typically braised after the long marinade."

Sounds good. I like young jackrabbit BBQued after marinating.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Hares on 12/12/2013 21:31:48 MST Print View

How about jackalope?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Hares on 12/13/2013 08:25:31 MST Print View

"Be careful with those jackrabbits, I've heard about diseases and parasites and such with them, especially in dry desert areas (not sure why)."

Interesting statement coming from a guy advocating eating tree rats. :)

I think a lot of the fear of jackrabbit is hype.
Most western rabbits/hares/rodents are potential Tularemia carriers. I think that's what everyone is afraid of and word spread., though most don't know what disease they're actually afraid of. As long as you wear gloves when cleaning the animal and minimize blood exposure, you're OK. Apparently it's completely neutralized with minimal cooking. When cleaning, you inspect the liver of the animal for white spots/streaks as an indicator of the disease. No spots/streaks, you're good. I've never seen it.

The other bit of negative hype about jackrabbit is parasites. Again, I don't know what people are talking about. I think it's become a bit of an urban legend. I suspect someone killed a jackrabbit full of botsfly larva and freaked out…which can happen to them and is more common in the summer. But I'm not really sure how common it is. I don't know anyone that's seen it. When people say "parasites" I don't know what they're talking about. Everything is full of worms and critters on some level. But you don't eat those parts and with cooking, you're fine.

@Kat: I'll definitely PM you about a recipe.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Squirrels on 12/13/2013 08:39:40 MST Print View

Squirrels are hunted and eaten regularly in these parts. I spent a lot of my last backcountry trip talking about squirrel hunting with a couple of friends.
They went out of favor for awhile because of a scare that they caused some disease. I think the theory was generally discredited. Its my understanding they are good to eat as long as you stay away from the brain. Young squirrels are much better to eat. Older ones must be stewed a long time to be very edible. Kentucky burgoo is a traditional stew of the older squirrels.
As to hunting them, a rifle is the preferred method. Backcountry squirrels can be elusive (much more so than suburban squirrels) and are very fast. They are a little hard to get even with a rifle. A bow will be tough but not impossible for a skilled bow hunter.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Squirrels on 12/13/2013 11:32:48 MST Print View

The disease is Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) - a degenerative neurological disorder caused my mis-shapen proteins that is incurable and invariably fatal. I knew someone who died of old-style CJD (not variant CJD from British beef) - it is not a pretty way to go.

From Wikipedia (although I remember the medical-journal article*): In 1997 a number of people from Kentucky, USA developed CJD. It was discovered that all the victims had consumed squirrel brains, although a coincidental relationship between the disease and this dietary practice may have been involved. (Tongue in cheek comment: possibly coincidental because apparently ALL people in Kentucky eat squirrel brains).

*Berger JR (August 1997). "Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and eating squirrel brains". Lancet 350: 642.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Squirrels on 12/13/2013 11:36:32 MST Print View

"As to hunting them, a rifle is the preferred method."

I think a 20 gauge shotgun is the best/easiest, those little buggers really test your marksmanship.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: squirrels on 12/13/2013 12:08:06 MST Print View

Squirrel pot pie is a beautiful thing, though with our little squirrels you need 4-5 per pie.

Hunting them with a .22 and a 4x scope is the most sporting way, but when I want to fill in the corners of the freezer I pack the 16 gauge and #8 shot.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
@ Craig-Re: Re: Bubonic plague, etc on 12/13/2013 15:30:50 MST Print View

" but rodents are also a major plague carrier in Southern CA and much of the southwestern US. Squirrel is closed year-round in So. CA because of this."

According to this study by the USFS, so are jackrabbits. The paragraph below is far down in a very detailed study, so I copied it in for you.

Human Health: The black-tailed jackrabbit is a reservoir for several
diseases transmittable to humans including tularemia, bubonic plague,
and Lyme disease [24,53,81].

Handle 'em carefully, Craig.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Squirrels on 12/13/2013 15:53:04 MST Print View

"Backcountry squirrels can be elusive (much more so than suburban squirrels) and are very fast. They are a little hard to get even with a rifle."

+1 It's a lot easier to hunt them, at least in forested areas, with 2 people. They will always scurry around to the back side of a tree when they see you, at which point one person goes around to that side of the tree and when they scurry back, POP! And yeah, they make great stew. Remove the hind quarters and simmer the rest of the carcass with onion, garlic, celery, or whatever you like until the bones are soft and what little meat there is falls off the bones. Remove the carcass, add potatoes, carrots, etc and simmer until done, remove veggies then thicken the liquid(lots of ways), return the veggies, correct seasoning, and enjoy. You can cook the hind quarters in the stew, too, but I think they're much better parboiled, dusted with seasoned flour, and pan fried. But that's just personal. At any rate, if you're worried about plague, it seems that all of the small game animals carry it and other diseases. My 2 cents.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Any bowhunters here? on 12/13/2013 15:54:17 MST Print View

Jakelopes look like good eating

I must admit that when I looked briefly into bow hunting it just didn't seem as humane as rifles/shotguns to me. Not trying to start a flame war here. I hunted regularly into my late twenties. However, I would be interested in what people think.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Squirrels on 12/13/2013 15:55:59 MST Print View

"I think a 20 gauge shotgun is the best/easiest, those little buggers really test your marksmanship."

A shotgun sure messes up a lot of meat, IME.