How to deal with a freshly shot hare.
1. Immediately it is shot, or as soon as possible thereafter, take hold of the carcase between the rear legs hold the legs downwards and apply pressure with both thumbs between the legs on the bladder to expel any urine onto the ground. This will stop stale urine tainting the meat.
2. Do not paunch the hare. Leave the entrails in situ and hang the hare by the hind legs in a cool dry place. Use a perforated metal fly proof game larder if you have one. If not, a cool dry area of a garage will suffice but you will need to inspect the carcase regularly to see that flies nave not laid eggs that have hatched into maggots. Do not worry if it happens, just cut away and discard the affected area when you butcher the carcase. The hare may drip blood from the nose this can be collected by tying a jam jar around the head to hang under the nose.
3. According to how gamey you like the meat to taste and the local temperature, ideally 40 – 50°F, hang the carcase for a week to two weeks. After five days sniff it regularly to judge how ripe it is. Fresh hare is tough, the longer it is left the tenderer and tastier it will become.
4. Paunch (remove the entrails) and skin the carcase. Remove the head and tail but retain the liver, kidneys and heart to give added flavour to the stew. Joint the carcase into from eight to ten pieces.
5. Cook according to any recipe you fancy, There are lots on the web. To my taste the essential ingredients among the many herbs listed are, in order of priority: juniper berries, a hot peppercorn (remove before serving), a glass or more of port, an onion studded with cloves (Remove before serving and other herbs to taste.
6. The keys to success are hanging the carcase until ripe and gamey and long slow cooking with plenty of herbs. The dish is always nicer if left to cool overnight and then reheated.
7. Bon Appetit!