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Halloween rabbit (Read 1556 times)
Mersa
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Druid

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Halloween rabbit
Oct 31st, 2017 at 7:17pm
 
Warning story about dead animals.

So yesterday I was bored and decided to go practice slinging on a farm near me where there is an abundance of space and good sized rocks .
I was target slinging for about half an hour before I moved on . This was around 1030am.
I moved to the other side of the farm where I usually hunt rabbits with my bow. Thought I'd take a look and see if much has changed.
On the walk to the area with it in view I threw a smallish stone to the direction we usually see rabbits.
Now the hard part , I thought I saw something scurrying off from where the stone landed but as I wasn't really aiming and more just growing I wasn't paying much attention.
I continued to throw more stones as I approached into the tall grass and shrubbery to try stir up some movement. By the time I was in the area there was no sound of anything. I took it as a optical illusion or maybe something flying from where the stone hit.
So I returned to target practice on the other side of the farm.
At around 1230 I returned to look for rabbits .
After a few minutes waiting I decided to look for arrows we had previously lost in the area when around 15 m from where I thought the stone landed I found a dead rabbit.
At first I was certain that it was just a coincidence but when I took a closer look at the rabbit I noticed it had almost no rigor mortis.
This made me wonder.
It seemed to me as though the animal had died within the last few hours ( I'm no rabbit specialist).
So I picked up the rabbit and looked for bite marks or anything that obviously killed it.
The body was surprisingly clean and showing no external damage. After showing a few people to try understand what had happened we had come up with a few different scenarios.

Scenario 1. : I hit it with the stone it died and I found it later
Scenario 2. : I scared the rabbit and it ran into a low fence wire or fence post and killed itself, then I found it.
Scenario 3. : I found a rabbit that was infected with the RHD caliciviris, just hours after it died. Coincidentally where I was slinging earlier.

So to try figure it out I skinned and gutted the rabbit but my skills were no able to tell if the rabbit was infected or not.
So I used all the meat to bait up a marron net (freshwater lobster) try get a feed out of it.
Spent last night on google trying to determine a time of death and get more info on RHD.
But essentially I have no idea.


Appreciate any input

I'm leaning towards me just finding a dead rabbit.(scenario 3)


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Mersa
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Druid

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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #1 - Oct 31st, 2017 at 7:26pm
 
Bugs
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Bill Skinner
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #2 - Oct 31st, 2017 at 9:06pm
 
It's possible that you hit it but I lean towards #3.  Never killed anything with a sling, I have killed small game with blunt arrows.  They tend to penetrate and leave a noticeable area of bloodshot meat where the impact was.

That rabbit is rather scrawny, I lean towards some sort of rabbit plague.
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #3 - Nov 1st, 2017 at 6:23am
 
Could have died of old age. Rabbits don't really live long in the wild. I think 2 years or so.
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #4 - Nov 1st, 2017 at 6:50am
 
Weak heart and the stone scared it to death?
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #5 - Nov 1st, 2017 at 8:04am
 
Also don't forget thet rigor mortis is a temporary condition. Flaxibility returns after a a day or so.
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #6 - Nov 1st, 2017 at 12:02pm
 
Smaller the animal the quicker rigor sets in and the faster it leaves. While its possible you killed it, I think you made the right call on not eating it unless you know for sure.
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Rat Man
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #7 - Nov 1st, 2017 at 1:28pm
 
1 or 3 seem the most likely to me.  Without more evidence you will never know for sure.  You were wise to not eat it since you aren't sure if it was diseased or not.  I'm glad you didn't waste the meat but used it for bait instead. I hate to see any animal die for no reason.
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Mersa
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #8 - Nov 1st, 2017 at 6:00pm
 
I dont think it was older than a few hours . On the farm there is an abundance of big bull ants and flys. Little bunny was super clean not smelly and had no insects on it. It was quite a hot day and I would expect to see the insects having a good feed if it was out there for more than a few hours.
I've never found a carcass this clean in the wild, the main reason I wonder.
Don't think it was old age the rabbit was quite small/young.
As for the meat , I will always do my best to use the whole animal for something if I feel I was part of its cause of death.
Marron trap was a easy pick as I didn't need to feild dress the rabbit too much.

I'm going to go back to the farm today to see if I find anymore infected dead rabbits , if I find any ill be happy to except scenario 3 as the most likely. If not questions still linger
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #9 - Nov 2nd, 2017 at 12:55am
 
Update: No more dead rabbits around at the farm, not that I could find.
Dropped the basket of marron because I'm a kook.
Pelt and lucky feet half done
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« Last Edit: Nov 2nd, 2017 at 7:22am by Mersa »  
 
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Bill Skinner
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #10 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 11:18am
 
This is a heck of a time to remember this, I got "Rabbit Fever" or Tularemia (SP?) when I was 14 or so from cleaning the small game I killed while hunting.

The doctors couldn't identify what I had for a while, after they figured it out, and it took a biopsy of a lymnpth node, I was shown to every doctor in the hospital so they could recognize the symptoms.

So, be very careful handling strange dead animals, I now clean animals while wearing gloves.
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Mersa
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #11 - Nov 4th, 2017 at 9:35pm
 
Point taken .
I'll be careful.
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #12 - Nov 5th, 2017 at 4:45pm
 
So no marron wich is a shame because they defiantly ate the whole carcass. Marrons my favourite shellfish.
Feet cured and dried.
Pelt still in the works.
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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #13 - Nov 26th, 2017 at 12:44am
 
So here is what I made from this little guy.
Left rear foot as handle and small fur pouch for my decorative sling.

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Re: Halloween rabbit
Reply #14 - Nov 26th, 2017 at 7:43am
 
Very nice.
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