Stalking the Elusive Jackalope

By Don Laine

Those driving to the RMOWP conference in West Glacier, Montana, from the south this July will likely pass through Douglas, Wyoming, the absolute best spot in the U.S. to see the rare pronghorned jackalope. Sometimes mistaken for a large rabbit with funny-looking ears, the jackalope is a creature with the body of a jackrabbit and the antlers of a deer or pronghorn.

Jackalope

Jackalope by Don Laine

Legend has it that the first sighting of a jackalope was by Roy Ball in the 1800s. Described by local residents of the time as “an occasionally sober trapper,” Ball reportedly gave the animal its name, but everyone called him a liar. Then the local newspaper reported additional jackalope sightings, and finally, in the 1930s, one was put on display by local taxidermist Doug Herrick.

It is believed that jackalopes can only be found in Converse County, and the city of Douglas has been officially designated the “Home of the Jackalope” by Wyoming’s governor. There is an eight-foot statue of a jackalope in downtown Douglas and images of jackalopes are seen on local government vehicles.

The city and county issue hundreds of jackalope hunting licenses each year, although hunters are warned that the license is valid only for the pronghorned jackalope, and not for the larger saber-toothed jackalope, which is not only endangered but extremely vicious.