Hare-braising experience

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Well, sorta.

I’m not doin’ too badly at the moment, with a bottle of ice water in one hand and a chilled apple in the other. Both items are doing important work in the field of making me happy on this scorched-out, triple-digit July afternoon. But it’s obvious the livin’-is-easy-Gershwin vibe isn’t applicable to my pal Mr. Bunny, the cottontail hophead who currently finds himself inside my garden trap.

More accurately, he finds himself in hare heaven, having expired sometime during the afternoon before I got home. I don’t feel too good about it, since this trap is one of those Havaharts that keeps victims alive so you can give them a stern talking-to before you kill ’em and eat ’em.

Just joshing! What I do with these consarnded bunnies (sure, they’re cute, but the little sumbitches have the very un-cute tendency to strip every perennial I dare to plant) is take them down the hill to the gleaming new suburbs, so those families can experience the thrill of watching genuine Great Basin wildlife devour their petunias.

But this poor joker … my first trapping fatality. It could have been that he died in the same way that dogs and small children die when left locked in minivans every July—slowly baking to death in a small, poorly ventilated space (there’s a tarp over the trap to hide it). Or maybe his heart just crapped out due to the ferocious anxiety of getting caught; rabbits, after all, ain’t real big on relaxing in the face of adversity.

As I ponder the scene, a voice in my head speaks up, the voice of eco-efficiency. “You killed him. Now eat him.” I mull on this for a few seconds, then pass. “Man,” I reply, “it’s too damn hot to be eviscerating stuff today.” The voice accepts this, then takes up for the vultures and ravens. They would like it, it says, if I simply laid Mr. Bunny out on the ground, away from the house. They would appreciate the donation.

“No they won’t,” I protest. “That’s blatant anthropomorphization, and you know it.”

“Sorry,” says the voice.

What the hell, a vulture’s gotta eat. I saw a couple sailing overhead a couple of days ago, scouting the terrain for carrion. One flew low enough to where I could get a flash of his blood red head, a head that has no feathers. There’s a reason for this. Feathers would just get in the way when that head went plunging into carcass interiors.

Which leads me to wonder about the bacteria in a vulture’s guts. Those little ’meebs, I conclude, must be very ornery indeed, to deal with the incredibly vile, curdling glop they gotta deal with. The image inspires a crude simile: “Ornerier than the bacteria in a vulture’s belly.” This is not a descriptor to be used lightly. It might come in handy next time you’re writing press releases for an Ultimate Fighting cage match.