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Muskrat Hunting Season in Full Swing in Delaware
AP ^ | January 2, 2002

Posted on 01/02/2003 1:06:48 PM PST by Shermy

PEA PATCH ISLAND, Del. - Shin-deep in the icy muck, Tim Evans reaches a gloved hand into a watery hole and fishes out his treasure: a sodden mass of dark hair and claws, with four tiny, yellow incisors, a long rubbery tail, and beady gray eyes, cloudy in death.

"A nice black rat," Evans says, tossing the muskrat into a feed sack.

It is muskrat season in Delaware, which means good business for trappers and good eating for those who have no objection to dining on rodent.

Trapping season in Delaware starts in December and runs through mid-March, a period when the animals' fur is at its thickest.

"Muskrat is the No. 1 fur-bearer in the state as far as trapping," said Tom Whittendale, a state wildlife biologist.

In the past, muskrat trapping was a valuable activity for Delaware farmers, who used it to supplement their income in the winter and put more meat on the table. Nowadays, it is mostly a hobby for outdoor lovers everywhere from Maryland and Maine to Montana.

Delaware's muskrat harvest totaled about 20,000 last year, down from a recent high of about 49,000 in 1996. The pelts usually are sold to fur buyers for shipment mostly to Russia and are used to make coats, fur trimmings and garment linings.

Delaware trappers get around $3 to $5 for a muskrat pelt, and there is no harvest limit. A total of 185 resident trapper licenses were sold in Delaware last year, roughly half the number from the late 1980s.

Delaware's harvest is a mere fraction of the totals in Pennsylvania and Maryland, where the Eastern Shore community of Golden Hill is home to the annual World Muskrat Skinning Championships. In 2001, Pennsylvania trappers took about 121,000 muskrats, down from 827,000 in 1981, during a fur boom.

"There seems to be less and less interest in trapping because of the fur market itself," said Wade Henry of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. "The hides aren't worth much these days."

Evans has a contract with the state to trap muskrats in the Delaware River marshes of Pea Patch Island, in the shadow of the Civil War-era Fort Delaware.

While muskrats are trapped primarily for their fur, rodent eaters start salivating this time of year at the prospect of muskrat meat.

Bailey's Seafood on Route 13 near Odessa advertises muskrats along with oysters and other seafood, and regulars at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Smyrna have been asking when muskrat will start showing up on the menu.

In some parts of Delaware, all-you-can-eat fried muskrat dinners are a tradition for volunteer fire departments.

Wagon Wheel waitress Leona Price said the traditional cooking method is to boil the rat briefly with onions, fry it, then serve it with fried potatoes and stewed tomatoes. But Price does not eat muskrat herself.

"I tasted it, and it's not one of my favorite things," she said.

Jodi Pyle, who works at Bailey's, said the business gets rodent eaters from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The 40-year-old native Delawarean started eating muskrat only about five years ago, after someone served her some.

"She really didn't tell me what it was until I started eating it." Pyle recalled. "I was under the impression that it was roast beef."

At the Wagon Wheel, where a dinner of two muskrats, quartered and on the bone, costs about $13, including side dishes, owner Norm Gallegos said: "It's usually the word `rat' that bothers a lot of people."


TOPICS: Announcements; Culture/Society; US: Delaware
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 01/02/2003 1:06:48 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Grampa Dave; mhking; dighton; JohnHuang2
Cuisine ping.
2 posted on 01/02/2003 1:07:40 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
You are making me hungry...In Michigan you can buy 'rat meat at fish markets...
3 posted on 01/02/2003 1:09:58 PM PST by dakine
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To: Shermy
Stinky Rats season is open? Let's not tell the Hildebeast or her little dog Billie either!
4 posted on 01/02/2003 1:11:35 PM PST by Young Werther
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To: dakine
Some pics here.
5 posted on 01/02/2003 1:13:29 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
"Muskrat, muskrat in my sight,
"Settin' the traps and doin' it right,
"Fried ev'ry evenin'...
"It's pretty pleasin'..."
6 posted on 01/02/2003 1:15:30 PM PST by RichInOC
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To: Shermy
good eating for those who have no objection to dining on rodent.

Squirrel? Rabbit?

7 posted on 01/02/2003 1:16:20 PM PST by Restorer
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To: Shermy
They are ugly, but they taste good!
8 posted on 01/02/2003 1:17:07 PM PST by dakine
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To: Shermy
Sounds like the muskrats die by drowning. That's cruel.
9 posted on 01/02/2003 1:18:02 PM PST by mg39
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To: Restorer
Squirrels are indeed rodents, and mighty tasty ones at that. Rabbits, OTOH, are lagomorphs; not rodents at all. But they taste pretty good, too!
10 posted on 01/02/2003 1:19:08 PM PST by ArrogantBustard
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To: RichInOC

Breaking News: Muskrat lovers C & T announce
their reunion in order to
protest muskrat hunting.

11 posted on 01/02/2003 1:23:41 PM PST by Shermy
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To: ArrogantBustard
I like to trick people into eating "exotic" food...Rabbit, Squirrel, 'Rat....they never know until it is too late!!
12 posted on 01/02/2003 1:34:50 PM PST by dakine
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To: Shermy
Nothing more delicous than a nice fat muskrat...caught while hibernating...
and their fur is so nice and plush...a pleasure both to stroke and 'frick a zee'
13 posted on 01/02/2003 2:33:55 PM PST by joesnuffy
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To: mg39
Most trappers use "body grip" traps. I find leghold traps are not much good for 'rats. The end is quick and I would imagine painless. After all, if a creature is dead before it knows it, how can there be pain?
Now drowning rigs for 'coons is another matter...
14 posted on 01/02/2003 3:06:33 PM PST by chadwimc
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To: Shermy
Interesting. I can understand the "rat" part of the name by the pictures. But the "musk" part of the name kinda implies that it has a smell?
15 posted on 01/02/2003 3:13:35 PM PST by etcetera
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To: Shermy
Bump
16 posted on 01/02/2003 3:18:00 PM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: mg39
First they came for the silo cats, then they came for the muskrats,...........
17 posted on 01/02/2003 3:28:54 PM PST by Old Professer
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To: etcetera
Musk glands on their hind ends. I hear it was used for perfume before it was synthesized(sp?). I still use it for bait to attract other critters. Mix it in a glass jar with vasoline and glycerine, then... Naw I better not descibe it. Some things are better left a secret for us trappers.

Beaver castors are still used.
18 posted on 01/02/2003 4:08:10 PM PST by chadwimc
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; FreedomPoster; Timesink; AntiGuv; ...
Wabbit season! Duck season! Wabbit season! Duck season! Wabbit season! Duck season!

"Hold muh beer 'n watch this!" PING....

If you want on or off this list, please let me know!

19 posted on 01/02/2003 5:48:19 PM PST by mhking
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To: Shermy; Free Trapper
"...a sodden mass of dark hair and claws..."

Hey...I used to date her !
20 posted on 01/02/2003 5:53:07 PM PST by PoorMuttly
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To: Shermy
Muskrat Hunting Season in Full Swing in Delaware

Minor nit, you don't hunt them, you trap them. At least that's what my Dad and his buddies used to do.

21 posted on 01/02/2003 6:44:20 PM PST by El Gato
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To: Restorer
Better than nutra?
22 posted on 01/02/2003 8:00:56 PM PST by oyez
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To: oyez
My thoughts exactly. Given the Nutria problems they are having in LA and FL, you'd think they'd try to get the pelt market going down there.
23 posted on 01/02/2003 10:12:41 PM PST by Norwell
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To: Old Professer
"...First they came for the silo cats, then they came for the muskrats,..."

LOL!

The real horrors are to be found on the infamous Cat/Rat fur ranches...

Where the muskrats are skinned and fed to the cats...

And the cats in turn skinned and fed to the rats...

It's like perpetual motion... They eat each other and produce an endless supply of pelts.

At least the Silo Cats have a chance...

24 posted on 01/03/2003 10:22:06 AM PST by DWSUWF
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To: Shermy
I wish someone would trap Joe Biden's(D-Delaware) hair
25 posted on 01/03/2003 2:12:26 PM PST by NC Conservative
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To: Shermy
I have skinned at least 3 pickups full of rats, but never could bring myself to eat one. I guess I saw too many of those huge yellow puss bag tumors just under the skin.
I would say that about one in a hundred is afflicted that way. Kinda grosses you out when you skin one. A wound is the cause I suspect. When they are a few days ripe, the sides of the body start to turn green. I hate it when the
body comes apart when you pull the skin down.
26 posted on 01/03/2003 2:46:42 PM PST by latrans
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To: Shermy
I'll bet Trafficant's glad to be out of the line of fire.

FReegards,
Slings and Arrows

27 posted on 01/03/2003 9:03:14 PM PST by Slings and Arrows
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To: mg39
and do you have a better solution?
28 posted on 01/03/2003 9:40:23 PM PST by smoking camels
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To: Shermy
You owe a keyboard!!!
29 posted on 01/03/2003 9:45:15 PM PST by blackbart.223
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To: latrans
"I have skinned at least 3 pickups full of rats, but never could bring myself to eat one."

I love to hunt as much as anyone but I could never bring myself to eat a rat. Give me venison or elk.

That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

30 posted on 01/03/2003 9:50:39 PM PST by blackbart.223
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To: blackbart.223

T: Just Say No To Muskrat. Right sweetie?
C: Huh huh.

31 posted on 01/03/2003 10:24:21 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
I'd never eat rat unless it was that or death. As to the fur, no problem.
32 posted on 01/03/2003 10:35:46 PM PST by blackbart.223
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To: El Gato
you don't hunt them, you trap them.

I have shot at them a bunch. Why are they so hard to hit? I am a very good shot but have never been able to hit a muskrat that I could verify. They used to undermine my dams so they were a big problem.

33 posted on 01/03/2003 11:38:22 PM PST by Colorado Doug
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To: Shermy
My father was from the Delmarva Peninsula. Every now and then he'd get his hands on some muskrat from down that way and cook it up. We lived in Upstate NY where most people were familiar with muskrats, but would never dream of eating them. I still remember the looks of horror, disgust and confusion when visitors to the house learned what Dad was fixing on the stove. Almost invariably if he asked them to try it, they'd turn about 5 shades of green.

We were real culinary oddballs in the neighborhood. It was a heavily Italian-American area so while every one around us lived on baked ziti and zucchini we were eating things like oyster fritters, turnip greens and fried chicken. At the time that's all I knew, but when I look back now I have to laugh at how out of place we really were.
34 posted on 01/04/2003 8:01:11 AM PST by Media Insurgent
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To: Shermy
Muskrat Hunting Season in Full Swing in Delaware

Phooey! I thought it said, Democrat Hunting Season in Full Swing in Delaware.

35 posted on 01/04/2003 9:26:41 AM PST by reg45
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To: Restorer
Rabbit?

Just to pick nits, rabbits and hares are lagomorphs, rather than rodents.

36 posted on 01/04/2003 10:05:54 AM PST by gundog
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To: smoking camels
"do you have a better solution?"

If people are going to kill animals, they have a moral imperative to do so quickly. Drowning animals is cruel and in a just world, would be illegal. People who drown animals are beneath contempt.
37 posted on 01/04/2003 10:13:50 AM PST by mg39
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To: mg39
I disagree. If I was (and I won't!) planning to commit suicide I would seriously consider drowning.
38 posted on 01/04/2003 3:59:03 PM PST by smoking camels
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To: blackbart.223
love to hunt as much as anyone but I could never bring myself to eat a rat

Same here. I would have to be starved on death's door before I could even contemplate eating a rat.

39 posted on 01/05/2003 8:59:18 AM PST by pgkdan
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To: mg39

Sounds like the muskrats die by drowning. That's cruel.

Pretty quick if you think about it.

40 posted on 01/05/2003 9:15:53 AM PST by fso301
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To: Shermy
Is a 'muskrat' some sort of Yankee nutria-rat? :)
41 posted on 01/05/2003 9:24:34 AM PST by LibKill
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To: mg39
HEY, muskrats are people too!!!
42 posted on 01/05/2003 9:55:00 AM PST by thepitts
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To: pgkdan
"Same here. I would have to be starved on death's door before I could even contemplate eating a rat."

Great minds think alike.

43 posted on 01/07/2003 10:28:40 PM PST by blackbart.223
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