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Great Easter Bunny Hunt

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Great Easter Bunny Hunt

20th Annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt took place in Alexandra yesterday. Nearly 23,000 rabbits were shot (22,904), as well as 979 hares, 8 pigs, many stoats and a goat. Images are available on request.

The event, sponsored by Moa Beer, aims to help out Otago farmers, who face an ongoing battle against the rabbit plague. Climatic conditions, resistance to calicivirus and the amount of feed available have allowed rabbit numbers on Otago farms to explode - and farmers are crying out for all the help they can get.

This year, for the first time Moa Beer helped to incite the extermination by offering a 'beer for bunnies' bounty - a dozen Moa Original for every 200 rabbits shot.

Moa also ensured participants were able to suitably celebrate their kill at the end of the event with a special Moa Hunters rabbit feast, prepared by Bevan Smith, head chef at Cuisine's New Zealand Restaurant of the Year 2010, The Riverstone Kitchen in Oamaru.

Bevan also offered expert rabbit skinning and cooking workshops on the day - after all, all those evil rabbits have to be good for something... His top tips are below.

For images or more information, please don't hesitate to contact me. On the menu at the Moa Hunting Lodge yesterday - Moa Hunter Rabbit Kebabs Asian-style rabbit kebabs prepared with vegetables, garlic and chilli sauce and flat bread. The majority were prepared beforehand. A few rabbits were taken from the field, skinned, gutted and cooked fresh. Bevan's Top 5 Easter Bunny Tips

1. Go for the headshot! It makes the rest of the process much easier and the final product far more appetising.

2. Skin your rabbit while it's still warm. The skin will come off much easier and a warm rabbit will also mean you won't have to hack at it while filleting. Also, having warm hands will lessen the yuck factor of gutting

3. Have a mincer handy. The small size of rabbits makes it difficult to work with individual cuts. Mincing rabbit will save you a lot of time and help make a more attractive end product.

4. Add a little pork mince into the mix. The gamey texture of rabbit means there is little fat in the meat. Come cooking time it can be difficult keeping the shape and form of your meat - simply put, it'll fall to bits. Try for a ratio of 2/3 rabbit to pork mince. The addition of a little pork should help patties and kebab bind together.

5. Finally, cook your rabbit hard and fast. A short burst with plenty of flame should do the trick nicely.

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