Rural Blog: Cousin Lew was visiting from Virginia and I was complaining about rabbits as I normally do all summer long. I don't think the little bastards are cute. Lew said, "Tomorrow we'll build you one of Grandpa Smith's Rabbit Gums." Of course, not having been raised on the farm like Lew was I was unfamiliar with the rabbit gum. It took a bit of research (actually just doing the Google) to learn that the term came from the tradition of using the black gum tree as a trap. Apparently the black gum is predisposed to a fungi which hollows out the trunk making it useful for both bee hives and traps. Our gum, however, would be made from wood.
Lew roughed out a plan and I found a detailed schematic on the web which looked just like Lew's drawing but had all the dimensions and details.
It took us a couple hours of sawing and carving to make our gum which now sits in the garden waiting to surprise the rabbit with its "hare" trigger. Ha. Ha. The critter will follow the bait into the box, bump the trigger and the door will slam shut.
Then...well I don't really know what will happen then. Being of a vegetarian disposition and forbidden by family members from harming the creature I will probably just take it to the beach and try and beat it back to the garden. Maybe I will attempt to spray paint them a bit just to see how many I can catch. (Grandpa Smith was not on the catch and release program. He was a catch an eat kind of fellow). I guess I just want to mess with them a bit like they do with me.
So far there's been no action. I baited it with a carrot but Lew said that Grandpa Smith always used apple so this morning we changed the bait. Lew's method is backed up by this from the Smokey Mountain News:
"My uncle taught me to bait traps with apple slices. This was his preference because apples were readily available that time of the year and would keep in the trap for a long while. In addition to placing a large slice in the trap behind the trigger, he also placed tiny bits of apple in a pathway leading to the entrance."
I wonder if the door slamming shut will wake me up?