I found Tim Maddams’ One for the pot article and advice on cleaning and skinning rabbits of great interest (September issue). I have seen the method advocated by Tim used by the staff of a game dealer a few years ago and I must admit it was a far more efficient way of skinning rabbits than when I was a kid in the 1940s. However, there was a good reason for removing the skin in one piece in those days. Between WWII and 1954, meat was on ration, so rabbits were of great value off-ration. Us lads would be paid 10 shillings for a clean-ferreted rabbit, while the rabbits that contained shotgun pellets only made 5 shillings, and old bucks and ‘milky’ does made a shilling. The pelts were also of value as the fur was removed and processed into felt and the skins boiled to make glue.
I remember a local dealer toured the area with a pony and cart until the mid-1950s on a weekly basis; he would pay 3p for skins from shot rabbits and 6p for clean-ferreted skins. This was a good way of earning some extra pocket money, even if it was a lot slower than Tim’s method of halving the skins prior to skinning.