Monday, February 22, 2010

The Other Herd

Perhaps I've been locked inside for just a few northern nights too long, but the wildlife is starting to weird me out. I don't mind the great horned owl hooting in the early evening as his silhouette is clearly outlined in the treetops and I don't mind the lonely coyote howls echoing across the prairie. What I do mind, however, are those pesky rabbits: the white-tailed jackrabbits, to be more specific.

Not only do they destroy the trees in our groves and cause our dogs endless moments of consternation when their zigzag pattern makes them elusive prey, the signs of them are more prevalent than the occasional cow pie gracing our yard.
There doesn't seem to be a square inch of territory within a 1/4 mile of our home that hasn't been tracked by these creatures, and it's easy to see why when you look out our kitchen window:
These creepy animals run in herds. As I snowshoe across the prairie, it is not unusual to see a gang of 50 or more jackrabbits meet up with another gang of 50. They move like a school of fish in the ocean as they hop across the snow. I suppose I should feel sorry for them as typical members of the hare family prefer solitary conditions unless stressed by a serious lack of winter forage. However, with hundreds of tons of hay just across the hill from where they are living, my compassion is fairly low.
The way they are tan in the summer and then we wake up in December and they are suddenly white, the way they look larger than they really are as they bound across the snow (I thought three of them were deer the other day), those ears, the fact that rabbits are living in herds. It just doesn't add up. Welcome to the northern plains, where the herds of hares roam, free of the constraints posed by barbed wire. Who needs bison when you've got all this?


  1. That's one hare raising story.

  2. and don't even think of having our fencing specification changed to accomidate the rabbits.