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Important to Hunters
The cottontail rabbit is important as a game animal across its entire range. In the United States, deer are the only game more pursued by hunters than the rabbit or hare. In Nebraska more pheasants, quail and doves are harvested each year than cottontails, which may indicate that rabbits are an under utilized resource. Since the mid-1980s an average of 150,000 cottontails have been taken by approximately 26,000 hunters each year.
Unfortunately, many rabbit carcasses are needlessly discarded by hunters each year due to the presence of two parasites which do not affect man. The larvae of botflies (commonly called warbles) are sometimes found under a rabbit's skin. If the hunter encounters a warble in a rabbit or finds an abscess under the skin where a warble has recently left the rabbit, he can remove that area of the meat and still use the rest of the carcass, provided the meat is cooked properly.
Tapeworm cysts are also found in rabbits. These are sacs of clear fluid that contain small white floating objects and are found attached to the rabbit's liver, intestines and occasionally to its lungs. These cysts are the larval stage in the life cycle of the dog tapeworm. If a dog or wild canine consumes one of these larvae it may develop into a tapeworm, but tapeworms do not develop in humans from these larvae. All of the larvae are normally removed when the rabbit is dressed and any overlooked cysts are destroyed during the cooking process. This disease is often confused with "white spots on the liver" that are known to be indicative of tularemia.
Tularemia is a bacterial disease of rabbits that is transmittable to man, usually through openings in the skin. Hunters who notice small white or yellow spots on the surface of the rabbit's liver when they are field dressing it should discard the entire rabbit immediately. During the early stages of the disease the liver can appear normal, though the infected rabbit may behave oddly, move slowly or be easily captured. It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves when dressing a rabbit and it is important to always cook rabbit meat thoroughly. Tularemia is transmitted between rabbits by fleas and ticks. Rabbits die from the disease, so it is not a problem once there has been a good hard frost and the temperature remains cool. A hard frost kills ticks and fleas which carry the disease, and a rabbit infected prior to the freeze will normally die within a few days of contracting the disease. -- Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
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Waiters Restaurant (Melbourne), Rabbit Cacciatore
To most Americans, Ischia, off the coast of Naples, is relatively unknown. That's a shame, because for centuries this island's thermal springs have been luring savvy travelers for restorative dips; plus, the locals produce some of the best wine in the region. At La Pergola, a family-run inn located on a hill just outside of Forio, guests enjoy some of that homemade wine, along with artisanal jams and olive oil. La Pergola also serves one of the island's most popular dishes, rabbit cacciatore, or hunter's rabbit.
Chicken may be substituted for rabbit in this hearty dish.
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 3 1/4-pound frozen rabbit, thawed, cut into 8 pieces
* 5 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 pound tomatoes, chopped, with seeds and juices (about 2 1/2 cups)
* 1 1/3 cups dry white wine
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Sprinkle rabbit with salt and pepper. Add rabbit to pot and sauté until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes and wine. Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until rabbit is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer rabbit pieces to plate. Add herbs to sauce in pot. Simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Return rabbit to pot. Stir until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve. -- Epicurious.com