"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Climbing Swamp Rabbits
Copyright © 2006 by Bill Scifres

Some interesting information came by way of the internet the other day, and I find it "palatable" to pass it on to readers of this column--all-the-more-so because the fall hunting seasons are almost here.

The information came in the form of a question on whether or not swamp rabbits will climb the inside of hollow trees. The question came from Paul Wright, a resident of the state of Georgia now, having spent much of his youth in Southern Georgia and Northern Florida.

But it is Paul’s story. Let’s let him tell it:


“The Swamp Rabbits are also called Buck Rabbits from what I have heard.

“The swamp briers are found in the swamps of South Georgia and in North Florida. They grow from trees and hang down like most briers would hang.

“They are about the size of you thumb or index finger and have thorns on them. We would cut about a six foot brier and skin the end so we would not get any of the thorns in our hands and then shove the thorny part of the brier up the hollow tree and pull the rabbit out.

“It has been a long time since I have done any hunting for rabbit. The swamps are still there, and the briers are still there, but I have not been wading into the swamps for many years.

“As a kid in Walton County, Fla., we would go into the swamps like a kid would play in a city. We knew the swamps, and this talk about ‘gators’ today is really silly to me.

“We used to swim in a creek about two hundred feet from a 'gator slide’ and they never bothered any of us . . . A cottonmouth, coral or rattle snake is what you watched for. To this day I visualize those swamps. I suspect that most of the snakes were there in the swamps for rabbit and other animals. There are frogs, rats, mice and other creatures of course.

“Gnats, mosquitoes, and flies are your biggest worry in the summer.  You have made me recall some things that I had not thought of in years, even seeing an orchid in a tree. What swamps?--they are going in Florida and Georgia because of the people moving in. --Paul"

Our thanks to Paul for the enlightening information on the swamp rabbit’s climbing tendencies (on the inside of hollow trees), and for the information and comment on swamps in general and swamp briers.

Here in Indiana we have had a population of swamp rabbits for many years. They are found mostly in the southwestern part of the state, but I suspect that remnant populations could show up in the wet, natural lake country, or anyplace else in the state.

See “Swamp/Cottontail Rabbit Subspecies?” in the question and answer section of  www.bayoubill.com, or let me know your address, and I will send it to you. It would be good to send self-addressed and stamped envelope.

Swamp rabbits were fairly common in Southern Indiana when I was a kid. We often were able to twist rabbits (and other animals) from den trees and other dens with long, limber poles.

It may be illegal to do so now, and certainly in very bad taste. But our advice is: stay away from gators.

IT’S ALL OVER--The Indiana State Fair is over now, and conservationists and wildlife and fish managers of the state are already calling the new 300,000 gallon fish pond for kids a huge success. 

This spawns a duo of questions. First the water will be filtered and the pond will be drained this week. 

If each gallon of water made eight (8) pints, that would dampen a lot of whistles, wouldn’t it? By the same faulty mathematics, there also were a lot of whistles at the State Fair.

Incidentally, the pond will be drained this week and the fish therein will be cleaned, frozen, and funneled into the penal system of the state as food.  And the fishing pond will be refilled and used for our youngsters in subsequent State Fairs.


All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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