Hunting Crabs

A few months ago, my beau and I spent some time on Long Island, Bahamas. One of the highlights of the trip turned out to be my first experience hunting land crabs! Or hunting any crabs, for that matter.

This was an unexpected treat. It just so happened that, while we there, conditions were right and THOUSANDS of land crabs emerged. It had been raining a lot, but that afternoon, the sun came out and so did the crabs. And I mean, literally, THOUSANDS. We were driving down the road and just began to see crabs coming out all along the edge of the road. People started to pull over their cars and just get out and grab crabs!

Roadside hunting.

We took a few minutes to scrounge up some “gear,” consisting of one pair of kitchen tongs and a few 5-gallon plastic buckets. And off we went – ‘”CRABBIN’”

First crab into the bucket!

The crabs were so plentiful that it was easy pickin’ in some areas. My beau and his buddy didn’t even have to set down their drinks along one road! They just strolled along and would stop from time to time to throw a crab into the bucket.

Easy hunting.

But, of course, what fun is hunting unless you venture into the bush?!

Beau deep in the bush.

I plowed my way in a bit to take pictures, but had to turn back. Had I been prepared in long pants and sleeves, I’m sure I could have made a fine huntress. Alas, in swimsuit and flip-flops, my scratched up limbs begged me to return to the road.

His buddy, even deeper in the bush, barefoot, with crab in bare hand. They don’t call him “Bushman” for nothing!

Back along the road, I caught my first crab! Using the tongs as my cheater’s tool to avoid getting pinched, I scooped up about 10 more into my bucket before returning to my photographer role.

I see you!

Going in for the capture.

My one crab was, literally, just a drop in the bucket!

Elated from my initial success, I cruised the edge of the bush for more prey.

Scurrying around to catch the crabs was fun! It was far more exciting than I would have guessed. Plus, we laughed extensively throughout it all. For example, as we carried the bucket along, we had to remember to glance at it occasionally. The crabs would start crawling up each other’s backs and climbing out of the bucket. We had to shake the bucket and knock them back down. But a few times, we didn’t notice until too late and had to shake claws off of our hands and re-hunt the escapees!

Meanwhile, other friends had arrived near our spot. They had a truck with a huge oil-drum-type of container on the back of the truck. When our five-gallon buckets would fill up, we’d dump the bucket into the drum and go back for more!

Hundreds of crabs in far less than an hour.

I can’t even convey the amazing sight of crabs crawling everywhere you look in the bush! At one point, Beau and his buddy joked that they felt the ground moving as the crabs scrambled all around.

Just a glimpse of crabs in so many corners and crevices.

Most of the crabs tried to run for cover when we approached. Some, however, were distracted by other priorities . . .

Crab pornography. Seriously.

When we finally quit, we took our combined haul to our friend’s home and locked it up for the night. We dumped all of the crabs – still alive – into a wooden pen with air holes, supplied with water.

Crab hotel.

Crabs usually come out at night – we had just enjoyed this afternoon fluke. But our friends took advantage of it and went out crabbin’ late that night, adding even more to the haul.

Close-up of the mass of crabs.

The next day, our friend’s mother cooked up a phenomenal feast of crab-n-rice and other tasty dishes. The following day, we boxed up a small portion of the crabs, taking them home alive with us on the little charter plane to deliver to friends back home for a nice change to the menu.

Every now and then, I’ll see a crab around my island home. They’re usually smaller – too small to kill/eat – but I smile and remember my crabbin’ adventure.

2 Responses to Hunting Crabs

  • Sarah says:

    Too cool! I love how colorful the land crabs are. They have such beautiful patterns too. How exciting that you got to go "crabbin"…guess it's official: you're really an island girl.

  • Dawn says:

    Thanks for your comment, Sarah. As for "island girl" – hah! Perhaps I've passed the rookie level, but I still have a ways to go to hit the advanced level. Working on it! 🙂

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