Woodland Eating

by Edward Le Prieur

In a previous post I had spoke about living in a self-sufficient manner, and I spoke about how many people would consider this life to be a near impossible feat as a result of how accustomed we are to living in a modern age. This is something I often think about, and a dream of mine is to finally be able to live as close to this as possible and to rely on the outside market for goods and tools as little as is possible. I recall a great deal from my childhood in gathering berries and things from the forest. As well as planting vegetables in the field we had tilled outside my home.

In addition I recall learning how to snare rabbit along their trails throughout the forest. It is a extremely simple task to create a wire snare for the task of capturing hare, and they are  a great nutritional source; very high in protein. However you cannot survive solely on them because of their lack in essential fatty acids which would result in protein poising. So it would not be wise to try to survive on a diet of rabbit meat alone. The taste of the meat depends on the age and time of year they are captured or killed. The diet depending on the season in which they are killed of course affects the flavour of the meat. I’ve only ever eaten rabbits that have been captured or killed in the wild so I cannot comment on the taste of rabbits that would be raised or bred on a farm. Pelts from rabbits can also be utilized to craft clothing and accessories if you are so inclined.

Tracking a rabbit path or “lead” is a skill that can be easily learned by anyone willing to do so. You can typically spot a well beaten rabbit lead on the forest floor fairly quickly. As well you can learn to see where they have been feeding on short growing alder, and other small bushes. It will have a distinctive edge to where it’s been bitten off. It is good practise to take your wire and run it back and forth along a spruce tree or a pine, as it will remove any kinks from the wire and also help cover any scent you may have left on it. If you think there may be too much room for the rabbit to pass on either side of your snare you can cut off branches and drive into the ground as an obstruction. Although they have a keen sense of smell otherwise they are not too intelligent.

Along with other things you can harvest from the forest rabbits are an extremely reliable food source as they breed very quickly and are rather simple to catch and clean.