Jackalope Mount
Jackalope Mount | Photo Credit: Wikimedia - cgpgrey

What does a half jackrabbit, half antelope have to do with the small Wyoming town of Douglas? Why it is the home of the infamous jackalope! Local legend dates back nearly 200 years, telling the tales of a giant, aggressive rabbit with antlers! Today, Douglas is nicknamed Jackalope City and visitors come from around the globe to snap their picture with what is claimed to be the “World’s Largest Jackalope”.

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Rumors of the jackalope have been circulating as far back as the 1820s, with the first one recorded to have been spotted in 1829. During the days of the wild west, Wyoming was home to several sightings of the giant antlered rabbit. Old songs and campfire stories were told of the mythical creature and how it came to existence, but the tales didn’t stop there. It is said that the jackalope can be very aggressive and is not afraid to use its antlers in its defense. It’s hostile disposition has also gained it a nickname of “War Rabbit”. Some people claim that the creature can even mimic human voices.

During the Great Depression, Douglas Herrick and his brother who lived in Douglas, Wyoming began studying taxidermy. Of course, back then there was no internet to search, so they received lessons and books through the mail. The two young teens practiced their taxidermy skills on the animals they killed hunting in the nearby plains. One day, the boys shot a jackrabbit and put it in their barn to taxidermy. Later, they walked by and noticed a set of antlers beside the rabbit. Inspired, the boys created the first taxidermy jackalope and sold it to the hotel in Douglas. In 1932, the New York Times did an article on the Herrick boys’ animal mount which led to the story of the jackalope making national news.

The city of Douglas has embraced its fame as the home of the jackalope. In 1965, the city built the first jackalope statue in the downtown area. However, this first statue was tragically struck by a car and destroyed nearly 30 years later. Determined to rebuild, Douglas then constructed a jackalope statue that was placed in the city’s Jackalope Square.

Jackalope Statue, Douglas, Wyoming
Jackalope Statue, Douglas, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Flickr – GPA Photo Archive

Today, visitors will find several jackalope statues throughout the city. One of the most popular ones is in front of the Douglas Railroad Interpretive Center. The center serves as a small museum and even displays some of the mounts of jackalopes that have been created over the years.

Of course, there always comes the scientific explanation for why a jackalope could possibly exist. Biologists and researchers have claimed that the apparent jackalope is not mixed with an antelope. The creature is simply a jackrabbit that has contracted the shope papilloma virus. This virus would cause large tumor growths on the heads of the rabbits and also make them irritable. As far as mimicking human voices, that claim is still left to be explained.

Plan Your Visit

Today, you can visit “Jackalope City” and witness where all the tall tales of the infamous creature have been spread. The city hosts the annual Jackalope Day each June which celebrates the mysterious creatures legendary existence.

If you wish to hunt for jackalope, the season is open one day a year and permits can be obtained from the Douglas Chamber of Commerce. The permit is valid on June 31st from midnight to 2 a.m.

If you enjoyed reading this post or have visited Douglas before, leave a comment below or share this post on your favorite social media!



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