Remove the entrails as soon as dead, and the skin just before cooking. Epicures keep them until the fibre begins to soften before dressing. The inside of the body must be kept dry, and it is well to dust it with pepper and salt. To skin them proceed in the following manner: Cut off the legs at the first joint, raise the skin on the back, draw it over the hind legs, and strip it from the tail, then slip it over the fore legs, and cut it away from the head and neck, leaving the ears on the head as perfect as possible. Wash them well, dry with a towel inside and out, and proceed to truss them. Cut the sinews of the hind legs, turn them towards the head, and fasten them to the sides of the hare or rabbit; then turn the fore legs to meet the hind legs, and fasten both with skewers. The head is crowded a little back, and fastened in place with skewers. The body is filled with dressing, the skin sewed up, and the whole bound firmly in shape with a string; the skewers and string must be removed after it is on the platter before sending the dish to the table.
The Housekeeper’s Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861
Comment: While it is somewhat unusual to find rabbit in your grocer’s meat case nowadays, in rural areas the animal is still hunted on a regular basis. (This is no doubt a good thing since without predators our nation’s gardens would be overrun entirely and we would have to subsist on grocery tomatoes, an awful fate.) Those contemplating taking up the practice are advised to consult with an experience hunter first, or at least to look up the symptoms and indications of tularemia before taking to the field.