Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Where the Deer And The Jackalope Play


Because I am on vacation I am reprinting some articles that originally appeared in Nature Center Magazine. This is one of my favorites. It was written by Copas who is no longer with us.

Late at night the cowboys sat around the campfire relaxing from the long day. Tall tales were told. Loved ones were remembered. Then the cowboys started to sing.

But what's that? In the distance something was singing back at them. Other cowboys? None in the area. Rustlers? They wouldn't let themselves be known. No... it's the jackalopes joining in.

Are you asking what is a jackalope? It's a supposedly mythical animal that is a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope. It looks like a jackrabbit except that it has horns like an antelope or deer. Occasionally it might have a tail like a pheasant too. Is that a jackalopant? Nope. It's still a jackalope.

A jackrabbit is actually a hare. It is usually bigger than a rabbit and has longer ears. The babies are born above ground and able to see and have all their fur when they are born. They are able to fend for themselves.

Deer and antelope are much larger animals. They often have magnificent antlers. Often they are hunted for more than meat. The antlers and heads make trophies for the hunter to brag about.


How did these two kinds of animals unite to form a new animal? Nobody seems to know. Maybe the same way that other hybrid animals of mythology were made.

Now the jackalopes are able to make their own little jackalopes. They are still very rare because they mate only in a storm. Lightning is an essential ingredient to successful mating.

As I said before baby jackalopes are able to fend for themselves from birth. But they are mammals which means that milk from the mother helps the young grow stronger and faster.

Jackalope milk is valuable. It has many medicinal uses, including as a powerful aphrodisiac. It's hard to get though.

The female sleeps belly up so it's fairly easy to get the milk if you can get to her. The milk comes out homogenized because of the powerful leaps made by those strong hind legs. The problem is that jackalopes are either shy or ferocious depending on who you talk to. There aren't too many of them either so it's kind of hard to find them to begin with.

Jackalopes can mimic any sound. We've already learned that they can sing like us. When they are being chased they will often send their hunters on a wild goose chase by yelling, "There it is. Over that way!" It makes it hard to find them.

The best way to catch a jackalope is to set out a flask of whiskey. They love the stuff. They are easier to follow and catch when they are drunk. Just be careful. They're mean drunks and will fight to the end.

Jackalopes are found mostly in the western and prairie states of the United States. Cousins can be found in the alpine regions of Europe. Some of the names they go by there are Wolpertinger, Blutschink, Dahu, Dilldap, Elwetritsch, Hanghuhn, and Rasselbock. In Sweden there is the Skvader.

President Ronald Reagan had a jackalope trophy mounted on his wall. He said he had captured it himself. A senator from South Dakota gave him another one a few years later as a gift.

Douglas, Wyoming, calls itself the Jackalope Capitol of America. In June each year they have an official Jackalope Day. Celebration of all things jackalope to be enjoyed. In fact you can even purchase a jackalope hunting license. The season is short so you will have to be prepared. Only one day, June 31 (not a misprint) and the time is only 12 midnight to 2 in the morning. If you go hunting for jackalope, I wish you luck.

16 comments:

  1. I have heard of the jackalope but have never seen one. Such a rare creature, to be sure. Like gnomes or leprechauns I imagine. Great post!

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it. If you are ever fortunate enough to see one I hope you will let us know.

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  2. Hmmm. Yes, I remember hunting Haggis in the highlands of Scotland. Haggis have shorter legs on one side so they can run around mountains without falling over.

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    1. Silly me, I thought haggis was stuffed guts. They must be easy to hunt since you know before you set out which way they’re headed.

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    2. John, I have heard of Haggis but did not know what they were called. Did you find any?

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    3. Snowbrush, when I first read John's comment the first thought that I had was the same as yours.

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    4. I found one once. A male called Hamish. :)

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    5. Hamish, Mia, Saffy, Bonnie, and the variety of chickens whose names I cannot remember make quite a menagerie for you.

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  3. If they just didn't stuff them and set them on desks!

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    1. "Some are mounted on walls!"

      Maybe I'm just being dense, but I don't think that makes them look any better, but what really worries me is that if you can make a fool out of a dead jackrabbit, why can't you make a fool out of a dead man? I can just see Peggy cutting off my head (after I'm dead, of course--she's not any meaner than your average woman) gluing donkey ears to my skull, putting extra large donkey teeth in my mouth, and mounting me over the fireplace. All of her women friends would no doubt laugh until they passed out. Later--when were awake again--they would decorate me for Christmas by putting a necktie with nude Santas all over it around my neck and hanging a red and a green ball from my nose. Of course, my cats would no doubt miss me, so I can at least take comfort in that, but then again, they might just use my face for a scratching post.

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    2. I'm sure you realize that mounting them on walls was simply a joke. I like your story of being on the wall and altered a wee bit. You have such a bright wit. I enjoyed the laugh.

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  4. I just shamelessly stole part of your post and put it on this blog: http://rhymeswithplague.blogspot.com/2016/08/lijf-goes-on-dai-after-dai.html

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    1. You are welcome to it. I will go take a look.

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  5. What a fun story. I'd love to go to Jackalope day. I bet the mascots are a hoot.
    R

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    1. The best thing is that because they are such mimics they can hoot. As well as any other sound they wish to make.

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