Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Living in Alaska has been a real experience for me and each day offers a new adventure of some type, some pleasant and some not so pleasant. This spring I was able to do some really fun and productive rainbow fishing from several of our local lakes.

I’ve taken several new fishing partners out with me and so far no one has returned home skunked this year. The threat made each time a new fishermen climbs in my boat is that if they get skunked they have to sleep in the chicken coop when we get home. Since that is also home to the mean rooster that is reason enough for most kids to make sure they catch at least one fish that day.

Last winter a black rabbit showed up here and my daughter Kim finally caught it after feeding it and working closer and closer to it each day. She finally was able to make a pet out of it. Then a whole slew of rabbits started showing up, rabbits of all different sizes and colors appeared and rumor has it the neighbors either let their rabbits out or they got out. Anyway my other neighbors started complaining to me this spring that the rabbits were digging up their flowers and they were going to start shooting them. I assured them that they were not my rabbits and they were free to do whatever they wanted to do to the unwanted rabbits.

Then as spring grew closer they started digging holes in my lawn and flowerbeds besides bringing in different kinds of predator birds and who knows what else. I had a northern hawk owl get 2 of my exotic chickens that I attribute to all the rabbits attracting these predators into our neighborhood.

Originally all the bunnies fascinated me but as summer approached they began doing more and more damage so I decided these pesky little varmints had to go. Even though I have raised rabbits for both pleasure and meat for years they are my least favorite animals to butcher because they make such good pets. But at the same point they are great on the dinner table too.

Finally it was garden planting time and these pesky varmints started eating my garden so when I returned home from the slope I replanted almost one entire row of Broccoli only to have the rabbits return and eat it off again. About $40.00 worth of broccoli and getting short of time to keep replanting. I then decided it was time for war Armed with a 22 magnum and a nice scope I became the Tara circle sniper as I started thinning out these rabbits one at a time. I’m not going to tell you how many I shot for two reasons: No. 1 I really don’t enjoy shooting tame rabbits and No. 2 if I told you the exact number you probably won’t believe me anyway.

I figured I was finally down to the last rabbit but he was getting so wise he ran whenever he saw anyone. He would disappear for the rest of the day but come back at night or early in the morning to once again chaw down on your garden.

I had a long shot at him one evening and when I shot he jumped about 6 feet in the air and was gone! Two days later he ate more broccoli! I saw him one morning but my snap shot at him was a clean miss and he was gone in a flash. On another occasion I had the cross hairs of my scope right on him but never had a shell in my chamber and when I pulled the trigger it clicked and he ran away again. All the previous rabbits were one shot ordeals except this one and I was beginning to think he had nine lives!

I was getting closer to having to go back to the slope to work and the thought of him destroying my garden again was eating at me as I finished cleaning some fish one evening. Once I was done cleaning fish I decided to go look for the last buck toothed broccoli eating rabbit by looking under some of my buildings and moving a small lumber pile.

I gave Jim Ries my shot gun which I stuck in some 00 buck shot when I really should have put in fine shot simply because the smaller shot has so many more bb’s then the bigger shot. I was moving a lumber pile and he darted out of it but my gunman was both out of position and not ready. The rabbit was gone before Jim even got a chance to do anything. I then spotted him by my other lumber pile but once again he was in high gear as he ran between Jim’s legs and headed for the woods. Jim did get off one shot at the high flying rabbit but never got a good hit on him and he headed for the woods.

I grabbed the gun and ran into the woods where I spotted glimpses of him running through the ferns. I fired several shots at him but couldn’t stop him either. We searched for him for about 45 minutes, my son Travis, Jim, and family friend Joe Ben Hawkins. Finally I spotted him and I let him have it and the hunt was over as the rabbit with nine lives was finally stopped.

If you are a rabbit owner and decide to quit raising rabbits please don’t just turn them loose. It is illegal in Alaska to turn unwanted pets lose besides making life miserable for a whole bunch of your neighbors. Our garden is a very important part of our winter food supply as well as for several of our elderly in our local community. I spent a whole lot of my time dealing with a very serious problem that other people created. Please be considerate of your neighbors before you do the same thing and create a problem like this for them. I personally would have much rather spent my time taking my children fishing then hunting rabbits. See you next week!

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