Bunnies, be gone!

To those of you who have gardens plagued by rabbits, I feel, in a very Clintonian way, your pain. I’m in the middle of a rather serious plague of bunnies myself. Not big ole gnarly jackrabbits, mind you. Those guys are fine, preferring to stay away from the domesticated flowering plants that are the heart of a garden. No, I’m talking about those little cottontails, the super cute hares that scarf perennials in much the same way that Cheech and Chong used to scarf Ho Hos.

I’ve tried all kinds of repellents and stuff to scare the bunnies off or gross them out. None have worked very well. Fencing, of course, is effective, but it looks somewhat motley. Cats would get the job done, but they often end up as the main bulk in coyote scat. A dog would mangle as many plants as it would protect. What’s a confused, desperate, just-about-ready-for-shotguns beginning gardener to do?

Use a trap. One of those very kindly Havahart traps that don’t kill your target critter, but traps it alive so that you may exile its flower-munching ass to an ecosystem far, far away. I was standing in the pet store recently, staring at a Havahart, slowly realizing that this was the direction in which I needed to go. No more chicken wire, no more pepper sprays, no more phony coyote urine, no more Olde Worlde folk medicine concoctions made from equal parts of pesto, bleach and bear whiz. Pure and simple, it was time to trap.

Just then, a stranger walked by and accurately assessed my thought process.

“They work,” he said as he passed. “They work real well.”

I looked up at him, grateful tears beginning to well up in my battle-weary eyes, eyes that had seen the gory aftermath of too many assaults on defenseless marigolds, portulacas, lupines and phlox. I knew this man was right. I knew my quest was at an end. What an oaf I’d been, looking for chemicals to do the job of a contraption!

He sensed my fragility, frustration and desperation. “Yeah,” he said, “just cover it with a tarp, put some celery and carrots in there and see what happens. We pulled out six bunnies in six days.”

His words rang true.

“Thank you,” I said, holding back a grateful choke. “Thank you.”

He was indeed right. The bunnies practically took a number each morning that first week to see which one of the dumb little bastards could be the one to get trapped that day. And talk about getting a thrill when you come home at night. Sure, curvy women in bustiers greeting you at the door with a glass of frosty pale ale is all fine and dandy, but it’s no better thrill than the one you get when you come home at the end of the day, look into the garden and see … the trap door is down! Which means another bunny is corralled and ready for deportation, with only 748 to go.