01 April 2013

A Fearsome Critter

The majestic Jackalope (Lepus temperamentalus) once roamed the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Virginia and served as a bountiful meat source for many who lived in the mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. Hunted to extinction after the Great Depression, this specimen was killed by my grandfather in the early 1940's and today graces my office.

The females had the odd habit of sleeping belly up and could be milked without waking them. Their milk, besides being quite sweet and delicious, was also used for medicinal purposes. Males could imitate the human voice. Most folks in the Blue Ridge discovered early on that Jackalopes were fond of moonshine and could be easily hunted down by simply leaving a mason jar full of white lightning out on the porch, enticing the hapless creatures and resulting in their intoxication, thereby making them easy prey. But, sober, they could be quite aggressive if cornered and were known to occasionally run in packs and attack animals many times their size, including humans, thus earning them the description of "a fearsome critter."



8 comments:

Robert Moore said...

Uh... huh... ;)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Familiar with 'em, are you?

ropelight said...

There were still pockets of 'em down in Floyd County along the Little River Valley in the mid-to-late 1950s. My grandmother always claimed that anywhere you found Hoop Snakes there were Jackalopes aplenty.

John B. said...

Hey, we have those here in Texas also! Very fierce beasts!! Scary!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

John - the Texas ones are not real.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Rope - you should try to trap one. Could be worth a lot of money.

ropelight said...

My boyhood friend, Smokey Updike, from Roanoke had a tame Jackalope that could not only tell time, he could crow like a rooster. His name was Poke Chop, he was reliable but a bit cranky and when he got mad he would cuss in Cherokee, his English wasn't all that good.

On cloudy overcast days when the horizon was too dark to see the crack of dawn, ol' Poke Chop would wake everyone up right on time.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Rope - that story tugs at my heart strings.