A Poacher And His Fare: Bob with Rifle and Hare
In my younger days, hares were a common sight on the hills and golf courses within the city limits. The Braid Hills, Ravelston Dykes behind the zoo, Blackford Hill and Arthur’s Seat were all places I used to hunt “city hares” with my rifle.
I was up at the crack of dawn and probably saw more urban wildlife than most casual city walkers who would be fast asleep in their beds while I was abroad going about my business with the intention of feeding my family with locally sourced fresh meat. I often greeted passing foxes on my travels going about their business.
We were brothers in the field. In those far off days foxes were not often seen. Unlike like today, when a comment from an Auld Reekie that they had just seen a big fox in their city garden, would bring forth a stifled yawn from their neighbour. The women in my family were not as keen as the boys about eating the flesh of the hare. They said it was “strong tasting” and “very gamey”. Well, those fleet-footed animals provided a lot more meat than a rabbit and were not to be sniffed at. I figured out a recipe that was acceptable to all of the family and not just father and son.
I minced the meat twice over, added onions, garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper and made hare-burgers. The flavour could almost have passed for beef and they all got gobbled up with great enthusiasm. The hare is an amazing animal which I have always admired. It’s a magical creature which I have studied at close range for many years, as a hunter and a naturalist. They still surprise me and I don’t have that powerful urge to hunt them as did in my youth.