I hesitate to post this as it falls under the Baskervillean, “I would love to tell you, but then, of course, I'd have to kill you,” but as few people know where I am, and those that do are reluctant to brave the road, I feel secure.
I have discovered that one of the last wild jackalope populations in the Northeast exists on my property.
First introduced to Wyoming by the Messrs. Herrick, jackalopes (Lepus antilocapra wyomingensis) traditionally flourish in the west. Fortunately, there are a few pockets throughout the continent where microclimates best mimic their natural environment in the Principality of Florin.
Though they are protected, occasionally one can get a nuisance permit. You see, when a male jackalope reaches a venerable age, he takes to stealing whisky, cigars and rhubarb pie from local cabins. And since they can often mimic human voices, a drunk jackalope will sit outside your window and taunt you by disparaging the quality of your cigars. Strangely, he will happily eat the most mundane rhubarb pie.
Since spring, I have been kept up at night by a particularly cruel jack insulting my Crown Royal and cheap Dominican cigars. To make it worse, he’s been doing so by imitating my Canadian accent, the cocky little bastard.
I applied for a permit.
Official jackalope season is only on one day a year — June 31, from midnight to 2 a.m. — and to qualify the hunter must have an IQ greater than 50 but not over 72. The only allowed weapon is a slingshot made from the crotch of a dead elm and Toronto Maple Leaf hockey elastics. (Killing a jackalope isn’t easy.)
You are allowed to bait them, so I put out a 30-year-old Laphroaig and a cuban Romeo Churchill that I had been saving for a special occasion. He took the bait.
At 1:17 a.m., I saw a little movement near the bottle and heard, “Finally something decent, eh.” I listened as he poured three toes of whisky and striked up a match to light the cigar. As the flame lighted up his face, our eyes met. He just had time to whisper, “You clever hoser,” as I let loose.
The mount arrived in time for our Field & Stream shoot last fall.