However, he never guts hares. Why is this? My father doesn?t know the answer either and suggested I write and ask you.

David Whitby
First of all, we say paunching, not gutting, when speaking of rabbits ? just as we call the same operation gralloching in the case of deer.

Your question is a very sensible one and best answered by saying that when the stomach and intestines are left in a rabbit, they have a tendency to taint the flesh in an unpleasant manner.

Even more important is to remove the strong smelling glands by the rectum.

Some meats benefit from being hung for a period of time; and pheasants, for example, may be eaten when really quite decayed.

However, if you tried to do that with a chicken then you would become very ill indeed.

A similar example is venison and pork.

The former can be eaten when rather ?ripe?, without serious side effects, but pork simply goes bad and becomes dangerous.

Meats decay in different ways.

The bacteria found in pork and chicken can render the meat harmful, whereas bacteria found in the darker venison and game birds are obviously not so harmful and give the meat its gamey flavour that some people appreciate.

This is also applicable to rabbits and hares.

The former should be at once paunched and not hung for a long period; but hares benefit from a spell of hanging unpaunched to enhance the flavour.