Hunting and Eating Rabbit

April 25th, 2018
Andy's Mother in Law's Gumbo Recipe

Andy’s Mother in Law’s Gumbo Recipe; just substitute rabbit.

This is Passport to Texas

Andy Gluesenkamp calls rabbit the third white meat.

Rabbit really is all white meat; it’s like a cross between pork and chicken. It’s very, very lean; there’s very little fat in the meat, itself.

Director of Conservation at the San Antonio Zoo, Andy has hunted and eaten rabbit since he was a boy.

I grew up eating curried rabbit that my mom made. And no one makes better curried rabbit than my mom.

A self-professed “good cook,” Andy likes to prepare rabbit he’s harvested. Preparation, he says, begins with properly field dressing the animal, which, he adds, is “easy to clean.” Rabbit is a versatile and healthy protein that lends itself to a variety of cooking styles.

I think my buttermilk fried rabbit is pretty good. I also make rabbit gumbo, based on my mother-in-law’s gumbo recipe; and that is exceptional. I’ve also done rabbit pot pie, and Teriyaki rabbit, and grilled rabbit, and poached rabbit. It’s really hard to mess up rabbit.

If you don’t hunt rabbits, yourself, make friends with a hunter who does. Barring that, you may find recipe ready rabbits at farmers markets or at your local specialty grocer.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting Rabbits Around the Edges

April 24th, 2018
Staring down a bunny in Big Bend

Staring down a bunny in Big Bend

This is Passport to Texas

Expect success nearly every outing when rabbit hunting—especially when you hunt around the edges.

[Those are] Areas where people aren’t necessarily going to be conducting other activities.

Andy Gluesenkamp, Director of Conservation at San Antonio Zoo, and an avid rabbit hunter, says hunting rabbits provides a “walk in the woods” experience. But what about those edges?

You would look for fence lines along fallow fields, or old pasture, or berry patches and cactus patches….So, there’s less competition with other land use – like cattle grazing. Rabbit hunting usually won’t disturb cattle. Or, you’re not going to be competing with deer hunters who are going to be in another kind of habitat.

Ask landowners about hunting their property, or consider hunting on TPW’s public lands. Hunt rabbits year-round; however, the cooler months have their advantages.

It’s pleasant – getting back to that walking in the woods experience – also in summertime when it’s really dry, they can be a lot leaner. I prefer to eat them when they have a little bit of fat on them. If there’s green grass on the ground – that’s the perfect time to go rabbit hunting.

Rabbit as a tasty treat. That’s tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Boredom to Battle Zone: Hunting Rabbits

April 23rd, 2018
Cottontail

Cottontail

This is Passport to Texas

When most people think of hunting, they think: deer, dove, duck and feral hogs. But, Andy Gluesenkamp, director of conservation at the San Antonio Zoo, isn’t most people.

I hunt primarily rabbits; rabbit hunting is really near and dear to my heart.

Andy’s love affair with rabbit hunting started when he was a boy spending time in the field alongside his father.

I have really fond memories of hunting rabbits with my dad. So, I can say I think it’s the best way to start kids on hunting, because I can look at my personal experience and tie my love of nature all the way back to those early experiences.

Hunting for small game like rabbit has its own rhythm.

Rabbit hunting is the perfect balance between the abject boredom that goes with sitting in a deer blind, and maybe or maybe not seeing a deer, and maybe or maybe not getting to shoot at it, and the battle zone, frontline, fire fest that can be a good day of dove hunting. So, somewhere between being bored out of your socks and sounding like you’re in an air raid is rabbit hunting.

Andy Gluesenkamp says it’s like a walk in the woods interspersed with the excitement of sighting your prey and taking a good shot. More on rabbit hunting tomorrow.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV: The Bug Man

April 20th, 2018
Dr. Grubh searching for bugs.

Dr. Grubh searching for bugs.

This is Passport to Texas

The Blanco River flood of 2015 devastated vegetation along the river banks, and demolished river substrate.

These flood levels were really huge. Regular discharge on the Blanco river is about 90cfs, which means cubic feet per second, and it peaked around 150,000 cfs.

Archis Grubh is an aquatic biologist.

 I primarily focus on the invertebrates.

He says that flood knocked out nearly 90 percent of the river’s invertebrates, which are essentially aquatic bugs.

Invertebrates are really good indicators of water quality. Because, if the water quality is going down, those are the first ones to disappear from the water.

Since the flood, Dr. Grubh’s collected specimens, which he’s taken back to his lab.

We collect three samples; we just dump all whatever we have. There’s gonna be tons of insects packed in it. It’s very important, because I’m studying and finding out what all the diversity of these invertebrates are. So, I am capturing a snapshot here and recording what all we find.

Diversity means a healthier river ecosystem overall. Grubh’s research will help in future river management.

[I want to find out] Which ones were most affected and how they are doing now.

Learn more about Dr. Grubh and his work next week on a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Less can be More with Some Rare Species

April 19th, 2018
Tobusch fishhook cactus

Flowers of Tobusch fishhook cactus can be yellowish-green (or golden-yellow or bright yellow – not shown).

This is Passport to Texas

Sometimes the best course of action is no action at all. At least that’s the stance botanist, Jackie Poole, takes when it comes to the endangered Tobusch Fishhook Cactus and the insect grubs that eat it.

And that’s a real problem, because one of these insects is only known to lay its eggs in Tobusch Fishhook Cactus; so, it’s basically as rare as the cactus.

In the case of the Tobusch cactus – and its nemesis the Tobusch weevil – the best botanists can do is observe.

We’ve just been studying it for the last 10 or 15 years to see if there’s some kind of cyclical nature to this predator/prey relationship—where you have a big prey population buildup, like a lot of Tobusch fishhook cactus are out there, and then all of a sudden the insect population starts to boom because it has so many cactus to lay its eggs in. And then the cactus goes away and then it crashes, and then you just go through this cycle back and forth.

Other variables could also come into play to explain these fluctuations; making a hasty solution no solution at all. Patience is necessary.

That’s right. And that’s the main thing I think with endangered species. I often tell people to just to take a deep breath, because you just need to sit back and think about it and look at it and not think that the sky is falling.

Learn about rare and endangered plants on the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.