Monday, 25 October 2010

Rabbit and mushrooms

Leaving dinner preps in capeable hands, I nipped out with the gun for an evening yomp across the fields. I had promised a friend a rabbit because she wanted to try a recipe from my book (more about that later) and, although I had a few in the freezer, I much prefer to give people fresh meat.
As is often the case when you set out with the sole aim of bagging one for the pot (or someone else's pot) there weren't many rabbits about. My guess is that some dogwalkers had been out before me, sending the bunnies to ground.
I made my way further across the fields until something on the hillside caught my eye. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a patch of horse mushrooms - good eating. Clearly touched by frost, these specimens were past their best but I wasn't going to let them go to waste. I didn't have a bag so I used my camouflage headnet to transport the 'shrooms around the fields.

Horse mushrooms and the poisonous yellow stainer look almost identical so don't eat any if you aren't absolutely sure. I recommend an illstrated guide book.
Eat yellow stainers and your body will want to flush this poisonous fungi asap. Expect a violent evacuation of the offending mushrooms - and anything else you try to eat or drink - over the next few hours.
Yellow stainers turn bright yellow when bruised but, after a moment, the staining fades to brown. Horse mushrooms stain yellow but not as brightly, and the yellow persists and does not turn brown. Also, the base of the horse mushroom's stem does not turn yellow when bruised, on the yellow stainer it does. If in doubt, leave them well alone...

Back to the hunt...
After gathering my mushrooms, I returned to the cover of the shady hedgerows in the hope of encountering a rabbit or two.
Eventually, I spotted a rabbit ahead, but well out of range. A slow and strenuous stalk eventually got me to within 30 metres of my quarry but nettle stems obscured a low shot, rendering my bipod useless. I opted for a kneeling shot instead and dispatched the bunny cleany with a solid smack to the head. Job done.
I'd hoped to bag a bunny for myself, too, but I ran out of time and failed to add another before dinner time.

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