Rabbits ate most of my young fruit trees.
Rabbits are abundant in my garden. I usually don't mind. I have more clover in the pathways than grass, and they are content with the clover mostly, all seasons. They eat it all winter, pooping all over the garden, fertilizing it. We have a snow pack for the first time in awhile, it's a thick heavy snow, and they can't get to the clover. Ringed the trees as high as they could reach; they particularly enjoyed the pears, eating through the inner bark and cambium and into the wood, eighteen inches up. They picked at the peach and the new apple. They clipped the short sour cherry from the top down. They chewed up much of the western sand cherry too. It's my fault, of course; they are just being rabbits, and I certainly could have protected the trees without much trouble. Though I'm reminded, I didn't add the rabbits last week, to the list of the things that will keep me from starving :)
There's an interesting story on right now, on MPR (Minnesota Public Radio), about the wolf hunt here in MN. It's sort of like the division in the abortion debate. One side wants no hunt, the other side thinks its a freedom (except the sides are turned, relative to the abortion division). There are an estimated 3300 wolves in Minnesota (or were): 417 were killed in the hunt, another 300 shot and trapped for depredations on pets and livestock, and hit by cars (no one ever asks, what are cattle farms doing in the north woods?) No number given for the illegal kill, but the guy in favor of the hunt, on the radio, did say early on, [parapharasing], "I don't know how many are killed illegally, you can say whatever, 1000, 2000." It's probably more like 300-400 (it does show how "scientific" his "scientific" claim really is, how much he really cares about wolves.)
On the Doomstead Diner, we've been discussing animal totems. I mentioned when I was a young man I identified with the wolf. Which is to say, some people see animals as totems, and some see them merely as a resource, or a menace; other's still would be fine with exterminating all animals (except humans of course). The guy (on the radio) who wants a moratorium on the hunt is talking now, about that totem feeling, native concerns, and I'm pretty sure I just heard the other guy laugh.
I think, when a guy had to kill a wolf with a bow, he might have had cause to "wear" that pelt as an ornament. Instituting a 30-40 percent reduction in population yearly, is a holocaust.
My neighbor just called in. LOL He just said we don't need to count the wolves. He said there's been a big reduction in deer, rabbit and grouse. He said there's a need to "do something" about all the predators in this state (though he gave a full reprieve to bald eagles). He mentioned most of the predators, of course, except human. He's going on and on now, just about to the limit, before they interrupt. He's well spoken (if mistaken - it's not wolves killing all those animals, it's hungry people in hard times.) The lady talking now is saying something about "the lords of nature." My neighbor, the same one that called in, will likely trap and eat the rabbits that ate my fruit trees. He traps about fifty a year, in the neighborhood. He and his wife eat them.
Which, looking at the rabbit as a totem, I see them eating my fruit trees, as a kind of release. A gesture. Permission to let go of this house, this land.
And a warning. Protect the fruit bearing from predation.
Meanwhile, opportunities abound.