Photo of A saddled jackalope in Mitchell, South Dakota

Weekly Gem #146 It's nice to know there are jackalopes around

Published 1/7/2018

Location:  This hidden gem is located on South Burr Street in Mitchell, SD (see the Clue Me! Map). You may be surprised to find out that the jackalope is part of a wildlife subgroup called "fearsome critters." It is listed with other critters lumberjacks and cowpokes knew well, like the hidebehind, axehandle hound, teakettler, snallygaster, squonk, glawackus, skunk ape, and, of course, the snipe.

It was said that jackalopes could imitate the human voice. In the days of the old west when cowboys gathered ‘round the campfire (probably with the jackalope-attracting whiskey present), jackalopes could be heard imitating the cowboy's voices, and even singing.

According to the few eyewitnesses who survived to tell: The jackalope is a jackrabbit with antelope horns. Okay, so the jackrabbit isn't a rabbit (it's a hare), the "antelope" is actually a pronghorn (which is not an antelope), and the horns are really antlers (much like those of a white-tailed deer). This has been well documented on film by Pixar.

Douglas Herrick, a taxidermist from Douglas, Wyoming, was the first to re-cover a deceased jackalope. He sold it for $10.

Since then the jackalope has attracted much attention. The Douglas, WY Chamber of Commerce issues jackalope hunting licenses to tourists. The tags are only good for hunting during official jackalope season ... one day only, June 31, from midnight to 2 am. Thousands of "licenses" have been issued.

The Wyoming legislature has exerted considerable effort in support of this rare species. For years they have considered making the jackalope the state's official mythological creature. Time and time again a bill has been brought up for vote, but never passed. Dan Zwonitzer, (a Republican Party member of the Wyoming House of Representatives) said, "I’ll keep bringing it back until it passes." Time well spent!


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


"Ride 'em Cowboy!"


A saddled jackalope statue

Why It's Interesting

This may be the one and only chance you'll ever get to ride a jackalope. They are one of the fearsome critters that live in the wilderness of the west. Normally you'd be advised to entice them with whiskey, and wear stovepipes on your legs so you wouldn't be gored while getting close to this dangerous critter ... but since this one's already saddled for you (and just a statue), you can leave your whiskey and protective gear in the truck. Hop on and ride like the wind!

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