Where did this good-hearted foolishness start? A 1930’s hunting trip for jackrabbits near Douglas, Wyoming. Douglas Herrick and his brother invited a bunch of hunters from out East for a visit. Several days after the hunt, Douglas Herrick looked in a bin of jackrabbit remains and deer antlers, and the idea was born. Why not mount a set of antlers on top of a rabbit? After all, the Herrick brothers had studied taxidermy by mail order as kids. They sold the first jackalope for $10. The New York Times wrote a story about this mythical creature. The legend spread.
Douglas, Wyoming has been named the “Home of the Jackalope”. You can get a season Jackalope Hunting License from the Douglas Chamber of Commerce for $10. It is good for only one day of the year, June 31. Do keep in mind that June has only 30 days! Also a hunter cannot have an IQ greater than 72. A large statue of a jackalope stands in the town square of Douglas, Wyoming, population of about 5,000. The jackalope adorns Douglas’ city fire trucks and park benches.
In 2005, the House side of the Wyoming state legislature passed a bill, by a vote of 45-12 naming the jackalope the “official mythological creature” of Wyoming. The bill was indefinitely postponed in the State senate on March 2, 2005. Those Wyoming folks do have a sense of humor!
Wall Drug in Wall, S.D. has a large jackalope statue. This seven foot jackalope comes with a saddle and tourists are encouraged to have their picture taken astride the giant beast. A minor league hockey team in Texas is named the Odessa Jackalopes.
President Ronald Reagan had a jackalope mounted on the wall of his California Ranch, Rancho del Cielo, near Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Mountain range. Reagan claimed he caught the brute himself.
The jackalope joins a long line of fairy tale creatures such as the Loch Ness monster, Big Foot, King Kong, vampires, dragons, centaurs, mermaids, and unicorns.