Was reading through some old posts the other day, and seeing mention of my buddy Eric, and also of my Uncle, Larry Leawood, I was reminded of tailing slips. I think pretty much every young boy has experienced this back home, and likely most continue to do so as long as they can.
For the non Newfoundlander, or perhaps for some of those too, you CFA’s know them as rabbit snares, but they’ll always be rabbit slips to me. Essentially, they are a loop of wire tailed in a rabbit trail used to catch rabbits for eating.
Back in older days, slips were always made out of this…. braided? not sure the right term right now, but was made up of many many filaments, and was nearly impossible, for me anyway, to keep it in a loop shape without it twisting. I still remember buying it, and the newer aluminum? wire at Handy Andy’s back in the day. Part of the fun I think was interacting with Stan and Dennis, but you could buy the wire and the licence nearly anywhere.
I also remember playing with the old filamented wire on the old flashlight batteries, and having the little ends glow red hot, but I digress.
Often times, you could tell who owned a slip in the woods, just by looking at it, as they were often as unique as the person who tailed them. Uncle Larry for example always tied his on with a granny knot, while others made their loops in slightly different ways or shapes. You’d often see them tailed in the same rabbit run year after year, and others you’d see someone make a spot to tow the rabbits, chopping down some tasty young birch and making a run of your own to tail your slip in.
This wasn’t done for fun, though it can be fun too, but rabbits were and are a big addition to the winter food store. And quite tasty to boot, I’d like to have a freezer full right now!
Raised in outport Newfoundland in a town of 65 people, I pursued a post secondary diploma in Information Technology right out of High School.
I’ve always been a geek at heart, but yet I love the rural life I grew up with. Fishing, hunting, camping and the great outdoors are still loves of mine, even if I don’t pursue them as often as I once did. Sports were always a big part of our lives, and I played many (badly) and loved them all.
Brings me back! My Dad showed me how to set them using a sapling as a spring so that, when tripped, the rabbit would be hoisted up in the air. Not only would it meet a speedy end but it would be out of th way so that the many winter scavengers would not be able to make a meal on it. Just me! My Dad also told me that the brains were considered quite a delicacy and that he always saved it for his Mom. Me–nah!
Yeah dad was the same, also liked to make head cheese from moose brains and the like!
I find it amazing just how much our regular diets have changed over the last 50 years. Walk the clock back to the 1950’s (maybe even the mid 1960’s) and the things people find so commonplace now: hugely processed foods (store-made burgers, nuggets, wieners and such), fresh beef especially steaks, and even turkeys, were rare; a treat. Chicken was a specialty. Now, the things we ate then are relatively unknown. Growing up in Red Island my diet consisted of root vegetables, game such as rabbits, sea birds (turrs mostly), game birds (mostly ptarmigan which we called partridge), salt pork, some salt beef, lots of mutton and fish, fish, and more fish. Today, even people in their forties would likely call that a weird diet. Frankly, I don’t consider that progress!
Yeah I agree, I miss those foods myself