Story of Possum Hunting in Austin

It all started when I first came to the Austin, Texas area and sat down to read the following in the Austin American Statesman:

Monday, March 03, 2008
My neighbor has purchased a crossbow with the intent of killing opossums in his backyard. And he plans to drag them to the curb so the city will pick them up. Is this legal? I live within the city limits. He told me this just in case one of the poor opossums that has an arrow in its body falls into my yard. I have a small dog that goes out in the backyard periodically after dark. I don't want one of his arrows accidentally hitting my dog. There are also a lot of cats that roam at night. Can the city do anything about this? Whom can I
call? - A.R.

Answer from a “reporter”

With the exception of the "use of conventional mouse traps to catch mice and rats," hunting a wild animal is prohibited in the City of Austin, according to the city code. Additionally, your neighbor is liable if a stray arrow finds its way into your yard, according to the Austin Police Department. Call 311 to file a report.

Opossums are mostly scavengers and do not kill small dogs and cats, according to John Young, mammologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. They can carry disease, so clean up after working outdoors and wash garden-grown vegetables well before using.

[This is the same city that later put out a law that no one could chain up their dogs because it was inhumane to animals. Now people would have to build fences to avoid prosecution. ]

I tried to ask by the Internet the following:

Let us see if I get an answer. Question regarding opossums?
From: squeezebox charley
Sent: Mon 3/03/08 9:30 PM

Gentleman:
I read with interest your recent answer to someone's neighbor planning on using a crossbow to kill opossums in his backyard. I am a recent transplant to this area from Cajun Country in the state of Louisiana.

I am not interested in people being able to hunt opossums in the city of Austin, but I wonder if anyone around here eats them? Could you please ask people who view your Austin American Statesman column if they have any recipes?

My friends, who grew up in New Orleans, had remarked that in their youth they were able to earn "movie money" by selling opossums to some of the inhabitants [ie the “brothers’] , who considered opossums as a delicacy.

I have worked with raccoon; however, it is imperative that cooks remove glands which would ruin the meat for consumption. A good rule is to boil them twice to remove as much of the fat as possible.

Thanks in advance for the information.

Cordially yours,

Chuck, now living in the Austin, Texas area

Yes, I got a response, with a very cute image of “possums on top of a post,” :

My question about opossum recipes just got published 3-10-2008 in his column. But Peter threw in the image.

The caption that went with this image:
"Boiled? Baked? Chicken-fried? A reader is looking for some recipes for opossum."

And there was no response from anyone who reads the mullet wrapper that they call the Austin American Statesman.

I am proud of a response from our own Ben Coogle, who clamored that “God intended the Possum to be in a pot with a pile of Sweet Potatoes.!”

Squeezebox Charley
Cedar Park, Texas

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