When I tell people I’m going ferreting for the weekend I usually get asked, “ferreting for clothes or bargains at garage sales?” with a confused look.  Don’t get me wrong I love going on a bargain hunt in Op-shops. But to me nothing beats the great outdoors!

Big open spaces with fresh air and sunshine, and the sound of rabbit thunder under foot. The best part about ferreting is that I get to harvest wild free range rabbit from natures supermarket for a range of great meals.

photo (76)-Recovered

So what is ferreting. Ferreting is the age old art of using ferrets to flush rabbits from their warrens. 

It is believed that ferret domestication began over 2,500 years ago. In 1389, a book entitled “The Hunt” by Gaston Phoebus includes instructions on using ferrets to hunt rabbits using muzzles and netting placed over holes.
                                                              Women hunting rabbits with a ferret from Wikipedia. 

Purse nets and long nets are used to catch the rabbits. But don’t think for a second this is easy. Ferreting requires a large amount of patience, skill and experience. You would be sorely wrong to think that rabbits are docile creatures. They have outsmarted me on many an occasion. Multiple times I have overlooked a small golf ball sized “bolt hole” only to find they all escape out of their secret emergency exit. 

Although I shoot rabbit, I find that ferreting yields a greater catch, hands down every time. The ferrets love the hunt and a good tip to remember, never force a ferret down a hole. They have an acute sense of smell, and if they don’t want to go down the hole there is probably a good reason, there could be a feral cat, rat or worse a snake.

As you can see from the video its not unusual to have to wait up to 15 to 20 minutes before you hear or see anything, but when it happens its very fast.  Its a bit like fishing.  

Over the next few posts I will add more about the art of ferreting and some great meals I create. Below is a photo of a rabbit caught with a long net…. now that’s another story. photo 1 (1)