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Bulletin No. 8 








T. S. PALMER, M. D. 





United States Department of Agriculture, 

Division of Ornithology and Mammalogy, 

Washington, I). C, October 19, 1895. 

Sir : 1 have the honor to transmit and to recommend for publication 
as Bulletin No. 8 of this division a report on The Jack llabbits of 
the United States, by Dr. T. S. Palmer, assistant chief of division. 
Dr. Palmer has prepared the whole bulletin and is responsible for all 
statements made, including opinions respecting the status of the vari- 
ous species. 

Eespectfully, C. Hart Merriam, 

Chief of Division. 
Hon. J. Sterling Morton, 

Secretary of Agriculture. 


The damage done to crops by rabbits has been ilbistrated very 
forcibly during recent years by the losses sustained by farmers and 
orchardists m the arid regions of the West through the depreda- 
tions of the large native hares, or jack rabbits. The introduction of 
irrigation and the cultivation of large tracts of land have favored the 
increase of rabbits in several States by furnishing a new source of 
food supply. To such an extent have their depredations increased 
that the extermination of jack rabbits has become a serious question 
in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Utah. 

The objects of this bulletin are: (1) To give a general account of the 
distribution and habits of the various species found in the United 
States;, (2) to show the methods which have been used to exterminate 
the animals and to protect crops from their depredations; and (3) to 
bring together facts and figures concerning the economic uses of rab- 
bits in general, for the purpose of indicating how our native species 
may be more generally utilized. 

The disastrous results of the introduction of the common European 
rabbit into Australia some thirty years ago are known the world over, 
and nowhere have the methods of destroying rabbits and protecting 
crops been so carefully investigated as on that continent. While the Old 
World rabbit belongs to an entirely different species from the jack rab- 
bits of the West, and differs from them in habits, some of the Austra- 
lian methods might be used with advantage in our own country. The 
commercial utilization of rabbits has been attended with considerable 
success in Australia; large quantities of rabbits are used for food, and 
an immense number of skins are annually exi)orted to England, some 
of M^hich find their way to the markets of this country. Therefore, 
when possible, refcTence has been made to ex])eriments in Australia 
which are likely to be of benefit in the United States. 

It is obviously impracticable to mention the many persons who have 
contributed data, but acknowledguients are due to all who liaA'e aided 
in the ])reparation of this re])ort. The author, however, is under special 
obligations to Maj. Chas. liendire and to Messrs. M. S. Eeatherstoue 
of (ioshen, Cal., Henry Lahann of Traver, Cal., Geo. W. Stewart and 
D. K. Zumwalt of Visalia, Cal., A. Van Deuseu of Lamar, Colo., and 


to Vernon Bailey and J. Ellis MoLellan, field agents of the division, for 
many valuable notes. More than five hundred letters were written in 
the course of the investigation, and thus a large amount of informa- 
tion has been collected which could not otherwise have been obtained. 
The statistics given in the last two chapters are only approximate, and 
necessarily incomplete, but any corrections or additions will be wel- 
comed, i)articularly in the case of the lists of rabbit drives, which it 
is desirable to make as complete as possible. 

T. S. Palmer. 



CiiAPTKR I. — Introduction 11 

Genernl habits 11 

Food 12 

Dciirediitioiis 13 

Species foiiud in the United States 13 

I'liiirie llare or White-tailed Jack Rabbit ( Lepus campesiris) 14 

Calil'ornia .lack IJahbit {Le^tim califontictis) 17 

IJlaek-taih'd or Texan .Jack Kabbit (Lepiis texianus) 10 

Jilaclv-eaivd .lack Uabbit {Ltpns melaiiofis) 21 

Allen's Jaclv Ral)hit {LejJiis alleni) 22 

Chapter II. — Abundanck and Rapidity of Increase 24 

Breedinif habits 25 

Number of young in a Jitter 2."> 

Time of birth 27 

Chapter III. — In.iury to Crops and Means of Protection 30 

Injury to grain, orchards, etc 30 

Protection of orchards and ci'ops 32 

By fences 33 

Protection of single trees 34 

Smears 34 

Chapter 1 \'. — Methods of Destruction 36 

Inoculation 36 

Methods used in Australia 37 

Poison 38 

Bounties 40 

California 40 

Idaho 41 

Oregon 42 

Texas 42 

Utah 43 

P^xpenditures in Australia 43 

Natural enemies 44 

Ejtidemics 45 

Chapter V.— Rahbit Drives and Hunts 47 

California ^ 47 

Origin of the drives 52 

Results of the drives 57 

Oregon 59 

Rabbit hunts 60 

Utah 60 

Idaho 62 

Colorado 63 

Summary 64 

Chapter \T.— Value of the Jack Rabbit 65 

Coursing 66 

Skins 68 

Jack rabbits as game 71 

Parasites 71 

How the game is killed and shipped 72 

The market 74 

General summary and conclnsious 78 

Articles on Rabbits 80 




0])po8ite page — 
Frontispiece. Rabbit driviiio; in the San Joaquin Valley. California — The 
(Jrand Ariuy drive at Fresno, ]Manh 12, W)2. (From photograjih by Sti tiler.) 

I. Map showing distribution of jack rabbits in the United States 11 

II. Distribution of the California and Texan .lack liabbits l!^ 

III. A Jack rabbit drive near Fresno, Cal., May 5, 1894— IJabbits eutering tlie 

corral I " 

IV. Iv'esnlt of the Grand Army ra1)bit drive at Fresno, Cal.— 20.000 rabbits 

. killed. (From photograph by Stiltier) •">! 

V. Maj) sliowing location of rabbit drives in southern California r).5 

VI. Result of the jack rabbit hunt at Lamar, Colo., December 22, 1894 — 5,142 

rabbits killed. { I-'roni photograY)h by Hallack) <>H 


1. Diagram showing form of corral used in the rabbit drive at IJakersfield, 

Cal., January 15, 1888. (From Am. Field, 1888) 4!' 

2. Diagram showing form of portable c(nTal used by the Goshen Rabbit Drive 

Club. (From M. S. Featheratone) 50 


tf I )• * 


By T. S. Palmer, M. 1). 



The Great Plaius and deserts of the western United States are 
inhabited by several species of large hares, commonly known as 'jack 
rabbits.' These rabbits occur almost everywhere, except in the higher 
mountains and in wooded regions, from the ninety-fifth meridian west 
to the Pacific, and from the Plains of the Saskatchewan soutliward over 
the table-land of Mexico to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The resem 
blance of their large ears to those of the well-known pack animal of the 
West lias suggested the common names of 'jackass hares,' 'jack rab- 
bits," or 'jacks.' In some parts of California jack rabbits are called 
'narrow-gauge mules' and 'smull mules,' but fortunately these absurd 
terms are very local, and not likely to come in general use. 1 n the South- 
west and beyond the Kio Grande the large hares are called 'liebres* 
by the Mexicans, to distinguish them from the cotton-tail rabbits, or 


.Tack rabbits may be seen abroad at almost any hour of the day, and 
lience are likely to be recognized by the most casual observer, and are 
perhaps better known than most other native mammals. Living as they 
do on the open plain, where they are compelled to rely for safety on 
quickness of hearing and on speed, their ears and hind legs are devel- 
oped to an extraordinary degree. This gives them a somewhat grotesque 
appearance, but in reality few animals are more graceful as they bound 
along when once thoroughlj- alarmed. In spite of an unfortunate name 
and seeming awkwardness of gait, a closer acquaintance with their 

'This name seems to have been first introduced by Audubon and Haohman in 1851. 

In referring to one of the species found along the Mexican border they say: "This 

species is called the jackass rabbit in Texas, owing to the length of its ears." (Quad. 

N. Am., II, 1851, p. 99); and again, in reference to Lepttn texianux. "This hare received 

from the Texans and iVoinoiir troops in the Mexican war the name of jackass rabbit, 

in common with Lepita callotis.'' ^Ibiil., Ill, p. 157.) 



habits will reveal many points of interest and will aronse admiration 
for the way in which they seem to overcome every adverse condition 
of life, so admirably are they adapted to their surronndings. 

Unlike the cotton-tails, or the common rabbit of Europe, these 
hares do not live in burrows, but make 'forms' under bushes or in 
patches of weeds, where they find protection from the weather, and 
also bring forth their young. Certain shrubs in the West belonging 
to the genus BUjelovia are commonly known as 'rabbit brush,' because 
they grow in dense thickets, in which rabbits are fond of hiding. 
Where there are no bushes, the labbits seek the shade of any objects 
which can shield them from the burning rays of the sun. A traveler on 
the Southern Pacific llailroad, crossing the barren idains of the San 
Joaquin Valley in California, where large stretches of country are 
devoid of bushes, may sometimes see the jack rabbits crouching in the 
shadows of the telegraph poles, evidently alarmed by the train, but' 
uncertain whether or not to forsake their shady spots and seek safety 
in flight. 

Extremes of climate ai>parently do not afi'ect them to any great 
extent. Some species are at home on the deserts of Arizona and Cali- 
fornia; others, as the Prairie Hare, contrive to exist in the intense cold 
of a Montana winter, when the ground is covered with snow, and they 
are compelled to live on the bark of shrubs or of willows growing along 
the streams. 

Food. — Like other rabbits, they feed almost ( xclusively on the bark 
and leaves of shrubs and on herbage, and hardly any land is too poor 
to supply this food in some form. 

Ou the Great Plains, buffalo and granm grass and such herbs as 
they can find constitute their i)rincipal fare, but this is supplemented 
in winter by the bark of willows. In the deserts of the Great Basin 
they seem to be especially fond of the tender annual species of grease- 
wood {Alriplex) and several species of cactus. If nothing better is 
obtainable, however, they can subsist on Sarcobatus, and shrubs which 
other animals seldom touch. Sometimes it is difficult to see where they 
can obtain sufficient food, but lack of water and of green herbage serve 
only to reduce their numbers and rarely cause their complete absence 
from any region. Among the greasewood on the alkali fiats northwest 
of Great Salt Lake, or on the cactus covered deserts of Arizona, the 
jack rabbits are almost as fat and sleek as when feeding in the 
alfidfa patches and vineyards of soutliern Califorina. If necessary 
they can travel long distances for food, but as they seldom drink, 
s(;arcity of water causes them little incjonvenience, and the juicy cac- 
tus 'pads' or ordinary deseit herbage furnish all the moisture neces- 
sary to slake their thirst. They are fond of vegetables and alfalfa, and 
when these can'be had they quickly abandon their usual food and establish 
themselves near the garden or cultivated field. Tlieir Condnessior tender 
bark makes them particularly destructive in the orchard and vineyard, 


where they are likely to do irreparable injury by girdling- young- fruit 
trees and vines. 

As jack rabbits multiply rapidly they often become great pests. 
They have comparatively few natural enemies, and if not held in check 
by other agencies would doubtless overrun the country. Their undue 
increase is prevented ordinarily by lack of food, by unfavorable climatic 
conditions, or by disease. Many die during unusually severe winters; 
a cold, wet spring- is disastrous to the young, and thousands of young 
and old ]ierish during the epidemics Avhich occasionally break out among 
them over large sections of country. Nevertheless, tliey can a<lai)t 
themselves to circumstances to such an extent as to be able not only 
to hold their own under most unfavorable conditions, but to increase 
rapidly whenever food is abundant. 

Depredations. — The experience of settlers in the San Joaquin Valley, 
California, along the Arkansas Kiver in southeastern Colorado, and 
in southwestern Idaho has shown that where new land has been culti- 
vated or irrigated jack rabbits fairly swarm in from the surrounding 
country, and instead of being driven out by advaiu'ing civilization, at 
first multiply so enormously that radical measures have to be adopted 
to protect the crops from destruction. 

Some idea of the extent of these injuries can be formed, when it is 
stated that the damage caused by jack rabbits to the crops in Tulare 
County, Cal., during a single year has been estimated at $000,000, and 
one county in Idaho has actually expended more than $30,000 in boun- 
ties on these [lestsl The money spent by individual farmers in the West 
on rabbit fences and other devices for protecting crops would aggregate 
a very large sum, which it is impossible even to estimate. But the thou- 
sands of rabbits destroyed for bounties and the tens of thousands killed 
in the large hunts and by eijidemics seem to diminish the abundance 
of the species only in localities where a large part of the land is under 
cultivation and the animals are systematically killed otf year after year. 

Jack rabbits are largely used for food and for sport. In a fair race 
they can outstrip all but the best hounds and can even keep abreast of 
a railway train running at a moderate speed for some distance. For 
coursing the native species are considered equal, if not superior, to the 
Old World hares. Large quantities are shipped to market every year 
as game, and the trade is capable of considerable increase. The skins 
might also be saved with profit, but the value of jack rabbits, whether 
forfood or for fur, by no means olfsets the immense damage which they 
do to crops. 


This group of rabbits is unfortunately in a somewhat chaotic con- 
dition, and it will be impossible to treat the species satisfactorily until 
they have been subjected to a thorough revision. A technical discus- 
sion of their characters and relationships does not come within the 


scope of this bulletin, however desirable it might be to consider these 
questions. For the present it will be sufficient merely to give the 
species now generally recognized, with the full knowledge that their 
status and nomenclature are likely to undergo considerable modifica- 
tion in the near future. Such a course is unsatisfactory, but unavoid- 
able under the circumstances. 

For convenience, the jack rabbits which occur in the United States 
may be divided into two groups, according to the color of the upper 
surface of the tail.' In the first group, represented by the Prairie Hare 
{Lepus campestri.s) — the only jaclv rabbit which ever turns white in 
winter — the tail is entirely white. In the second groui) the upper sur- 
face of the tail is marked by a more or less distinct strijie of black. 
Four or more black-tailed rabbits have been described from the West: 
(1) A butt-bellied species found in California and southwestern Oregon 
{Lepvs calif ornicus)', (2) a large, long-limbed species inhabiting south-' 
ern Arizona and Sonora, known as Allen's Hare {Lepus allc7ii); (3) a 
widely distributed white bellied animal with long ears, occurring in the 
Great Basin and commonly known as the Texan Jack Eabbit {Lepus 
texianus), and (4) the Black-eared Jack, or Eastern Jackass Hare of the 
Great Plains ( Lepus melanotis ), very closely related to the Texan Hare, 
but differing from it in possessing shorter ears and richer coloring. 

One or more Mexican species cross the southern border of the United 
States and are found in the extreme southern part of Texas, but their 
range within our limits is so restricted that they will not be considered 

Prairie Hare or White-tailed Jack Rabbit. 
{Lepus campestris Bachman.) 

The Prairie Hare was first discovered by Lewis and Clark on their 
memorable trip across the continent in 1804-1806, although not actually 
named until 1837.- They described it as follows: 

The hare [Lepua camjyestris] on this side of the Rocky Mountains inhabits the great 
plains of the Columbia. Eastward of those mountains they inhabit the plains of the 
Missouri. They weigh from 7 to 11 pounds. * * * The head, neck, back, shoul- 
ders, thighs, and outer part of the legs are of a lead color; the sides, as they 
approach the belly become gradually more white; the belly, breast, and inner part 
of the logs and thighs are white, with a light shade of lead color; the tail is round 
and bluntly pointed, covered with wbite, soft, iiue fur, not <iuite so long as on the 
other parts of the body; the body is covered with a deep, fine, soft, close fur. The 
colors here described are those which the animal assumes from the middle of April 
to the middle of November; the rest of the year he is pure white, except the black 
and reddish-brown of the ears, which never change. A few reddish-brown spots 
are sometimes intermixed with the white at this season [February 26, 1806J on the 
head and the upper part of the neck and shoulders. * * * His food is grass and 
herbs ; in winter he feeds much on the bark of several aromatic herbs growing on 

•Jack rabbits never turn the tail up like cotton-tails, and hence it is easy to tell 
at a distance whether the, color of the upper surface is bliick or wliite. 
-Bachman, Joutn. Acad. Nat. feci., Philadelphia, Vol. \U, 1837, p. lUO, 


the plains. Captaiu Lewis iiKjasured tlie leaps of tliis animal, and found them 
commonly from 18 to 21 ft^et. They are generally found separate, and are never 
seen to associate in j^i-oater numbers tli;in two or three' 

The White-tailed Jack Rabbit lias an extended range in the northern 
part of the Great Basin and on the Great rhiins. It is said to be found 
as far north as latitu(hi 5.5° in Saskateliewan and ranges eastward to 
Lake Winnii)eg, Elk liiver, Minnesota, and central Iowa. On the 
south it is not found on the i)lains niucli below central Kansas and 
southern Colorado — I'ort IvMley and Pendennis, Kans., and Las Animas, 
('olo., being near its southern limits. On the Ilocky Mountain plateau, 
however, it goes a- little farther south and has been taken at Fort Gar- 
land, Colo., and at Kanab, Utah. The Sierra Nevada and Cascade 
Eange mark the limits of its western distribution, but it occurs in the 
Sierra as far south as Hope Valley (hit. 38° 30'), and probably as far as 
latitude 30°. 

Although called 'Prairie Hare,' it ranges high up in the mountains — 
at least in summer — liigher than any other jack rabbit. In August, 
1891, I saw a large rabbit, probably belonging to this species, at an 
altitude of about 10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada, about 20 miles south 
of jNIount Whitney. Signs of their presence have been found in the 
Eocky Mountains far above timber line and nearly to tlie summits of the 
higher peaks. It is hardly probable that jack rabbits spend the winter 
at su(;h altitudes, but the upper limit of their winter range still remains 
to be ascertained. Abundant food in the mountain meadows and above 
timber line probably tempts them to ascend from lower levels in summer 
just as cultivated tields on the plains attract them from a distance. 

In the mountains and in the northern part of their range they become 
pure white in winter, but in Kansas, Nebraska, Washington, and else- 
where near the southern limit of their habitat they undergo only a 
partial change, or do not turn white at all. In southern Oregon the 
rabbits inhabiting the higher mountains are said to turn white in win- 
ter, while a little lower down they undergo only a uartial change and 
in the valleys do not assume the white pelage. 

This species probably never occurs in such numbers as the lilack- 
tailed Jack Rabbit, even under the most favorable circumstances. Dr. 
Cones speaks of it on the Great Plains as follows: 

Nor is the Prairie Hare in the least gregarious. I have never seen nor heard 
of several together, and indeed it is rare to lind even two together, at any season 
whatever. It is one of th.e most solitary animals with which I have become 
acquainted. * ^- * i bave never found any kind of locality even, which, pre- 
senting special attractions, might invito many hares together. All places are alike 
to them; the oldest frontiersman, iirobably, could never guess with any degree of 
certainty where the next hare to bound oft" before him would a^ipear. If it have auy 
l)reference, however, it is for 'weedy' tracts, of which the sage-brush regions furnish 
the best examples; there it finds shelter which the low, crisp, grass of rolling prairie 
does not aff'ord, and also doubtless secures a greater variety of food.- 

' Cones' Edition Hist. Exped. Lewis and Clark, Vol. Ill, 1893, pp 865-866. 
* Bull, Essex Institute, VH (1875), 1876, pp, 80-81. 


Oj)inioiis seem to differ as to the abuudauce of the Prairie Hare, but 
it is certainly more common in many places than in the localities just 
described. Dr. A. K. Fisher has seen as many as 20 together near 
Colby, Kans., and farther north it is killed in large quantities for 
market. A commission house in St. Paul, Minn., reports having 
handled about 12,000 jack rabbits during the winter of 1894-95, most 
of which came from iSTorth and South Dakota, where this is the only 
species. Several thousand are estimated to have been killed in Cod- 
ington County, S. Dak., alone during the same season. Certainly it 
must be tolerably abundant in these States to be obtained in such 
numbers. In the northern part of the Great Basin it is also abundant 
in certain localities, especially in southern Oregon. Conqdaints have 
recently been received from Washington that crops and young orchards 
near Sunnyside, in the Yakima Valley, have been seriously injured, 
while near Prescott, Wallawalla County, timber claims planted with 
black locust trees have been ruined by the White-tailed Jack Rabbit. 

Farther south it was met with in considerable numbers by J. K. Lord, 
during his journey from The Dalles to Walhi Walla. In describing the 
country between the John Day and the Umatilla rivers he says:^ 
"As w^e ride on, I noticed what I at flrst imagined must be the 
droppings of a large flock of sheep covering the ground tliickly,just 
as though the animals had been fohled. I had barely time to think 
what animal conld be so abundant, when the dogs, tired as they were, 
started two or three large hares from under the wild sage bushes. 
We saw numbers of them, and shot several, but the flesh tasted so 
strongly of the wild sage, on which these liaros mainly subsist, that 
eating it was an impossibility. The Prairie Hare {Lepus campestris) 
appears entirely confined to these sandy desert lands, being replaced 
by the Red Hare {L. icashingtonii) in the timbered districts. 

"The fur of the Prairie Hare is long and silky, an<l exactly the color 
of the sand and the dead leaves under the bushes where they make 
their 'forms.' Unless they move, it is impossible to distinguish them, 
although looking down on their backs." Put when once startled they 
are off in an instant, and their characteristic actions at such times are 
thus described by Dr. Coues:- 

The extraordinary agility of this aiiiiuiil, which would be inferred from inspection 
of its lithe yet muscular and free-limbed shape, has always attracted attention. * * * 
The first sijjjn one lias usually of a hare which has squatted low in hopes of conceal-- 
ment, till its fears force it to lly is a great bound into the air, with lengthened 
body and erect ears. The instant it touches the ground it is up again, with a pecul- 
iar si>ringy jerk, more like* the rebounding oC an clastic ball than the result of 
muscular exertion. It does not come fairly down, and gather itself for the next 
spring, luit seems to hold its legs stillly extended, to touch only its toes, ami rebound 
by the force of its impact. Tiie action is strikingly suggestive of the 'bucking' of 
a mule, an alTair with which people in the West are only too familiar. With a 
succession of these high jerky leaps the animal makes off generally in a straight 

' Naturalist in British Columbia, II, 186(5, pp. 95-96. 
2 Bull. Essex Institute, VII (1875), 1876, pp. 83-85. 


course; there ia notliiug of the (loflijiiig or scuttling iibout that marks the running 
of the smaller rabbits. As it gains on its pursuers, and its fears h-ubside, the springs 
grow weaker, just as a flat stone 'skipped' on the water diminishes in length of 
the rebounds, and finally the animal squats in its tracks on its haunches with a 
jerk, to look and listen. »■ * * t]io attitude at such times is highly character- 
istic. One foie foot is advanced a little before the other, and the ears are held 
pointing in opposite directioift. A hare in such an attitude as this is always upou 
the watch, and the slightest stimulation of its fears at such a time is enough to start 
it on its bounding course. It is a beautiful exhibition of timid watchfulness. 

I have never seen this hare stand erect with its forepaws off the ground, as some 
of its smaller relatives are wont to do, and I doubt that it ever assumes this attitude 
except perhaps momentarily. 

California Jack Rabbit. 
(Lcjms valifornicus Gray.) 

The California Hare is; one of the most easily 'recognized of the black- 
tailed rabbits which inhabit the United States. It is gray above, often 
tinged with brownish and mixed witli black; the lower surface of the 
body and tail is bnfif. From the tip of the nose to the end of the tail 
vertebrjii it measures about 23] inches (.'502 mm.). The oars vary from 
5 to 6 inches (130-150 mm.), wliile the tail is ouh^ about 4 inches (102 
mm.) in leugtli.^ The only other species which is likely to be confused 
with it is the Texan Jack Rabbit {Lepus texiamis). which is also found 
west of the Sierra Nevada, in tlie San Joaquin Valley. But while indi- 
viduals of both species show considerable variation in color according 
to season, the California Hare is browner and darker above, and the 
lower surface of the body and tail is buff or tan color, instead of white, 
as in the Texan species. Both are about the same size, but the tail in 
the California Jack Rabbit averages about an inch (25 mm.) longer. 

Nowliere in the United States, and perhaps nowhere in the world, 
except in Australia, are rabbits so abundant as in some parts of Cali- 
fornia, but the published data respecting the distribution of the several 
species is a good illustration of how much still remains to be learned 
about even the commonest aninmls. The California Jack Rabbit was 
described in 1837, tlie same year in wliich the Trairie Hare was named, 
and the Texan s])ecies was first made known in 1848. Although all 
three of these rabbits have been frequently collected for nearly half 
a century, and all have been known to occur in California, it is only 
recently that the limits of their ranges have been accurately determined. 

Hitherto it has been the custom to refer all the large black-tailed 
rabbits found west of the Sierra Nevada to the California species 
[Lepun mlifornicus); but the Death Valley expedition sent out by the 
Department of Agricnltnre established the fact that the one best 
known, on account of its extraordinary abundance, in the lower San 
Joaquin Valley is not the California Jack Rabbit, but the widely dis- 
tributed Texan species which occurs in the bottom of the valley from 
the Tejon Mountains north almost to latitude 38°. 

' Average of 10 specimens from northern California. 
8615— Xo. S 2 


The true California animal was formerly supposed to extend east- 
ward to the Colorado River and Arizona, but more recent investigations 
sliow tliat it is restricted entirely to the region west of the Sierra. 
Here, where the chaparral-covered slopes of the foothills dip down to 
the valleys, it is most at home, mainly below an altitude of 3,000 
feet. Rarely does it range above 5.000 feet, although in one instance 
at least, on Mount Pihos, it has been found higher than 8,000 feet. 
But the individuals found at these higher levels are few in number, 
and are probably only stragglers which have wandered up from the 
lower foothills. It avoids the dark, damp forests of the redwood belt 
on the Northwest coast; but finding suitable localities beyond the 
limits of its native State, it has crossed the Siskiyou Mountains and 
taken possession of the Rogue River and Umpqua valleys in Oregon, 
and is known to range" as far north as Comstock, in Douglas County. 
Mr. Clark P. Streator reports that a single specumen, probably a strag- 
gler, was killed near Eugene, at the head of the Willamette Valley, 
about November 20, 1893. To the south this species extends some 
distance down the peninsula of Lower California. 

While the limits of certain portions of this range are readily under- 
stood from well-marked conditions of climate and topography, it is by 
no means easy to explain the invisible but apparently sharjjly defined 
lines which separate the California and Texan rabbits in the great 
interior valley of California. Here they probably mingle with one 
another, but at no point are their habitats known to overlap to 
any great extent. Nor is it clear why the Texan Jack Rabbit, which 
extends up the east slope of the Sierra as high as 7,000 feet and over 
Walker pass (altitude 5,.')00 feet), should occupy only the bottom of the 
San Joaquin Valley below 2,000 feet. This part of its range is inclosed 
on both sides by that of Lex)us califoniicm, which is here restricted to 
the foothills, but which spreads out to the north and covers the whole 
exj)anse of the Sacramento Valley, as well as the slopes of the Sierra 
Nevada and Coast Ranges. Briefiy stated, the white-bellied species is 
found in the bottom of the San Joaquin Valley, while the buflf-bellied 
animal occupies the Sacramento Valley and the adjacent foothills, as 
well as those surrounding the San Joaquin Plains. 

The California Jack Rabbit is nowhere as abundant as the Texan 
species. In some portions of the Coast Range only two or three indi- 
viduals will be found over a large extent of country, and it is quite 
rare in some of the valleys southeast of San Franciso Bay; but this is 
due mainly to the settlement of the country, and the various means 
adopted for its extermination. It is perhaps most abundant in the 
Rogue River Valley, Oregon, along the western sloi)e of the central 
part of the Sierra Nevada, and in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino 

In speaking of the California species T. S. Van Dyke' says: "Few 
animals are more graceful than this hare, whether skimming the 

^Southern California, 1886, p. 131. 

Bull. 8, Div, Ornithology and Mannrmalogy, U. S. Dept. Agriculture. 

Plate II. 






s i 

^^L^.LosTi<^n<^}^ ^ --S^*->- Better d^>i^ 

Morro^*-'".-:. _• . ,, "Aro] •GcM-«t>f'g' K J , 



■ JJ5'' 


Distribution of California and Texan Jack Rabbits. 

Dotted area = California Jack Rabbit; spots outside this area show where the Texan Rabbit has been collected. 


plain before the outstret(;]ie(l greyhound or aroused from his 'form' 
he dashes away Avith high juini)s, as if to take a better view of the 
intruder, or stoi)ping and rearing ujion his hind legs, stands erect, with, 
ears pointed at the zenith and surveys liiin at safe distance, then 
again lengthens out his trim form and hugs tlie ground like a racer 
until a mile away. Sometimes at early morning or evening you may 
see him scudding along tlie plain as if in i)lay, running 2 or 3 miles, 
perhaps, most of the time at high speed. * * * ^^ fine runner he 
is, too, and gifte<l with good staying qualities. It takes a good grey- 
hound to overtake the best of them, while the slowest ones distance a 
common dog at every bound." 

Black-tailed Jack Rabbit, Texan Jack Rabbit. 
{Lepus texianus Waterliouse.') 

This hare is pale-gray above, often tinged witli brownish and mixed 
with black; the lower surface of the body and tail is white, while the 
tips of the ears and upper part of the tail are distinctly marked with 
black. In length it measures about 25^ inches (G47 mm.^) from the tip 
of the nose to the end of the tail vertebrae and weighs 4 or 5 pounds. 
The ears average Gf inches (171 mm.) but the tail is only 4| inches (109 
mm.) in length. The Bhu^k-tailed Hare is smaHer than either the Prairie 
Hare or Allen's Hare, but is about the same size as the California Jack 
Eabbit. Specimens from southern Arizona are not as large as those 
from the central part of the Territory and other portions of the Great 
Basin region, and for this reason have been recently separated by Dr. 
J. A. Allen ^ as a subspecies or race called the Desert Hare {Lejms 
texianus eremicus). 

Usually it is not ditlicult to distinguish the Black-tailed Hare from 
other species found in the same region. In the northern parts of its 
range it occurs along with the Prairie Hare in some parts of Oregon, 
Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas, but here the lat- 
ter {Lepus campestris) may be recognized by its white tail, larger size, 
and more or less complete change of pelage in winter — no black-tailed 
species showing any tendency to turn white in winter. 

The Texan Babbit will hardly be confused with the larger and longer 
limbed Allen's Hare in southern Arizona, after they have once been 
seen together, but it is sometimes dii'licult to distinguish it from the 
California Jack. Although typical specimens of the latter are buff 
instead of white below and have the lower surface of the tail buff, those 
from the foothills bordering the San Joaquin Valley in California are 

'Under this name are included all the black-tailed jack rabbits, except Lepits alleni, 
which tire tonnd from the Rocky Mountains west to the Sierra Nevada and Cascade 

^Average of 9 specimens collected by Dr. K. A. Mearns at Fort Verde, Ariz. (Bull. 
Am. Mus. Nat Hist., II, Feb. 1890, 302.) 

^Ibid., VI, Dec. 20, 1894, pp. 347-348. 


frequently so light iu color as to closely resemble tlie wliite-belliecl 
Texan Rabbit. 

The Black-tailed Jack Eabbit is foaiid in tlie Great Basin from the 
Rocky Mountains west to the Cascade Range in Oregon and to the 
Sierra Nevada in California, and from central Idaho and southeastern 
Washington south to Mexico. Its range extends eastward into west- 
ern Texas and some distance down the Rio Grande. West of the 
Sierra it has a most remarkable distribution in a narrow strip along the 
bottom of the San Joaquin Valley from the Tejon Mountains nearly as 
far north as latitude 38*\ It gains access to the valley from the Mohave 
Desert by way of Walker Pass (altitude 5,300 feet) and probably also 
by the Canada de las Uvas (altitude 4,300 feet). It is distinctly an 
animal of the deserts and plains and nowhere ascends to very high 

In southern Arizona and on the Colorado Desert in California the 
Texan Jack Rabbit is usually seen singly or in groups of only two 
or three individuals, while in Kansas, eastern Colorado, and some 
portions of the Great Basin large numbers are often found together. 
Its abundance or scarcity is usually governed by local conditions — an 
unusually cold winter, an epidemic or a dry year in which food is 
scarce, may so reduce its numbers as to make the species appear rare 
where ordinarily it is abundant. When food supply or other conditions 
favor its increase it is gregarious to a high degree, and occurs iu 
immense numbers. 

Forty years ago Dr. George Suckley found these rabbits very abun- 
dant south of the Boise River, on his trip through southwestern 
Idaho, in September, 1854.' He says : "• Tbey are so numerous that our 
command of GO men subsisted on them for nearly a week. In a short 
ride of an hour's duration to see 30 near the trail was nothing remark- 
able. * * * This hare breeds in great numbers on the vast sage 
plains at the South Boise River, between it and the Snake River." 

More recently, in 1878, Maj. Chas. Bendire found them in immense 
numbers in the Payette Valley, iu southwestern Idaho, where fully 150 
were seen together one morning near Payette River Ferry. At this 
point there was a small grass-covered island to which the rabbits could 
cross from the river bank by a bridge. When startled they merely 
loped away for a few yards and then stopped to ascertain the cause of 
the disturbance. A writer in 'Forest and Stream'^ states that in the 
vicinity of Austin, Nev., jack rabbits are exceedingly abundant, and 
that 487 had been killed iu eight hours by a party of 12 hunters. 

But the Texan Jack Rabbit is most abundant in the southern part of 
the San Joaquin Valley from latitude 37"^ southward, where the condi- 
tions for its existence are so favorable that it is still able to hold 
its ground in spite of the great numbers annually slaughtered by drives. 

'Pacific Raihoad Re])orts, XII, Book 2, 1860, Chap. II, p. 105. 
* Vol. XVIII, Apr. 20, 1882, p. 229. 


In the summer of 1801 I saw large numbers just south of the town of 
Bakersfield. At least a hundred were in sight at once, and were so 
tame that they paid little attention to teams j)assing along the road, 
and would allow a person to approach within a few feet before moving. 
Dr. A. K. Fisher and Mr. Vernon Bailej'^ also saw thousands of jack 
rabbits between Bakersfield and Visalia only a few weeks later. At 
one point just north of Delano, Tulare County, at least 100 scampered 
away at a single discharge of a gun. 

Referring to the habits of the Black-tailed Jack Rabbit in Arizona, 
Dr. Coues ' writes : 

At I'^ort Whijiple, the species is very coininon the year round, and almost every 
sort of locality is frequented by them, though they chiolly atil'oct grassy meadows 
and open ghules, Interspersed with copses, or clumps of oak trees, or patches of 
briery undergrowth. The gulclics, or ' washes,' as they are called, leading out of 
mountain ravines, and thickly set with grease-wood {Obio7ie lAtriplex] canescens), are 
favorite resorts. They feed much upon this plant, and by their incessant coursings 
through patches of it they wear little intersecting avenues, along which they ramble 
at their leisure. When feeding at their case, and unsuspicious of danger, they move 
witli a sort of lazy abandon, performing a succession of careless leaps, now nibbling 
the shrubs overhead, now the grass at their feet. They are not at all (jreyarious, 
though peculiar attractions may bring many together in the same spot. They do 
not burrow, but construct a 'form' in which they squat. I do not think these are 
permanent; but rather that they are extemporized, as wanted, in some convenient 
bush; though the case may be different during the season of reproduction. It has 
been stated by scmie authors, that only two or three are produced at a birth, which I 
know to be at least not always the case, having foun<l as many as six embryos in the 
multipartite womb of a pregnant female. In the latitude of Fort "Whipple the 
young are brought forth in June. 

* * * It has a long, swinging gallop, "and performs prodigious leaps, some of 
them over bushes 4 feet high; now in the air, its feet all drawn together and 
downstretched; now on the ground, which it touches and rebounds from with 
marvelous elasticity. It will course thus lor a hundred yards or so, and then stop 
as suddenly as it started; and, sitting erect, its long, wide open ears, vibrating with 
excitement, are turned in every direction to catch the sound of following danger. 

Black-eared Jack Rabbit or Eastern Jackass Hare 
{Lepus melanotis Meariis.) 

The Black-eared Jack Rabbit is simply the eastern form of the Black- 
tailed Rabbit of the Great Basin region, and was described only six 
years ago, in 1890, by Dr. E. A. Mearns, from a market specimen sup- 
posed to have been killed near Independence, Kans.'^ The differences 
between it and the common Black-tailed Jack Rabbit are only apparent 
after a careful conipaiison of a series of specimens, but Lepus melanotis 
is described as having a richer coloring and shorter ears than its West- 

'Am. Nat., I, Dec, 1867, pp. 532-5.S3. 

•Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., N. Y., II, Feb., 18<t0, pp. 297-300. The average measure- 
ments of two specimens from Independence, including the type, are: Total length, 
23J inches (o'lO"""); tail, 3 inches (77"""); ear. 5i iuches (142""). The ear averages 
nearly 30""" shorter than in /.. lex'mnus. 


ern representative. Whether it should be recognized as a full species 
or merely a subspecies need not be considered here; but it may be 
exi)lained that under this name are included all the black-tailed jack 
rabbits occurring east of the Itocky Mountains and from central Texas 
northward to Nebraska. 

This hare is found on the Great Plains from eastern Kansas to the 
Rocky Mountains and western Texas, where its range probably merges 
into that of Lepus texianus. In some parts of Kansas and in south- 
eastern Colorado it is very abundant and is killed in large numbers. 
When full grown it weighs about pounds and is the black-tailed rab- 
bit most commonly seen in the markets of Eastern cities. 

Its habits are similar to those of other jack rabbits. According to 
Mr. H. P. Attwater it is sometimes captured when young and kept alive, 
but is always wild and very pugnacious. It is much used in coursing, 
and is considered one of the best rabbits for this sport. An interest- 
ing experiment on its speed was made on the plains of eastern Colorado 
near Burlington, about 100 miles east of Denver.' Several hares were 
turned loose after having a drop or two of anise-seed oil rubbed on their 
feet, and as soon as they were out of sight a pack of five hounds was 
started in pursuit. The first and second hares were run down in 
about twenty minutes, but the hounds required nearly two hours to 
overhaul the third, 'an old black tail.' The writer adds that these 
rabbits run in circles as a rule. They make a spurt for the first two 
miles, but then begin to weaken, and if the scent is not lost they are 
certain to be overtaken by the hounds at last. 

Allen's Jack Rabbit. 

{Lepus alleni Mearns.) 

Allen's Jack Rabbit is the largest and finest of the hares of the South- 
west. Even at a distance it may be readily distinguished by its gray 
sides and the white on the hind part of the body. Its length is about 
254 inches (GdS"^'"); tail, 2f inches (09"""); while the ears measure 
about 7f inches (195"'"').- The color above is yellowish brown mixed 
with black, but this area is restricted by the gray of the sides, and in 
autumn (November) specimens is a beautiful dark steel gray. This 
species was also described by Dr. E. A. Mearns, in 1890^ from a speci- 
men collected May 8, 1885, at Rillito Station, on the line of the Southern 
Pacific Railroad near Tucson, Ariz. 

Allen's Hare is found in tlu; deserts of southern Arizona and Sonora, 
in the region extending from Phtenix southeastward to the Santa Cat- 
alina and Santa Rita mountains, and thence south into Mexico almost 
as far as Guaymas. It has been collected in Sonora at Oputo, on the 

1 Am. Field, XLII, July 21, 1894, p. 53. 

* Average of three specimens, iucluding the type, collected by Dr. Mearns. 

3 Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., II, Feb. 1890, 294-297, 300. 

Allen's jack rabbit. 23 

upper Yacjui lliver, at Magdalena, ITerniosillo, and Ortiz, and probably 
ranges over the greater part of the State. Little is known as to the 
western limits of its range, or the injury which it may do to crops when 
the country becomes more tliickly settled. Concerning its habits Mr. 
W. W. Price says: 

" This splendid hare is abundant about Tucson and in lower portions 
of the desert belt. It is found both on the gravelly hills bordering the 
Eillito at Fort Lowell, and on the immense niesquite and Larrea plains 
of Tucson. It is somewhat shy, and hard to secure, except with a rifle. 
One rarely comes upon it suddenly. I have never seen it start up with 
the quick, rapid flight of L. texianus. It has a slow, apparently awk- 
ward gait, but its leaps are long, and it gets over the ground with 
surprising rapidity. In color and habits it is so very different from any 
other American hare, the wonder is that it should have so long remained 
uudescribed." ^ 

' Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., VII, 1895, pp. 201-202. 



It is well known that jack rabbits are very prolific, and reference 
has already been made to tbe great numbers found together in some 
parts of California, Idaho, Nevada, aud South Dakota. Similar 
instances might be mentioned for southeastern Colorado and central 
Utah. But the best illustrations of extraordinarv abundance iu lim- 
ited areas can perhaps be found iu California. In Modoc County, in 
the northern part of the State, nearly 25,000 jack rabbits were said' 
to have been killed in three months on a tract of land only 6 by 8 
miles iu extent; this was during the period when the bounty law was 
iu force. A still more remarkable case has been recorded in the San 
Joaquin Valley. Some of the early drives near Bakersfield took place 
on a ranch less than 1 square mile in extent. In the first drive, on the 
afternoon of January 2, 1888, 1,126 rabbits were killed; as soon as the 
animals were dispatched, the same field was passed over again and 796 
more killed. A week later, on J anuary 10, there were two drives on the 
same ground, the first resulting in the destruction of 2,000 rabbits, the. 
second in more than 3,000; in the latter an adjoining field was also 
driven over. It was estimated that altogether about 8,000 rabbits 
were killed on this ranch in nine days. The ' Kern County Echo' of 
March (8 ?), 1888, stated that a total of about 40,000 rabbits had been 
killed iu the drives about Bakersfield from January 1, 1888, up to that 
date, and referred to an estimate that two-thirds of the rabbits killed 
in the drives were females and the average number of young of each of 
these was 3^. On this basis it was computed that had these 40,000 rab- 
bits lived two months they would have increased to i;>r),000. When 
it is considered how much iujury a single rabbit can do, the damage 
which such an army of rabbits is capable of infiicting would hardly be 
less than that caused by a grasshoppei- i)lague. 

Suri^rise is sometimes expressed that jack rabbits are not entirely 
exterminated in regions where they have been mercilessly slaughtered 
for years, and it might be supposed that ;ininuils which live on the 
open i^lains Avithout even the protection afforded by burrows or holes 
of any kind, could easily be kept within bounds, though the}' have 
comparatively few natural enemies. But experience has shown that 
this is no easy matter. Ada County, Idaho, which has been systemat- 
ically killing off the jacks for fifteen years under the bounty system, 
received more scalps and expended more money for this purpose during 

1895 than in any year since the bounty law first went into effect iu 1878. 


lu view of these facts it may be worth while, before cousidering the 
subject of depredations or the methods used in extermiuation, to dwell 
somewhat on the way in which these rabbits contrive to hold their own 
under iip])arently great disadvantages and when exposed to attacks of 
every kind. ISTaturally their breeding liabits and the rate at which the 
animals increase should be considered in this connection. 


The breeding halnts of the Old World hare and I'abbit are well 
known and have been determined repeatedly by observations on ani- 
mals kept in conlinement, so that the i)eriod of gestation, the number 
of young in a litter, the number of litters born iu a year, and the age 
at which each sjjecies begins to breed are known with considerable 
accuracy. According to Sir llichard Owen, the period of gestation in 
the Old World hare {Lepus timidus) and the rabbit {Lepus cuniculus) 
varies from thirty to thirty-one days, and it is probably much the same 
in the case of our native si^ecies. The common European rabbit breeds 
from four to eight times a year and the number of young varies from 
3 to 8 in each litter; it begins to breed when only G months old and 
attains an age of 7 or 8 years. ' 

The breeding habits of the various jack rabbits are so much alike 
that the account of those of any one species will serve as an illustration 
of the others. The following description is taken from Dr. Cones' paper 
on the Prairie Hare in Montana, to which reference has already been 
made : 

Iu tho regions where I have studied this hare, the female hrings forth iu June and 
early .July — oftener tho latter — aud appareutly only one litter is produced each 
sea.son. The number of young is 5 or 6, as a rule. The form is simply constructed, 
without burrowing, iu the grass beneath some low, thick bush or tuft of weeds. 
The young are said to suckle aud follow the mother for a month or more. They are 
agile little creatures, even when only a week or two old, aud it is only when very 
young that they can be caught by hand. In traveling along the Milk River (where 
the species was abundant), early in July, 1 had several little ones brought to me, aud 
some I kept for a time in a box. * « * Though only 5 or 6 inches long, they had 
all the motions and attitudes characteristic of the jiareuts, and made shift to run 
about quite cleverl}'. They could not eat, but some of them could be coaxed to lick 
a little milk. (Bull, iissex Inst., YII, 1^75, p. 81.) 

Much still remains to be learned iu regard to the iiumber of young 
per annum, the exact tiaie when they are born and particularly the num- 
ber of litters per year. The interest in this subject is not restricted to 
the naturalist, for it is a matter of practical importance to the orchardist 
or the farmer to know when his eflbrts at extermination will be most 

Kinnber of young in a Jitter. — Compared with the domesticated ral)bit 
the jack rabbit does not increase very rapidly. Writers, however, 
differ widely concerning the number of young and the frequency with 
which the ditferent species breed. Most of the statements seem to be 

1 Flower & Lydekker, Mammals Living aud Extinct, 1891, p. 494. 



largely matters of opinion. Mr. H. P. Attwater states that the jack 
rabbit on the southeast€frn coast of Texas is supposed to have only one 
young at a birth. Dr. J. H. Clark, surgeon of tlie Mexican Boundary 
Survey, notes that the species found along the Mexican border brings 
forth but 2 or 3 young at a time, and these usually late in the summer. 
The writer, in the 'Kern County Echo,' referred to above, says: "If 
these rabbits breed every six weeks, as is asserted by many, or at the 
outside, three times a year, * * * every farmer in this end of the 
valley without a rabbit-tight fence will be comijelled to surrender his 
ranch to the pests." 

As very little positive data seems to have been given by most 
observers, recourse was had to the specimens in the collections of Dr. 
C. Hart Merriam, the United States Department of Agriculture, and 
the American Museum of Natural History,^ to supplement the few 
published notes. Altogether about 50 specimens were available for 
this purpose, consisting lirst of 15 adult females with young, which had 
been examined in the field and a note made of the number of embryos 
which each contained. These furnish the most accurate data possible 
concerning the number of young. Tlie other specimens, 36 in number, 
comprise rabbits less than half grown, and in some cases only a few 
days old, which may be utilized to show roughly the dates of birth. 
The data thus collected are shown in the following tables: 

Table showing number of Jack Babbits in a Utter {based on dissection of females with 



ber of 



Lepus californicus 

Lepus carnpestris 





Mar. 19, 1894 
May 5, 1890 
May 30, 1894 

Jolon, Cal. 

Bridger Pass, Wyoming. 

T^'ftrks of niievp.Tine. South Dnlrntn,. 

Lepus melanotis (?)*... 

Lepus texianus 


Dec. 28, 1894 ■ San Antonio, Tex. ' 
Jan. 24, 1891 1 Death V alley, Cal. 
Mar. 25, 1891 1 Do. 

Do - 

Apr. 16, 1891 Panamint Mountains, Cal. 

May 1, 1891 Salt Wells Valley, Cal. 

May 8,1893! Ilaynioud, Cal. 

May 9, 1893 j Do. 

May 25, 1892 Fori Huachuca, Ariz. 

June ? 1 Fort Whipple, Ariz. (Cones). 

July 9, 1890 ! Bhickfoot, Idaho. 


Do ( ?) 

Do ( ?) 





July 31, 1891 25 miles west of Benton, Cal. 
Sept. 5, 1889 i Sa.n Kra,iiei.<^ef» TVlnnntain. Ai'izona,. 


* Specimen in American Museum of Natural History, New York. 

The number of young as shown by these 15 specimens varies from 1 
to C — never more; in fact it is probable that G is rather exceptional, 
although found in three of the cases mentioned above. The average 
obtained from the table is between 3 and 4 (3.5), but this result is prob- 
ably not accurate. It will be noticed that all the cases of 3 young or 

' Through the kindness of Dr. .J. A. Allen, curator of mammals in the American 
Museum of Natural History, New York, 1 have had au opportunity of examining the 
jack rabbits in that collection. 


less are in the desert region of the Great Basin or Arizona, or else 
represent second or third litters. Dr. E. A. Mearns, United States 
Army, who has examined many specimens in Arizona, states that it is 
very common to find only 1 yonng- and that 2 is the usual number 
in that region. Farther north, however, both in the case of the Prairie 
Hare and the California Jack, 4 is probably not too high an average 
for the first litter, but it is doubtless true that later iu the season the 
litters are smaller. 

Time of hirtlt. — The evidence at hand not only fails to substantiate 
the view that Jack rabbits breed every six weeks in the year, but there is 
every reason to believe that each species has a regular breeding season 
and a definite period of rest. Certainly no data have been found which 
show that the young are born in the United States in October, Novem- 
ber, or December. It is almost impossible to determine the exact dates 
of birth unless the animals are kept in captivity, but the time can be 
estimated approximately. As already stated, the period of gestation 
is about thirty days, so that the specimens mentioned in the last table 
can be utilized for this purpose by adding thirty days to the dates 
given and the results will be within a month, and probably within two 
or three weeks of the trv^e time. Furthermore, it may be assumed that 
jack rabbits attain their full size (but not weight) in about two months, 
and the size of the adults and of the young at birth being known, the 
measurements of a young animal may be taken as a rough index of 
its age. The following table is based on an examination of Mi young 
rabbits selected for this purpose. Xo specimens were included which 
seemed to be much more than half growu, and nearly all those given 
may be assumed to be less than thirty days old and. hence the date of 
birth less than a month earlier in each case. 

The collection contains several specimens which illustrate the size 
and condition of the young at birth. Perhaps the most interesting are 
4 fcetal Prairie Hares collected at Bridger Pass, Wyoming, May 5, 
1890, evidently but a day or two before birth. The average measure- 
ments of these specimens are: Total length, 140'"'"; hind foot, 3G""". 
The animals are entirely covered with hair and the eyes are open. In 
one, at least, the front teeth (incisors) are cut, and nearly all the molars 
iu the upper jaw are just breaking through the gums. The specimens 
having been i)reserved iu alcohol for four years are somewhat shrunken 
and the total length is lu'obably about 'Jo'"'" too short, A specimen of 
the Black-tailed Pabbit {Lcpun te.rianus) from Panamint Valley, Cali- 
fornia, collected January 10, 1891 — evidently only a few days old — meas- 
ures only 19l>""" in length, and hind foot 47""". Another of about the 
same age from Santa Rosalia, Chihuahua, taken September 21, 1893, 
measures 185'"'", hind foot, 43" "". Thus, the young at birth average a 
little less than 200""" iu length; the hind foot about 40 or 45"'"^. The 
dates of birth can be ap])roximated from the following table with suf- 
ficient accuracy for present purposes by comparing the difference 



between these measurements and those of any particular specimen 
with the difference obtained by subtracting- the oaeasurements of the 
young from those of the adult of that species. 

• List of young Jack Babhits, shoiving time of hirth. 


Lepiis alleni 

Lepus calif orniens . 





Lepus campestris . . 





Lepiis melanotisi . 










Lepvs texianus . . . 




June 12, 1892 









Lepus sp (?) 




Mar. 18, 
Mar. 23, 
Apr. 15, 
Apr. 18, 
May 1, 
May 23, 
May 24, 
May 28, 
Sept. 10, 
Mar. 4, 
Mar. 9, 
Apr. 12, 
July 6, 
Apr. 26, 
July 3ll, 
Sept. 3, 
Sept. 17, 
Sept. 17, 
Oct. 11, 
Jan. 10. 
Mar. 27, 
Apr. 10, 
Apr. 27, 
Mav 9, 
May 18, 
May 22, 
June 11, 
July 17, 
July 26, 
Sept. 21, 
Jan. 23, 
Sept. 30, 
do . 






Total |Hind 
lenjjth. foot. 

Rillito Creek, Arizona . . 

San Fernando, Cal 

Jackson, Cal 

Oakdale, Cal 

Chinese Camp, Cal 

Priest Valley, Cal 

Newcastle, Wyo 


Fort Pierre, S. Dak 


FortBulord, N. Dak.... 

San Antonio, Tex 

Onaga, Kans 

Sau Antonio, Te.x 

Vernon, Tex 

Cairo, Kans 

Onaga, Kans 

San Antonio, Tex 



Panamint Valley, Cal . . . 
Grapevine Mountains, Nev 

Furnace Creek, t'al 

Fort Huacbnca, Ariz 

Beaverdam, Ariz 

Phfenix, Ariz 

Carson, Nev 

Lone Pine. Cal 

South Fork, Pitt River, Cal 

Arco, Idaho 

Santa Rosalia, Chihuahua 

Mat.Tgorda, Tex 

Rockport, Tex 

San Luis Potosi, Mexico . 



































Adult: Length 643""" ; 
hind foot, 138. 

Adult: Length 592"""; 
^ bind foot, 136. 

Adult:: Length SgS"""; 
[ bind foot, 150"™. 

One-third grown (?). 

I Adult: Length 590™; 
hind foot, 130. 

Unborn (?). 

Few days old. 

Adult: Length 647'°"'; 
bind foot, 145. 

One-third grown (?). 

*In Merriam collection. tin American Museum of Natural History, New York. 

i Average of 6 specimens from Wyoming. 

It would have been desirable to have a much larger number of speci- 
mens, but the localities and seasons are well distributed and com- 
pensate in a measure for the small series. The earliest date of birth 
indicated in these tables is about the beginning of January in the case 
of three specimens — one taken in Panamint Valley, in the desert region 
of southern California, the others in southern Texas, at San Antonio 
and Matagorda. The latest dates (September), are represented by speci- 
mens from San Francisco Mountain, Ariz.; Santa Rosalia, Chihuahua, 
and Roctport and San Antonio, Tex. Between these extremes every 
month is represented, but most of the young seem to be born in April, 
May, and June. Specimens born after the 1st of July are from the 
northern part of the I'lains, from the Great Basin, from southern Texas, 
from elevated regions, or from the table-land of Mexico. There is a 
noticeable absence of d.ata from the low deserts of southern Arizona 
and southern California, ai)parently indicating at least a partial period 
of rest during the hot, dry summer. The tables also fail to show that 


any jack rabbits are born before the 1st of February in California west 
of the Sierra, or before the 1st of April north of Kansas and central 
Nevada. The length of the breeding- season in sowtliern regions indi- 
cates that several litters are born each year, but in the northern United 
States the number is probably not more than two, or at the most, three. 

The practical bearing of these generalizations is obvious. Drives or 
hunts organized for the extermination of rabbits should take place 
before the beginning of the breeding season, if they are to accomplish 
the desired end. Just after the young are born the rabbit population 
in a given place may be two or three times what it was six weelis pre- 
vious, and the killing of 1,000 rabbits then would be only one-half or 
one third as effective as the destruction of an equal number earlier in 
the season, when all the animals were adults. Drives in southern Cal- 
ifornia should therefore be made in December, January, February, or 
early in March — the earlier the better, if the weather .is favorable; 
later in the season more rabbits may be killed at one time, but a cer- 
tain proportion will be young. In Colorado and Utah, hunts made 
before the 1st of February will accomplish much more than those in 
April, while in Idaho they may be postponed somewhat later. 

Similarly, when killed for game, the rabbits from southern California 
or Arizona are not likely to be in the best condition after the 1st of 
February or March, while those from the northern Plains may be 
shipped up to the 1st of April. On the other hand, the young will 
hardly be in condition for market before October except in southern 
regions, and there the hot weather is likely to interfere with their ship- 



With the settlement of the West the jack rabbit has found that 
several cultivated crops furnish food which is better and more easily 
obtained than the wild i)laiits ou which it formerly fed, a fact that is 
too often demonstrated by the ravages committed in orchards and 
vineyards. Like the cottontail, it seldom ignores a neighboring alfalfa 
field or vegetable garden, and if unmolested can do a surprising 
amount of damage. Melons, cabbage, carrots, alfalfa, cotton, sweet- 
potato vines, young grain, grapevines, and trees suffer most frequently 
from its visits. The damage is most severe, however, in the young 
orchard set in newly broken ground, for here, deprived of its ordinary 
food by the cultivation of the land, the rabbit is forced to seek a new 
sui:)ply, and finds it in the tender bark of the young trees. A single 
animal can girdle a large number of trees in a sliort time, and will often 
injure them so seriously that part of the orchard has to be replanted. 
It destroys both the foliage and bark of young vines, but is especially 
partial to alfalfa and to cabbages. Fortunately, it does not burrow to 
any great extent, and therefore does not injure the roots of trees or 
I)lauts, like the i)Ocket gopher. 

It has been estimated tliat five jack rabbits consume as much food 
as one sheep; thus some idea can be formed of the damage which a 
few rabbits may do in the course of a single night. Oomi)laints of their 
ravages have been received froni numerous correspondents from Texas 
to Washington, and from Kansas to California. Probably all the spe- 
cies are injurious, although no positive evidence against Allen's Rabbit 
is now at hand, simply be(;ause so little land in the area which it 
inhabits happens to be under cultivation. Most of the injury is done 
by the California Jack Kabbit and the wide-ranging Texan Hare {Lepus 
text an us). 

Mr. H. P. Attwater states that jack rabbits are common in Aransas 
County, Tex., along the Gulf coast, and do so much damage that many 
of the smaller truck farms are protected by rabbit-proof fences. In the 
northern i)art of the same State Mr. W. J. Crowley, of Grapevine, Tar- 
rant County, reports that tliey cause considerable injury to grain, and 
in fiehls of wheat, oats, and cotton often cut paths 12 inches wide and 
300 or 400 yards in lengtli, and destroy jiatches as large as an ordinary 
sized room. Mr. A, Vogt wrote from Willow Point, in the neighboring 
county of Wise, under date of December 6, 1889: "The damage don^ 


to my old orchard of a thousand peach trees by rabbits [Lepus sylvati- 
cus and L. mclanoti.s] is ."iO per ('cnt. Throe Inmdred trees are barked 
all around and below the bud, so that if they come out again they will 
be seedlings. Whitewashing tlie trunks docs no good, as the rabbits 
take the whitewasli and bark together." 

When irrigation was first begun near Lamar, in southeastern Colorado, 
the rabbits were attracted from the surrounding country, and caused 
nuich damage in the alfalfa and young orchards. TTunts were arranged 
on a large scale to kill off the pests, and proved so successful that 
regular 'rabbit days' have been celebrated for the last two or three 
years at Las Animas and at Lamar. 

In Idaho much difticulty has been experienced with jack rabbits at 
the experiment station at Nampa, Canyon Count3\ They are partic- 
ularly destructive to oats, wheat, barley, clover, vegetables, and fruit 
trees. Mr. T. T. Eutledge, assistant director, states that entire crops 
of grain and alfalfa are sometimes destroyed if small in acreage and 

Mr. J. B. (lure, of Rudy, Fremont County, writes under date of Sep- 
tember 10, 1805: "Jack rabbits have done a great deal of damage in 
this part of the country to grain and luceru, and are increasing very 
fast. * * * Some of the farmers have lost from 8 to 10 acres of 
grain by rabbits this season." 

Complaints have also been received from the State of Washington 
from Sunnyside, Yakima County; from Davenport, Lincoln County, and 
from Prescott, Wallawalla County. i\Ir, Conrod, of Davenport, wrote 
on December 10, 1887, that the jack rabbits were causing serious injury 
to grain, apple and plum trees, raspberry vines, carrots, and cabbage. 

Mr. Oscar N. Wheeler, of Prescott, writing under date of August 12, 
1805, says: "Jack rabbits (white tailed) have done a vast amount of 
damage to orchards, vineyards, and grain fields, but are not nearly* so 
numerous now as thev were three or four vears aijo, when thev destroyed 
bearing orchards. Timber claims, i)lanted in black locust that were 
large and old enough to 'prove up' on, were destroyed by them. Peo- 
ple who had hay stacked had to fence it to keep them off. 1 have 
known large stacks of hay destroyed by them.'' 

In Utah, Mr. W. G. Nowers wrote in February, 1887, concerning the 
Black-tailed Jack Babbit {Lepvs texianus) in Beaver County: "At 
times its ravages are enormous: sweeping down from the bench lands 
and sage plains in myriads, it devours entire fields of cereals. Last 
year in this and adjoining counties on either side its depredations 
amounted to several thousand dollars. Last year some farmers in this 
county lost their entire crop of small grain from this source alone. At 
Mim^rsville not more than one third of the crop was harvested; at 
Adamsville nearly the total crop Avas taken; at Green ville one-half of 
the crop was destroyed; and here (Beaver) about the same. This is 
also a fair representation of the ravages in Iron County south of us." 


Ill California jack rabbits are most abundant on some of tbe ricTiest 
lands in the State, and tbey have been particularly injurious to the 
vineyards and crops in the southern coast counties and in the San 
Joaquin Valley. The following account of their ravages in west- 
ern Fresno County, by Mr. Alvah A. Eaton, gives some idea of the 
extraordinary numbers in the central part of the San Joa(5uin Valley, 
and shows how a scanty food supply drives the rabbits to the culti- 
vated fields. Mr. Eaton says: 

I arrived in Fresno, Cal., April 1, 1890, after what was known as a wet year, 
i. e., rain enough had fallen to sprout wheat and raise a fair crop without irrigation. 
These conditions were favorable for various 'tar' and 'alkali' Avceds (species of 
Madia) which grew so luxuriantly that year that they prevented the heading 
of wheat in several sections of the Riverdale country. The next year was dry, and 
there was no wild feed that the rabbits could get, so they flocked to the wheat 
fields, feeding on the wheat and hiding and breeding in the weeds. Many were 
destroyed by burning the weeds, and by gunners, but it did not seem to make much 
difference. To make matters worse, there had been a bounty of $5 a scalp placed on 
coyotes, and these were mercilessly hunted, and the rabbits and squirrels throve in 

During the summer of 1891 it was no uncommon thing to start 1,000 rabbits out of 
a patch of weeds, and in one patch about a quarter of a mile long there were at 
least 5,000. The winter of 1891-92 was also 'dry,' no feed springing up till late in 
February. The rabbits were driven by hunger to the alfalfa fields. They gnawed 
the tops of the stools to the roots, and even dug them out with their feet and ate 
them. One 10-acre field of my brother's was more thickly covered with their drop- 
pings than I ever saw a pasture covered with those of sheep. 

Such was the state of affairs in the spring of 1892 just previous to 
the four great Fresno County ' drives,' which occurred in February and 
March, resulting in the destruction of more than 43,000 rabbits. 

The damage which jack rabbits have done has been enormous, but it 
is very difficult to obtain reliable statistics. The ' Visalia Delta ' of 
February IG, 1888, estimated that the annual loss in Tulare County 
amounted to more than $000,000. During the last six or seven years, 
however, owing to the increased acreage under cultivation and the 
vigor with which 'drives' have been conducted, the rabbits have been 
kei)t pretty well in check. 

The loss on account of the depredations of rabbits in Victoria, 
Australia, for the ten years, 1878-1888, has been estimated at about 
$15,000,000 (£3,000,000).' 


The cost of properly protecting trees and vines is often a large item 
in the expense of setting a new orchard or vineyard. Several methods 
are commonly employed, but the one which is most effective, and the 
only one which can be used for crops of all kinds, is the rabbit proof 
fence. Kabbits which succeed in getting into the inclosure may be 
shot or i)oisoned. 

'Jourii. Soc. Arts, London, XXXVII, No. 1879, Nov. 23, 1888, p. 22. 



Tf the orchard or field is to be protected as a whole, it should be 
inclosed by a low fence so built as to leave no holes large enough to 
admit a rabbit. While the animals could easily leap over a low fence 
they are not likely to under ordinary circumstances.' In southern 
California exporien(^e has shown that a fence about 2 feet high affords 
anii)le protection under ordinary circumstances, and many vineyards 
and orchards are surrounded by lath fences 2 to 2i feet in height. In the 
rabbit- infested region near Bakersfield, Cal., the fences are built some- 
what higher than usual — about 5 feet — and are made of laths securely 
fastened witli wire, which is stretched between posts set 15 or 20 feet 
apart (see corral in PI. Ill, p. 47). Several kinds are in use, but in any 
case the fence sliould bo built well down to the ground, and may be still 
further protected by running a barbed wire along the surface of the 
ground, or by turning a furrow against the bottom to prevent the 
animals from crawling under. A horizontal board fence may be ren- 
dered rabbit proof by nailing slats between the boards or by placing 
the lower boards closer together. Fencing material consisting of laths 
interwoven with wire is sold in large rolls and can be had in some 
localities ready for stringing to the ])osts. Woven wire fences are also 
made especially for keeping out rabbits. One of the best fences is 
made of galvanized wise netting with li-incli meshes stretched between 
posts which are set in the ground at convenient distances. The netting- 
should be fastened with staples on the insirle of the posts, and two 
barbed wires, with barbs 2i inches apart, fastened to the outside of the 
posts', one just clearing the ground and the other an inch above thetoj) 
of the netting. The barbed wires will tear any rabbit that tries to 
scratcli under or jump over the fence. If desirable, a third wire may 
be stretched a foot or two above the top of the netting, which will 
make a fence high enough to keep out cattle.- 

In regions having a heavy snowfall it may be necessary to build the 
fences somewhat higher, as the rabbits, taking advantage of the drifts, 
can oftentimes clear a low fence. This difticulty has been experienced 
in Idaho, and some orchardists have used a combination fence made of 
paling 4 feet high protected at the bottom outside by a strip of wire 
netting 2 feet in width. Ordinary fences made of laths or paling can 
not be relied on if wide si)aces are left between the slats, as the rabbits 
can then gnaw a hole large enough to gain entrance to the inclosure. 
Prof. Charles P. Fox, director of the experiment station at ]\Ioscow, 
Idaho, suggests that such fences can be still further protected by dip- 
ping the slats in a warm solution of silicate of soda or protecting them 

'It may be interestiug to note that a jack rabbit has been seen to clear a 7-foot 
fence at a sinule leap. Mr. Charles Payne, of Wichita, Kaus., had seAeral animals 
confined in an inclosure of this height and actually saw one or more escape by- 
jumping over the fence. (Am. Field, XLII. Sept. 29, 1804, p. 295. ) 

nVickson, California Fruits, 1889, p. 553; 2d ed., 1891, p. 577. 
86ir>— No. 8 3 


witli sand paint. He also reports that a substitute for fencing is noTT 
being tried at tlie substation at Nampa, Idaho, liabbits are A^ery trou- 
blesome at tliis place, and in past years have destroyed almost the 
entire crop of alfalfa. Last spring, instead of building an expensive 
rabbit-proof fence, a band of alfalfa 30 feet in width was sowed around 
the field, which was inclosed simply with three strings of barbed wire, 
the idea being that jack rabbits, which usually feed around the edges 
of the field, will obtain sufticient food from the outside strij) and not 
molest that within the fence. He says ''we can grow rabbit feed in 
the form of alfalfa cheaper than anything else." 

In Australia fences have proved the best means of protection, and 
many miles of rabbit fences have been built by the government. One 
fence, running from Narromine, on the Macquarie River, to Bourke, on 
the Darling Eiver, and thence to Barringun, is 291 miles in length and 
cost on an average £82 per mile. It has recently been extended to 
Corowa, making the total length 703 miles. Another fence has been 
built from the INIurray River northward along the western boundary 
of New South Wales for a distance of nearly 340 miles, at art average 
cost of a little over £75 x'er mile. These fences were built of 17-gauge 
wire netting 42 inches in width and having 1^ or 1^ inch meshes. The 
fences are looked after by 'boundary riders,' who live in huts about 
30 miles apart. Altogether the government has erected 1,049 miles of 
fencing in New South Wales, while the amount built by individuals 
has been estimated at about 15,000 niiles.^ 

In Queensland about G75 miles of fences have been built by the 
government- and in New Zealand £12,530 have been expended for the 
South Canterbury fence. 


Where the expense of a fence is too great, young trees may be pro- 
tected by wrapping the stems with strips of burlap, gunny sacking, or 
coarse cloth an inch or two wide. These strips should be securely tied 
at the top and bottom. Small cylinders of wire netting, heavy paste- 
board, or other material are sometimes used, aiul a device known as 
the 'tule-tree protector,' made of the dried rushes or tules, whicli grow 
so abundantly in the San Joaquin River swamps in California, has been 
patented for this express purpose. Recently cylinders made of thin 
strips of yucca wood {Yucca arborescens), with the edges fastened 
together by wire, have been placed on the market. They come in sev- 
eral sizes and are readily i)ut in position. While they shield the stems 
from the sun their value in ])rotecting the trees from jack rabbits is 
oi)en to (question. 


Some orchardists advocate i^ainting the trunks of the trees with 
mixtures distasteful to rabbits. Whitewashing is said to prove effect- 

' Coghlan, Wealth and Pros^ross of New South Wales, 1894, Vol. I. p. 356. 
- Yeai' Book of Australia, 18'Jl, p. 145. 


ive in some cases, particularly if a mixture of glue and copperas is 
added to the solution. The mixture is made as follows: Take a bushel 
of unslaked lime and add sutiicient water, then add two pounds of 
dissolved glue, and stir in thoroughly one pound of copperas. Another 
mixture which is said to work well consists of one pound of commercial 
aloes with four gallons of water. A tea made by steeping quassia 
chips is also used.' A combination of i)otash and clay is occasionally 
emploj^ed, and is mixed so as to have a consistency like that of thick 
cream. A writer in the 'American Garden' recommends rubbing the 
bark thoroughly with blood or grease, and asserts that rabbits will not 
touch trees that have been treated in this way. He adds: "In the 
case of trees which have been gnawed or peeled, the wound should be 
covered with a cloth on which is spread a little grafting wax. This not 
only excludes the air, but also helps the injured part to heal.'' The 
New Zealand department of agriculture has recently recommended a 
paint made of cow dung, clay, and soot and slightly flavored with tar 
or spirits of tar for protecting the stems of trees from rabbits.- Too 
much reliance should not be placed on smearing the trunks of trees, and 
no mixture should beused which contains petroleum in any form. Blood 
or grease will soon cease to be effective and it becomes necessary to 
repaint the trees in a short time. 

' Wickscii, /. c, p. 553; 2(1 ed., p. 577. 

"Leaflets for Gardeuers, etc., No. 10, June, 1895, p. 8. 


The destructiou of rabbits Las been so carefully iuvestigated iu 
Australia tLat it may be well to refer briefly to the couclusious arrived 
at by the Royal Commission which was aj^pointed to inquire into 
schemes for the extermination of rabbits in Australasia. In a procld,- 
matiou dated August 31, 1887, the government of New South Wales 
offered a reward of £25,000 for the effectual extermination of rabbits 
by any method or process not previously known in the colony, but three 
years later a report was made that "after prolonged and careful study 
of all the proposals which have been submitted, the commission finds 
that no scheme has been propounded for the extermination of rabbits 
which complies with the terms of the proclamation.'"' 


The question of introducing infectious diseases was also carefully 
considered, but while the commission "found no evidence to warrant 
the belief that any known disease can be so employed as to exterminate 
rabbits," it suggested that many diseases would ])robably be found 
useful auxiliaries in keeping the rabbit plague within manageable 

The success of disease as a means of destruction depends on two 
conditions: (1) It must be fatal to the rabbits; (!') it nuist not injure 
man or domesticated animals. The Australian experiments were juainly 
couflned to the effects of (1) chicken cholera, (2) the so-called ^Tin- 
tinallogy disease,' (3) diseases caused by the bladder worm {Camii- 
rus), and (4) by rabbit scab {tiarcoptes cunieuli). It Avas found that 
while the rabbits were easily killed by putting microbes of chicken 
cholera iu their food the disease did not spread freely from infected to 
healthy animals. The Tintinallogy disease takes its name from a sta- 
tion on the east bank of the Darling River near IMenindie, New South 
Wales, where a peculiar affection was noticed among the rabbits iu 
September 1887. The principal symptoms are erection of the fur, begiu- 

'New South Wales Roy. Comm. Inquiry Exterm. Rabbits iu Austral iisia, Fiual 
Report, 1890, p. 11. 
2L. c, p. 3. 


niiigoii the head ; slight discharge from the eyes and nose, lasting tliree 
or. four days; emaciation, followed by loss of jiower in the hind legs, 
and finally deatli with convulsions in about three weeks. Experiments 
were made with this disease on a large scale, but were only partially 
successful. In addition to the bladder Avorm and rabbit scab, experi- 
ments have been made in New Zealand with rabbit measles {Cysticercus 
pisifonnis) and liver coccidium {Coccidium oriforme). The latter para- 
site is injurious to man, and its introduction is therefore dangerous. 
J)iseases caused by parasites do not otler much hojie as a successful 
niethod of destroying rabbits, as their effects at best can be only indi- 
rect by bringing about a condition of general weakness and emaciation, 
and thereby rendering the animal more subject to attacks of other dis- 
eases. A full account of these experiments will be found in the report 
of Prof A. P. W. Thomas on The Rabbit Nuisance in New Zealand, 
188.S, and the Keport of the New South AVales Koyal Con)mission on the 
Introduction of Contagious Diseases amongst liabbits, Sydney, 188!>. 

Further inquiry into the epidemic and parasitic diseases of rabbits 
was advised by the New South Wales commission, and it may be added 
that this means of destruction seems to promise better success in this 
country, where large nund)ers of jack rabbits are destroyed every few 
years by ei)idemics. 


No less than 1,456 persons submitted schemes to the Australian 
commission for the destruction of rabbits by methods other than dis- 
ease. The various schemes were arranged under the following heads:' 

1. Commercial utilization. 7. Miscellaneous, iucludiug firing the country, 

2. Fencing. cutting oii" from food and water, hunting 

3. Poisons. and trai)ping parties, etc. 

4. Natural enemies. 8. Indetiuitc methods. 

5. Traps. 9. General methods. 

6. Electricity. 10. Methods involving special legislation. 

A method which has been tried with some success in New South 
Wales, consists in capturing a number of rabbits alive and allowing the 
males to escape after killing all the females. As soon as the males 
begin to predominate in numbers, it is said that they persecute the 
females with their attentions to such an extent as to prevent them from 
breeding, and also kill the young that hai)pen to be born.- 

The Australian commissioners did not favor commercial utilization, 
because "the principle of making rabbits a profitable article of com- 
merce is universally condemned by practical men interested in their 
destruction, on the ground that it leads to their conservation." This 
method, however, has recently been brought to notice and seems to 
be one of the most promising (see pp. 05-78). 

'Final Report. 1890, pp. 8-4. 

^Nature, XXXIX, Mardi 21. 1889. pp. 193-494. 


The question offences has already been discussed under the head of 
preveution of injury to crops (pp. 33-34). Poisons, bounties, and natural 
enemies will be considered in detail further on. The other schemes 
were found to be either impracticable or unworthy of recommendation 
for use on a large scale. 

The most successful traps used in New South Wales have been yards 
or inclosures made of rabbit-proof fence with openings which allow the 
rabbits to enter but prevent their getting out. Such traps have been 
found most efHcient in dry seasons, when food and water are scarce. 
Several methods of using electricity were submitted, but all were . 
found impracticable. Firing might be employed in some cases, but 
is attended with more or less danger. Cutting off the animals from 
food can only be used under certain favorable conditions. 

Hunting and trapi)ing parties have not accomi^lished nnich in Aus- 
tralia, but in certain parts of the United States a modification of this 
method has proved to be the most successful means of destroying large 
numbers of jack rabbits. (See chapter on rabbit drives, pp. 47-04.) 


In this country poison has been used to some extent, although less 
successfully than the gun and club. As none of the jack rabbits bur- 
row, the poison must be scattered about on the surface of the ground 
where the rabbits are likely to find it, but the bait should not be 
placed where domesticated animals or poultry can eat it. Promfscuous 
scattering of poison in the orchard and vineyard is not to be recom- 
mended under ordinary circumstances, and when it can not be placed 
in holes or out of the reach of animals for wliich it was not intended 
the danger is greatly increased. The importance of this fact can hardly 
be overestiiuated, and every possible precaution should be taken in 
using poison for jack rabbits. In Australia experiments have been 
made with strychnine, phosphorus, arsenic, corrosive sublimate, lead 
salts, tartar emetic, barium carbonate, and sulphate of iron. Arsenic 
may be simjily sprinkled on any food which will attract the rabbits, 
but it is more effectual when dissolved and the bait soaked in the 
solution. Paris green, Loudon puri)le, lead salts, tartar emetic, barium 
carbonate, and suli)hate of iron have not been found sufiiciently active 
for killing rabbits, and corrosive sublimate has a powerful acrid and 
metallic taste, which may render it unpalatable to them. 

Of all the poisons mentioned above, strychnine is the most effective. 
As the ordinary crystals of strychnine are almost insoluble in water, 
the sulphate should be used when the poison is to be dissolved. It 
may be placed on bits of watermelon, cantaloupe, or vegetables of 
which the rabbits are fond, and scattered around the orchard or vine- 
yard, llabbits are said to be attracted by a mixture composed of half 
a teaspoouful of powdered strychnine, two teasi)oonfuls of line salt, and 
four of granulated sugar, thoroughly shaken up and placed in small 


piles on a board.' Dr. Joliii Strentzel, of Martinez, Cal., recommends 
mixing tlie stryclmine with grain wliich has been well sweetened 
with oil of anise or rhodium and ijlaciug it where it will be readily 
found by the animals. Mr. A. J'lumley, of Byron, Cal., uses dry pul- 
verized strychnine with wheat or barley that has been soaked in 
water and slightly warmed. Sugar and flour are added in suitable 
quantities and the poison carefully mixed with the grain ;ind spread 
out to dry. The addition of sugar and flour makes the strychnine 
adhere to the grain, and the mixture is reported highly successful. 
Maj. G. F. Merriam, of Twin Oaks, Cal., recommends soaking the wheat 
in water containing strychnine. The wheat is barely covered with 
water and allowed to soak until the grain is soft, and then dried as 
thoroughly and (piickly as possible. A handful of this dry wheat 
is ]»laced among the vines or scattered in the trails made by the 

Phos])liorus is advocated by maiij' persons, but it must be thoroughly 
soaked into the grain; if simply deposited on the outside and not cov- 
ered with some protective material it will oxidize rapidly. Wheat 
soaked in water containing phosphorus is highly recommended. It 
should be used in the following proportion: One hundred pounds of 
grain, 1 pound of phosphorus, 1 pound of sugar, 1 ounce of oil of rho- 
dium to gallons of water. The mixture should be heated to the 
boiling x>oint and allowed to stand over night, then enough tlour added 
to make it a paste. ^ 

In Australia preparations of phosi)horus have been more generally 
used, A writer in the ' Kyneton Guardian' gives the following directions 
for preparing the poison : Four and one-half ounces of phosphorus are 
put into a gallon of boiling water and kept boiling for thirty minutes, 
while the ])liosphorus is thoroughly stirred. The liquid should be 
passed througli a fine strainer. Fourteen or 15 pounds of malt are 
then stirred in and allowed to boil slowly for fifteen minutes, and 
finally 3 pounds of fiour and 4 pounds of sugar are added. The 
mixture is sown like turnip seed, in furrows plowed here and there iu 
rabbit- infested places. 

Another method of preparing phosphorus, known as the 'Lascelles 
process,' "consists in (1) dissolving the phosphorus in bisulphide of 
carbon, (2) mixing the solution so obtained in a churn with flour paste 
so as to form an emulsion, and (."J) coating the wheat in a revohing 
cylinder with this emulsion. The solution of phosphorus is made and 
kept under water, so as to prevent spontaneous combustion. This 
method has the advantages of facility and (piickuess, of the even dis- 
tribution of the poison over the grain, and also of the prevention of 
volatilization by the coating with flour paste.'' ^ 

' Wicksou, California Fruits, 1889. p. 554 ; 2d ed., 1891, p. 578. 

-Final Report, Royal Comm. IiKpiiry into Schemes Exterm. Rabbits Australasia, 
1890. p. 6. 



Bounties have been paid on jack rabbits in five of the Western 
States — California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and Utah — but the amounts 
have been small as compared with similar expenditures for the destruc- 
tion of other animals. In Oregon, Texas, and Utah the rates were 
fixed by State laws, but in California the bounties varied in different 
counties. Bounties on rabbits have been even less successful, so far 
as extermination is concerned, than those offered for coyotes, prairie 
dogs, pocket gophers, or ground squirrels. 


One the main objects of bounties in California, particularly those 
offered by the counties in the San Joaquin Valley, was to encourage 
rabbit drives, and in some cases the payments were almost sufiicient 
to defray such expenses. Eight counties have offered bounties during 
recent years, namely, Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Modoc, San Bernardino, 
Shasta, Sutter, and Tulare. In the case of Sutter County, and possibly 
one or two others, the returns include amounts expended for pocket 
gophers and ground squirrels. Bounties are seldom offered on rabbits 
aloue, and it is difficult to obtain the amounts expended for each 

A rate of 10 cents per scalp was paid both by Butte and Colusa 
counties — the highest rate paid for any considerable length of time. 
In Butte County it was maintained from January 7, 1887, to February 
1, 1890; in Colusa, from February 10, 1888, to September 12, 1802. The 
bounty was then reduced to 4 cents and continued to February 1, 1894. 

In Fresno the bounty was offered merely to defray the expenses of 
the rabbit drives, and was not i)aid unless at least 1,000 pairs of ears 
were presented at one time. The total amount expended was about 
$500, indicating that more than 33,000 scalps were received. 

In the spring of 1880 the supervisors of Modoc County ottered 3 
cents apiece for rabbit scalps, and in three months expended $826.77 
for 27,559 scalps.' 

The bounty offered by San Bernardino County about two years after 
the passage of the coyote scalp act of 1891, is uniijuefrom the fact that 
its main object was to offset the effect of the State bounty on coyotes. 
The ordinance went into etfect August 25, 1893, and expfred by limita- 
tion on December of the same year. It jnovided that the rabbits 
must be killed within 2 miles of a cultivated orchard, nursery, vineyard, 
or alfalfa field not less than 1 acre in extent, and the scalps must be 
deposited within thirty days with a justice of the peace of the town- 
ship in which the animals were killed. 

Tulare County expended $5,000 for bounties on ground s(iuirrels 
previous to November 1894, besides paying $3,000 for bounties on rab- 

' Forest and Stieaui, XXVil, August 5, 1886, p. 26, 



bits. The ' Los Angeles Times' states that no less than 4,000 scalps were 
secured in the drive near Traver, March G, 1892, and as many as 5,391 
have been deposited by a single person at one time. The ordinance 
under which these bounties were ])aid will serve as an illustration of 
those in other counties. It was passed October ol, 1891, and reads as 
follows : 

Okuinanck No. 46. 

Tlie l)Ocard of suiiervisors of tho Couuty of Tulare, State of California, do ordain 
as follows : 

Section 1. [Provides for a bounty of 2i cents on ground squirrel scalps.] 

Skc. 2. That a bounty of one and one-half (.$0.0U) cents be paid by this county 
on each and every scalj) taken from a, jack rabbit, containing both ears of said dead 
animal, killed or destroyed by any person or ])erson8 in this couuty, upon the said 
person or persons so killing or destroying said animal dejmsitiug said scalper scalps 
with any iiotary public, justice of the peace, or any oliicer authorized by law to take 
affidavits, and certify claim with said aflidavit, together with aflidavit of such officer 
that said scalp or scalps have been destroyed by lire to this board. 

Sec. 3. That said bounty shall be paid by the county until such time when the 
funds set apart for that purpose shall be exhausted, or until this ordinance be 
rei)ealed or rescinded by this board. 

Sec. 4. That this ordinance take effect and be in force from and after the 31st day 
of October, 1891. 

Sec. 5. [Provides for iiublication of the ordinance.] 

So far as figures are available, the amount expended in California is 
about $10,000, although no returns have been received from Sau 
Bernardino County. The amounts disbursed are shown below: 

liable showing expenditures for Bounties by Counties in California. 


Butte . . 



San Keruariliuo. 




Bounty iu force. 

Number i Rate per 
of scalps. { scalp. 

Jan. 7, 1887, to Feb. 1, 18!(0. ... 
5Feb. 10, 1888, to Si'i't. 12, 1892. 
?Sept. 12, 1892, to Feb. 1, 1894. . . 

35, 000 

;n, 000 

27. 559 

Three months, 1886 

Aug. 25 to Dec. 6, 1893 

Alay 11, 1891, to Mar. 1, 1892 

Sept. 25, 1893, to July 9, 1 894 .'. 

Oct. 31, 1891, to Nov!, 1894 > j * 200, 000 







$3, 500. 00 

4, 800. 00 

500. 00 
826. 77 

342. 55 

1 3, 040. 42 

3, 000. 00 

* Estimated from amounts expended. 

t Includes also bounties on gopliers and ground siiuirrels, at 5 cents per scalp. 


Two counties iu Idaho — Ada and Canyon — are now paying bounties 
on jack rabbits at the rate of 3 cents per scalp. Mr. Charles S. Kings- 
ley, county clerk, has kindly supplied the tigures for the expendi- 
tures iu Ada Couuty, and wrote, under date of August 24, 1895, as 

''The county began the payment of bounty July, 1878. and from that 
time until October, 1880, paid $8,129.75; from the latter date to the 


8tli day of July, 1895, tlie couuty paid the sum of $22,963.69, making 
an aggregate of $31,093.44. 

" I have myself been much interested in these iigures, and find that 
during the 33 quarters embraced in the first i)eriod stated the average 
quarterly amount was $232.27, while during the 35 quarters embraced 
in the last period the average quarterly payment amounted to $850.50. 
It is noteworthy that during 1887 (latter part), 1888, 1889, and part of 
1890 the average (piarterly payments dropi^ed to approximately $100. 
This was due to the very great destruction of rabbits during the winter 
of 1887 by extreme cold. It is thus seen that the average has been 
growing larger, notwithstanding the bounty, and the figures for the 
last quarter are $2,520.65 j that, with the current quarter, are of course 
the heavy quarters of the year, and it is possible the total average per 
quarter for the year [1895] will not exceed $1,000. These figures 
seem to indicate that the bounty is not a success in the matter of 
exterminating the pests," — and yet at the rate of 3 cents apiece more" 
than 1,000,000 rabbits must have been destroyed. 


Under the session laws of Oregon, 1887, a bounty varying from 1 to 
5 cents was ottered for jack rabbits. The law specially stated that this 
bounty was to be paid for the Black-tailed Rabbit, and none seems to 
have been i)aid on the Plains Jack llabbit {Lepus campestris), which 
occurs in the same region. During the years 1888, 1889, and 1890, Lake 
County paid bounties on 54,000 rabbit scalps at the rate of 4 cents each, • 
amounting in all to $2,160. 


In April, 1891, the legislature of Texas passed "An act to protect 
stock raisers, farmers, and horticulturists," which provided — 

That liereafter when any person shall kill any wolf, either coyote or lobo, pan- 
ther, Mexican lion, tiger, leopard, wild-cat, catamonnt, or jack rabbit, he shall be 
l)aid in the county in which he kills such animal or animals the sum of two dollars 
for each coyote, and the sum of one dolUir for each wild-cat or catamount, and the 
sum of five dollars for each panther, lobo, Mexican lion, tiger, or leopard, and the 
sum of one dollar per dozen for jack rabbits, and fifty cents per dozen for prairie 
dogs so killed.' 

The sum of $50, 000 was appropriated and expended in carrying out 
the provisions of this law. Unfortunately it has not been possible to 
obtain the amounts paid for each of the animals named, so that the 
total bounty on jack rabbits can not be stated. The burden of this 
expenditure fell so heavily on some of the southwestern counties of the 
State that the law was repealed in March, 1895, and a new act substi- 
tuted which made the payment of bounties optioiuil with the counties, 
and omitted jack rabbits and prairie dogs from the list of proscribed 

1 General Laws of the State of Texas, 22d legislature, 181H, p. KJO, chap. 100, sec. 1. 




Section 2114 of the laws of Utah for 1800 authorized the county 
courts to offer bounties for the destruction of jack rabbits and certain 
other injurious animals. On September 1, 180;j, a bounty of 5 cents 
per seal]) was placed on rabl)its by the court of Boxelder County. This 
rate was maintained until January 28, 1S05, when it was reduced to 2 
cents per scalp. The county clerk reports that up to Decemb<'r .'>1, 
1805, bounties had been paid on 111 coyotes at 50 cents each, while 
more than 1500 had been expended for rabbits, as follows: 

Table .showinf) exjjendiiures fur Bounties iv Utah. 



of scalps. 

Rate per 



Jan. 1-Sppt 1 1893 . 





45S. 95 

57. 26 



Sei)t. 1, 1H9:(-Jan. 28,1895 

J an. 28-I)fc. 31, 1895 


12, 758 

$530. 53 


Bounties represent the only expenditures made by counties or States 
in this country for the destruction of rabbits. As shown above, the 
totals, including the State bounty of Texas, which was paid on several 
other s]>ecies of animals, aggregate about $100,000, an amount which 
is insignificent when compared with that spent iu Australia. 


The common rabbit of Europe {Lepus cuniculus) was introduced into 
Australia about the year 1804 at Barwon Park, near (Jeeloug, Victoria.' 
In the course of a few years it spread over Victoria and westward into 
South Australia, crossing the IMurray River in 1878. The following 
year legislative action for the destruction of the pest was inaugurated 
by South Australia, and the example was soon followed by Victoria, 
New South Wales, Xew Zealaud, Queensland, and Tasmania. No less 
than 19,182,530 rabbits were destroyed m New South Wales alone in 
1887.2 But in addition to the direct payment of bounties, the govern- 
ments of the colonies iiave ex])ended large sums for poisons, for experi- 
ments on various methods of destruction, and have built several thousand 
miles of rabbit-proof fences. As shown by the following table, tlic total 
amount expended up to 1888 was £1,003,800 (more than $5,000,000) in 
addition to £0(),2(J4 (nearly $500,000) ftn- fences. 

'According to Hon. James M. Morgan, formerly United States consul-general at 
Melbourne, rabbits were first introduced in western Victoria about 1860, lor the 
purpose of sport. (Consular Reports for Dec, 1886, XX, p. 482.) 

- Circular on Rabbit Do.structiou, Committee New South Wales Conim. Pastoral 
and Agr; Ass., Jan., 1888. 



Government ICxpenditures for Denlrmtion of Rabbits in Australia and Neio Zealand, 






New South Wales 


South Australia 


New Zealand 


Up to Dec, 1887 




f £732, 236 


128, 5!»5 
131, 724 

18, 453 

82, 882 

£23,997 also expended for fences. 
£59,737 for fences. 

On unoccupied Crown lands. 
£12,530 also expended for South 
Canterbury fence. 


May, 1883-Jan.,1888.. 


1, 093, 890 

Add £96,264 for fences. 

* Progress Ilept. New South "Wales Royal Cora. Inquiry Exterm. Rabbits, 1890, App. IT. pp. 190-102. . 

t Hon; J. H. Carruthers, Minister for Lands, gives £831,457 4s. Id., as the total amount expended from 
the passage ot the rabbit act in 1883 to June 30, 1890. The figures for each year are less in nearly 
every case than in the statement quoted above, but represent the sums disbursed " solely for the pur- 
pose of attempting to get rid of the rabbit." FroTU .July 1. 1890, to December 31. 1894, the expenditure 
amounted to only £22,761, which was devoted to fences. (Rept. Conference Rabbit Pest in New South 
Wales, 1895, p. 6.") 

♦Total expenditures up to 1S94 (largely for fences), £136,484 8s. (Tear Book Australia for 1894, 
p. 145.) 


Birds of prey seldom molest the larger hares. Among those whicli 
are known to feed on jack rabbits are the barn owl {8trix iwatincohi)^ 
Audubon's caracara {Polyhorus cher'ncay)^ prairie falcon {Faleo mexi- 
caniis), and western red-tailed hawk; but remains of the Texan rabbit 
have been found in the stomach of the red-tail in only three cases 
among a large number examined. The western horned owl [Bubo 
mrginianus suharcticus) and the golden eagle {Aquila ehryscetos) should 
also be mentioned. The marsh hawk {Circus Jiudsonius) occasionally 
attacks rabbits, and Mr. J. Alden Loring shot one at Vernon, Tex., while 
in the act of killing a young Jack rabbit whicli weighed a pound and a 

The mammals in this list are likewise few in unmber, the most 
important being the coyote {Canis lafrans), gray \vo\f {Canis mihilus), 
long-eared fox {Vulpes macrotis), gray fox [Urocyon), and wild-cat 
{Lynx). Skunks, weasels, and badgers may occasionally destroy the 
young, but seldom, if ever, the full-grown hares. The badger, an inde- 
fatigable hunter of the ground squirrel and the prairie dog, is too slow 
of foot to overtake the jack rabbit in a fair race, and is unable to cor- 
ner him in a hole, as he can a burrowing animal. 

On the Great Plains the gray wolf undonbtedly destroys large num- 
bers of jack rabbits in the region from (3olorado northward. In Mon- 
tana, according to Dr. George Bird Grinnell,' "The abundance or 
scarcity of the prairie hare in any district depends almost altogether on 
the number of wolves to be found in the same tract of country. Where 
all the coyotes and gray wolves have been killed or driven off, the hares 
exist in great numbers; but where the former are abundant, the latter 
are seldom seen. We saw none near the Missouri River, where the 
buffaloes, and consequently the wolves, were numerous; but at Camp 

' Ludlow's Rept. Reconnaissauce Yellowstone Nat. Park, 1876, p. 69. 


Baker, where there Mere scarcely auy Molves, the hares Avere very 

The coyote is a most effective rabbit destroyer and accomplishes 
more good in this way than he usually receives credit for. His true 
value, however, is beginning" to be appreciated by fruit growers. The 
following notes contributed t)y Mr. V^ernon Bailey show how coyotes 
sometimes prey on jack rabbits. Mr. Bailey says: 

lu trapping on tlio groasewood Hats about Kultoii, iu northern Utah, ilnriug the 
latter ])art of October, 1S88, I noticed iu many places that jack rabbits (Lepus 
texianus) had been killed and eaten by souie iiniuiai. The feet, bits of skin, and fur 
were usually all that reniain<;d, but I iuiuiediately attributed this destruction to 
coyotes, and later on was able to verify the conclusion by finding remains of rabbits 
surrounded liy fresh coyote tracks. In a walk of a mile it was common to see where 
a dozen had been eaten, and I could even see wiiero the coyotes had run and caught 
the rabbits. I was surprised at the number killed, although l)oth rabbits and 
coyotes were numerous. As I walked through the brush jack rabbits would jump 
np and run every few minutes, and coyotes were fre(|uently seen. In this particular 
spot the numerous bunches of greasowood {Sareobattis) scattered over the smooth 
valley bottom gave the coyotes a great advantage, enabling them to approach close 
to the rabbits and probably catch them before they got fairly started. It is very 
doubtful if a coyote can catch a jack rabbit iu a fair race on open ground. 

About five years ago the State of California offered a bounty of $5 
each for coyote scalps. The act was passed March 31, 185*1, and i>ro- 
vided that such scalps should be deposited with the clerk of the board 
of supervisors of the county in which the animal was taken, within three 
months after the date of capture, and must be accompanied by an affi- 
davit showing the time and place that the animal was killed. The law 
practically remained in force up to September 30, 1891*, when the State 
board of examiners refused to pass on any claims for scalps taken sub- 
se<iuent to that date. The State controller reports that the sum paid 
for scalps during the eighteen months that the law remained in effect 
was $187,485, and that up to June 30, 1894, no less than 71,723 coyote 
scalps had been presented, with claims for bounty amounting to $358,015. 
This immense destruction of coyotes has permitted the increase of the 
smaller animals on which they feed. Complaints have been made 
that the rabbits are increasing in numbers and that the damage done 
by them is greater than that caused by the coyotes. As already stated, 
the county of San Bernardino in 1893 offered the unusually high bounty 
of 20 cents apiece on the rabbits, which, as a result of this wholesale 
destruction of coyotes, had so greatly increased in numbers. In this 
remarkable case of legislation a large bounty w as offered by a county 
in the interest of fruit growers to counteract the effects of a State 
bounty expended mainly for the benetit of sheep owners ! 


Jack rabbits are subject to epidemics, which occasionally reduce 
their nunibers very materially. These outbreaks are more or less local, 
but are reported every few years. According to Mr. George Watkins, 



rabbits were found iu large numbers iu Ash Meadows, Nevada, pre- 
vious to 1891, but iu the spring of that year they were very rare. He 
attributed the decrease to the prevalence of an eiiidemic, which had 
been so severe as to render tliese animals almost extinct. In north- 
eastern California Mr. A. C. Lowell, of Fort Bidwell, Modoc County, 
mentions seeing many dead rabbits in the autumn of 1893. 

A similar occurrence is rej)orted by Mr. F. Stephens, near Beck- 
worth Pass, Plumas County. Speaking of a trip through northeastern 
Caytbruia in August, 1894, he says: " The epidemic among hares was 
widespread through all the region I passed over north of Beckworth 
Pass, being perhaps most noticeable in the Madeline Plain on the South 
Fork of Pitt River and near the Nevada line south of Surprise Valley. 
In all these places I saw daily dozens of carcasses near the road. The 
only cause of death that I could see was the abundant warbles {Cutere- 
hra) present in nearly all. It would seem, though, that these coul^l 
only operate by lowering the state of health generally and that some 
contagious disease was present." 

Dr. J. A. Allen' speaks of an outbreak that occurred in the vicinity 
of Great Salt Lake in 1870-71, destroying large numbers of Lejrus 
texiamis and L. campestris; and Prof. Marcus E. Jones states that 
another occurred in Utah in 1885 or 1886. A similar instance of the 
destruction of the Prairie Hare {Lepus campestris) has been mentioned 
by Mr. Gibbs and Dr. Cooper, which occurred iu Washington north of 
the Columbia River about 1853.' Mr. Clark P. Streator, while at Pasco, 
Wash., near the mouth of Snake River, learned that another epidemic 
had occurred among the rabbits in the vicinity during the summer of 
1890. IVIaj. Chas. Bendire states that the inhabitants of the Payette 
Valley, Idaho, claim that epidemics occur among the jack rabbits in 
that region every five or six years. The following table gives briefly 
the epidemics which have been reported in the West during the last 
forty years, but the list is very incomplete: 

rartial List of E abb it Epidemics in the IFest, 











Fresno County 

Modoc County 

Modoc to Plumas County 

Payette Valley 

Ash Meadows, Nye County. . . 
Near Great Salt Lake 

Iron County 

Central Utah 

Autumn, 1892 

Autumn, 1893 

August, 1894 

(Frequent) 1878... 

Sprinir, 1891 


Goo. B. Otis, Selma. 

A. C. Lowell, Fort Bidwell. 

F. Stephens. 

Maj. Chas. Bendire. 

George Watkins, Ash Meadows. 

J.A.Allen, ^lon. N. Am lloden- 




1885 or 1886 

About 1853 

Summer, 1890 

tia, 1877, p. 372. 
M. Kichai-(ls,.ir., Parowan. 
Marcus F. Jones, Salt Lake City. 
Cooper & (;ibbs,Pae. li. R. Uepts., 

Xll.Pt. II, 1860,pp.87, 131. 
Clark P. Streator. 


Near mouth Snake Kivor 

Monographs of American Rodentia, 1877, p. 372. 




Ill certain ])arts of California where .jack rabbits are found in great 
iniiii))ers the 'drive' has proved the most successful means of exter- 
mination. Rabbit driving seems to have been first introduced in the 
Sau Joaquin Valley, near Tipton, Tulare County, in 1882, but did not 
attract much attention until the winter of 1887-88. This was during 
the 'boom' in southern California, and it is probable that the influx 
of jieople from the East, many of whom settled in the San Joaquin 
Valley, was one of the causes of the sudden interest in rabbit drives. 
Large tracts of land were brought under cultivation in sections where 
jack rabbits were very abundant, and it became absolutely necessary 
to adopt some eflective means of protecting the newly planted orchards 
and vineyards. 

Tlie origin of tlie method, however, is somewhat obscure. It is said 
that the Mission Indians fmincrly hunted both cottontails and Jack 
rabbits on horseback. A dozen or more Indians armed with clubs would 
engage in sucb a hunt, and, riding at full speed through the under- 
brush, would start the rabbits from their hiding places. The cotton- 
tails, confused by the clattering of the horses' hoofs and the shouts 
of the riders, would turn this way and that, and either dodge into their 
holes or squat close to the ground, only to be dispatched by a swift 
blow from a club. The jack rabbits, on the contrary, usually made 
for the open plain, where they were turned in their lliglit, and soon sur- 
rounded and killed. 

Long before the settlement of the country by the whites, the Indians 
were accustomed to capture large numbers of jack rabbits with nets, 
the animals being surrounded and driven into an inclosure, where they 
were killed with clubs. One of the earliest accounts of this custom 
is contained in Townscnd's 'Narrative of a Jonrney across the Kocky 
j\Iountains,' published in 1839 (p. 327). In speaking of the Blacktailed 
Jack Ilabbit found near Walla Walla, Wash., he says: "The Indians 
kill them with arrows, by approaching them stealthily as they lie con- 
cealed under the bushes, and in winter take them with nets. To do this, 
some one or two hundred Indians, men, women, and children, collect 
and inclose a large space with a slight net, about 5 feet wide, made of 



hemp; the net is kept in a vertical position by pointed sticks attached 
to it and driven into the gronnd. These sticks are placed about .") or 6 
feet apart, and at eacli one an Indian is stationed with a short club in 
his hand. After these arrangements are completed, a large number of 
Indians enter the circle, and beat the bushes in every direction. The 
frightened hares dart ofl" toward the nets, and, in attempting to pass, 
are knocked on tlie head and secured. Mr. Pambrun, the superintendent 
of Fort Walla Walla, from whom I obtained this account, says that he 
has often participated in this sport with the Indians, and has known 
several hundred to be thus taken in a day. When captured alive, it 
does not scream, like the common gray rabbit {Lepns sylraUcns).^' 

The Indians of southern Oregon also carried on rabbit drives some 
years ago, especially near the Oregon-Nevada boundary line, near Port 
McDermitt. Several hundred rabbits were killed at a time aiul util- 
ized for food, while their skins were made into clothing. During his 
second expedition, Col. J. C. Premont found the same method of cap- 
turing rabbits used by the Piutes of Nevada and eastern Oalifornia.i 
In describing one of his camps on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada, 
evidently near the head of the Truckee River, he says, under date of 
January 31, 1844: "We had scarcely lighted our fires when the camp 
was crowded with nearly naked Indians; some of them were furn- 
ished with long nets in addition to bows, and appeared to have been 
out on the sage hills to hunt rabbits. These nets were perhaps 30 to 
40 feet long, kept upright in the ground by slight stakes at intervals, 
and were made from a kind of wild hemp, very much resembling in 
manufacture those common among the Indians of the Sacramento 

Maj. Chas. Bendire, while returning from Deep Spring Valley to 
Camp Independence, CaL, in November, 1860 or 1867, saw the Indians 
engaged in driving jack rabbits on the east side of Owens Valley, a few 
mdes south of Bishop, A corral had been made by stretching low nets 
between stakes placed about 20 feet apart. Into the inclosure thus 
formed the animals were driven from a considerable area in the valley, 
and it w^as estimated that 300 or 400 rabbits were killed in this drive. 
The nets were made by the Indians, and each hunter was required to 
furnish his quota. Mr. P. V. Coville, botanist of the Death Valley 
Expedition, learned that similar nets were formerly used by the Indians 
of Ash Meadows, Nevada. These nets were made i'roni the Indian hemp 
[Apocynum cannahhium), which furnishes a strong and excellent fiber. 
The same material was evidently used by the tribes in the eastern part 
of the State, for Bancroft, in speaking of the Indians near the Utah 
boundary, says; "The Gosh Utes take rabbits in nets made of flax 
twine, about 3 feet wide and of considerable h'ugth. A fence of sage 
brush is erected across the rabbit paths, and on this the net is hung. 
The rabbits m running quickly along the trail become entangled in the 

■ Kept. Expl. Expd. to Oregon and Calif., 1845, p. 227 (House Doc. No. 166.) 



meshes and are taken before they can escape." (Native Kaces of the 
Pacific States, I, 1874, p. 428.) 

The Moki Indians, of northeastern Arizona, have practiced rabbit 
driving for a nnmber of years. The hnnts are made both on foot and 
with horses, and the rabbits are simply surrounded instead of being 
driven into an iuclosure. A peculiar kind of weapon, resembling a 
boomerang, is employed in these liunts, and is thrown with such accu- 
racy that it proves very effective in the hands of Indians accustomed 
to its use. Similar drives were also made by the Indians in northern 
New Mexico, near Espanola. The I'iutes and other tribes in Utah used 
to assemble in large numbers in a valley near Cedar City, where they 
engaged in a grand hunt each November, killing thousands of rabbits 
for their skins and for food. 

The modern 'rabbit drives' are conducted on much the same plan 
as those of the Indians, but precautious are taken beforehand so that 
no escape is lelt for the ani- 

^ R 







mals when once surrounded. 
A square or triangular in- 
closure, open at one end, is 
constructed of wire netting 
— or of laths securely fas- 
tened close together. Often 
a corner of some old corral 
is simjjly made rabbit-tight, 
and from the open end of 
the pen diverging fences or 
wings are carried out in the 
form of a wide-mouthed V, 
sometimes for a distance of 
2 or 3 miles (see fig. 1). The 
fences are occasionally made 
in sections, so that they can 
be transported from one 
place to another, and thus 
used for several drives. The 
Goshen Rabbit Drive Club, organized in the spring of 1888, had an 
'outfit' which cost about $150, and wa« considered one of the best in 
the San Joaquin Valley; it was used mainly near Goshen, but was also 
moved to Huron, Fresno County, where it did duty for some time. This 
outfit consisted of 1 mile of wire netting 28 inches wide, and 400 iron 
stakes three-fourtiis of an inch in diameter and o or 4 feet long. The 
Stakes were set 15 or 20 feet apart, and the netting fastened to them. 
At the apex of the wings a circular corral was built 00 to 200 feet in 
diameter and provided with a sliding gate (see p. 50). 

Mr. Charles S. Greene, in describing the drive at Traver on April 8j 
1892,1 states that the wings used on that occasion were made of wire 


Fia.l. — Diagram showing form of corral used in rabbit 
drive at Bakorsfield, Oal., Jan 15, 1888. 

A, B, portable wired picket fence, 1 mile long; C, corral; 
D, drivers; E, entrance to corral; 11, rabbits. (From Am. 

Field 1888.) 

1 Overland Monthly, 2cl ser., XX, Jnly, 1892, p. 54. 
8615— No 8 4 


netting and were not more tlian 2 feet high. Although he saw rabbits 
leap much higher during the early part of the drive they made no 
attemj^t to escai)e over the fences when the wings were reached, the 
animals evidently being too wearied, as they had been driven for some 
distance. On the other hand, in a small drive which took place near 
Claremont on September 0, 1803, no wings or corral were built, but an 
attempt was made to utilize a corner of a stone wall 3 or 4 feet in height 
instead. The rabbits were driven only a short distance and when the 
wall was reached it is said that most of them went over it like sheep, 
and comparatively few were killed. In the great drive at Wildflower, 
Fresno County, the wings, made of wire netting, were 3 feet in height 
and extended for a distance of 7 miles, converging toward a circular 
corral at the apex. ' 

A drive always means a gala day, and is a favorite way of celebrat- 
ing some special occasion. The announcement is the signal for a 

gathering of tlie clans from 
all the neighboring country 
and the population of the 
place is increased to sev- 
eral times its normal size 
when sucli an event takes 
place. Excursionists are at- 
tracted in large numbers by 
the special rates oflered by 
the railroads, and sometimes 

Fig. 2.— Diagram showing form of portablo corral iisctl l)y cQme from l)OiutS aS far 
the Goshen Kabbit Drive Club. 

A, B, wings of wire netting each half a mile long; C, distant aS SaU FraUCiSCO 

corral GO to 200 feet m diameter; E, sliding gate. (From ^nd SacramCUtO. UpOU the 
M. S. Featherstone.) ■ ^ -, ^ ■, 

ap])ointed day large num- 
bers of people turn out armed with sticks and clubs, and, scattering 
over a considerable nrea, start the rabbits and drive them toward the 
mouth of the corral. Every available vehicle is pressed into service, 
but the larger part of the throng is usually on foot. The lines grad- 
ually close in, and the frightened rabbits, urged on by bh)ws and 
shouts, rush blindly into the opening between the wings and are grad- 
ually crowded toward the narrow end of the pen Avhere they are soon 
disi)atched with clubs. Firearms arc seldom used either in driving or 
killing, as clubs are cheaper, safer, and ecjually effective. The drives 
take place in winter or si)ring, and the number of labbits killed varies 
from a few hundred u[) to ten or even twenty thousand in a. single day. 
The town of Traver regularly celebrates its birthday in April by a rabbit 
drive and barbecue. On April 8, 18i>2, it was estimated that no less 
than C,()()0 persons were present, and more than 4,000 people and 1,000 
teams took part. 

See iigure iu Scieutific; American, LXI, No. !!•., Nov. it, 1880, i>. 295. 

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< -5 

i o 












■ t c f r r »- 


A writer in the Chicago Tribune of October 1, 1<SJ)3, tlius o-raphic- 
ally describes one of the hir<,^cst drives which lias taken uhice in the 
vicinity of Fresno, Cal. : 

A close feucc forming the corral is Ijuilt about aftO yards S(£uare, witli an opening 
or entrance for receiving the drive at one end, ilio opening being perhaps 50 feet 
•wide. This is the linlsliing point of the drive, and will hold thousands of rabbits. 
From this opening <liverge two fenci-s, close enough to keep the rabbits from jump- 
ing through, about 5 feet high. These two fences diverge from the entrance for 
about 3 miles, increasing in their distance apart as they increase in distance from 
the entrance. * * * 

By 7 o'clock in the morning all is busth^ .uid ])reparation for the drive. Some 
men have heavy sticks and some heaA^y clul)s, but no pistols or any kind of lirearms 
are allowed, and no dogs. The sticks and clubs are used to beat the brush' and to 
kill the rabbits at the finish. 

A general is appointed to give orders, and under him are those who keep the lines 
in order. But sometimes they are any tiling but orderly. The order to start being 
given along tlio line, the cavalcade rushes ^()r\^ ard. Boys with hoots and cries run 
hither and thither, wielding their sticks. .Men on foot in advance lines are followed 
by those on horseback and in vehicles. Those on foot seem to have the best success 
in putting up the rabbits. * * * 

After advancing a few miles the commencement of the fences diverging Ironi the 
corral can be seen. The scene is humorous at times, when a horseman is seen dash- 
ing at full speed after a jack rabbit and a man on foot running in another direction 
after another. Now hundreds of the poor creatures are easily discerned as the 
fences appear on the left and right, miles apart. Many try the back track only to 
meet death in the attempt. All the horsemen gallop in cowboy style, some with 
long sticks in their hands. Great numbers of rabbits dash in. every direction 
in front of the advancing hosts, and far ahead the long ears of hundreds more can 
be seen racing for life, occasionally crouching and then starting ahead again, but 
still surely advancing into the inevitable death-trap. The close proximity to the 
finish makes the chase exciting. Those on foot are heated and eager. The fence on 
each side is closing in fast, and although still some distance from the corral the 
screaming of the poor creatures can be heard as they find their retreat cut off. 

The climax of the drive is now at hand. Hundreds of men and boys rush in every 
direction. The horsemen and carriages ])artly hide the view. The clouds of dust 
are stilling. Now the screeching of the rabbits can be heard above everything, and 
the ground is covered with dead rabbits l)y the dozen. At the corral entrance the 
scene is indescribably pitiful and distressing. ^ * * 'Po slash and beat the poor 
screaming animals to death is the work of but a short time, but it brings tears to 
many an eye, and makes the heart sore to witness the finish. It is a relief to every- 
body when all is still, when the trying day is at an end. The result of the drive at 
Fresno was 20, 000 dead rabbits. 

The rabbits killed in the drives are utili/.ed in various ways. If 
they arc in good condition some are dressed and shipped to market 
where they find a ready sale. But nsually tlie drives are carried on 
solely for the purpose of exterminating the pests. In localities where 
a bounty has been offered the ears are collected for 'scalps' and the 
bodies not saved for food are either used for fertilizing purposes, fed 
to hogs, or thrown away. 

Drives have occurred in nine counties of California, viz: Inyo, Los 
Angeles, Modoc, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, and Tulare. 
With the exception of those in Inyo, Los Angeles, and Modoc, all have 


taken place in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley. Data are 
available for only a few drives east of the Sierra Nevada, one being 
the Indian hunt already mentioned, which took place in 18G6, near 
Bishop, Inyo County, and the others in Modoc County in the extreme 
northeastern corner of the State — in Surprise Valley, just east of the 
Warner Mountains, and near Likely, on the South Fork of Pitt Eiver. 
It may also be noticed that the drive at Clareuiont, Los Angeles County, 
is the only one which has occurred at a point well within the range of 
Lepus calif or nicus, smd although it resulted in the destruction of only 
about a hundred rabbits is especially interesting, as it seems to be 
one of the few drives in which the California Jack Rabbit alone was 
killed. All the large drives have been nmde in localities where the 
Texan Jack Rabbit is the predominant if not the only species. The 
largest drives have occurred in the vicinity of Bakerslield and Fresno. 
They usually extend over considerable country, and one of the Fresno 
drives has been described by Mr, Charles H. Towusend, in which nearly 
2,000 horsemen took part. This hunt covered some 20 square miles, 
and about 15,000 rabbits were driven into a central corral and killed. 
(Forest and Stream, XXXVIII, March 3, 1892, p. 197.) 


The feasibility of driving jack rabbits into a corral for Avholesale 
destruction was demonstrated about twenty years ago; but rabbit driv- 
ing as now carried on, began within the last decade. At first the ani- 
mals were shot instead of being killed with clubs, and these hunts were 
known as shotgun drives. 

Mr. George W. Stewart, editor of the Visalia Delta, has kindly con- 
tributed the following notes concerning the early drives in California: 

The first rabbit drive iu the San Joaquin Valley, and probably in the State, 
occurred in the year 1875. The firm of Haggin & Carr had begun to farm a large 
body of land in Kern County, at the southern end of the San Joaijuin Valley, which 
up to that time had been used only as a cattle range. The manager, a Mr. Souther, 
was much annoyed by the ravages of thousands of jack rabbits on what is known 
as Kern Island [a tract of land about 15 miles long] formed at that time by branches 
of Kern River. Mr. Souther collected a large number of his vaqueros and other 
ranch hands, and these men, mounted and on foot, surrounded a large territory and 
gradually closed their lines toward a large cattle corral, into whicli the rabbits 
were driven. Many rabbits escaped through the line, but the result of this lirst 
drive was 1,200 rabbits and 2 coyotes. * * * 

The next great slaughter of jack rabbits occurred eleven years later near Han- 
ford, now the county seat of Kings County. Notice had been given beforehand, and 
on March 3, 1886, about 250 men from Hanford and the adjacent country, armed with 
shotguns (rilies and pistols were barred), surrounded a large area of country (5 miles 
south of the town. As the circumf(!rence of the circle giadually lessened, the 
shooting commenced, and when less than a mile in diameter the firing was incessant, 
the continuous discharge making the noise of a small battle. When the last jack 
rabbit had been shot the army halted for a lunch. A number of men had shot as 
many as 50 rabbits each, and it was estimated that 3,000 had l)een slain. In the 
afternoon a fresh supply of ammunition was secured and another smaller tract of 


country was surroundefl and the battle continued. Tlie result of the afternoon's 
work was 1,000 hares, making 4,000 for the day. One result of this exciting day 
was a realization of the danger of using guns in this manner; several people were 
peppered with shot, hut none were seriously injured. " * * 

The following year, 1887, the rabbits had become so destructive on the great Miller 
& Lux ranch, on the west side of Merced County, that men were employed to kill 
them. The hunters were supplied with horses, wagons, and aiuniunition, and were 
paid 5 cents for every rabbit killed. Over 7,000 were killed on that one ranch during 
the season. 

The iirst largo rabbit drive on the plan afterwards adopted took ]>lace near Pix- 
ley, in Tulare County, on November 14, 1887, a year and a half after the Hauford 
slaughter. Firearms of all kinds were forbidden, and dogs were not allowed within 
the lines. A corral of rabbit-proof wire was made, and from its entrance two 
V-shaped wings extended a distance of a mile and a half. Into this space the rabbits 
were driven. Many hundreds stampeded and broke through the line, but the result 
of the drive was 2,000. 

The modem inetliod of driving rabbits into a corral seems to have 
originated with Mr. W. J. Browning, a professional hnnter, of Tipton, 
Tulare County. Stimulated by an offer of $1,000 for 1,000 live Jack 
rabbits for coursing, Mr. Browning undertook to capture the animals by 
driving them into a corral made by stretching lish nets between posts. 
In a letter dated January 15, 1895, he says : " I commenced the busi- 
ness of trapping jack rabbits with a corral drive net, witli wings about 
half a mile long, during the summer of 1882. I have shipped many 
thousands to all parts of the country, alive, for coursing purposes. 
* * * In driving, I use six or eight men mounted on good horses, 
and in this manner usually trap from 50 to 500 jacks. The big drives 
of this State were patterned after my system, as the first drive I ever 
heard of outside of my own was made [at Pixley] in this county in 
1887, in tlie mouth of Xovember." 

In order to obtain all the information possible on the subject of rab- 
bit driving, Mr. J. Ellis McLellan, a, field agent of the division, was 
detailed to visit Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, and other points in the 
San Joaquin Valley in the autumn of 1894. Mr. McLellan gathered 
manyfactsof interest, and the following brief account has been mainly 
condensed from his reports, while the list of drives on pages 5.5-,j7 is 
largely the result of his energy in collecting data. 

Early in the autumn of 1887 the question of taking measures for a 
wholesale destruction of jack rabbits was discussed in Kern County, 
but nothing was done for some months, and the project would probably 
have proved a failure through apathy or opposition had it not been 
vigorously agitated by the ]»ress. In the meantime, however, an exper- 
iment was made at Pixley, Tulare County, and the first ])ublic drive 
took place there on November 14, 1887. Two thousand rabbits were 
killed, and it was demonstrated that jack rabbits could be successfully 
driven into a corral. Another drive took place on December 3, and 
1,000 more were slaughtered. Babbit driving began in earnest in 
Kern County on January 2, 1888. The first drive was made near 


Bakersfleld, and was followed by others at intervals of a week or ten 
days with such success tliat the method attracted widespread atten- 
tion throughout the valley. Great interest was aroused in Tulare 
County, and on February 25 the 'Pioneer Rabbit Drivers' Club' was 
formed and driving was nndertaken by various towns in quick succes- 
sion. The first drive near Tii)ton took place January 28, at Tulare on 
February 1, at Waukena February 11, at Yisalia March 10, and at 
Traver April 7. Not to be outdone by Kern and Tulare counties, the 
citizens of Fresno met on February 8, and decided to arrange for a rabbit 
drive and barbecue, which was held on March IG, An association for 
rabbit driving was also organized in Merced County, and the first drive 
took place at Merced on March 24. During this time the matter seems 
to have been dropped at Pixley and the credit of originating the novel 
method of rabbit destruction was claimed by several other towns. 

In February and March, 1888, rabbit driving seems to have reached 
its height in the San Joaquin Valley. It was estimated by the news- 
papers that nearly 20,000 rabbits were killed in Tulare County during 
March alone; while about 40,000 were destroyed in Fresno, and 70,000 
each in Kern and Tulare counties during the spring of 1888. With 
the close of this season there was a noticeable falling off in the num- 
ber of drives, either through lack of interest or because the rabbits 
had decreased in numbers to some extent. Comparatively few took 
place in 1890 and 1891, but in the spring of 1892 several large ones 
were made in Fresno County, The largest on record occurred between 
Easton and Oleander, 10 or 15 miles southwest of Fresno, and formed 
the closing event of an encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic 
at Fresno, March 12, 1 892. It is said that 8,000 people were present, and 
the estimates of the number of rabbits killed vary from 20,000 to 30,000 
(see PI. IV). The central location of Fresno makes it an easy matter 
to bring together large numbers of people at short notice. Since 1892 
there has been a still further decrease both in the number and size of 
the drives, and except at Traver, hardly any large ones have taken place 
in the State. The custom has been somewhat revived during 189."> and 
1894 in Modoc County, where it is said a few drives were held in 1889. 

It is impracticable to give a complete list of all the drives or an 
accurate st.atement of the number of rabbits killed. The figures pub- 
lished in newspapers are ])robab]y often exaggerated, l)ut in most 
cases afford the only data available. With the assistance of many 
correspondents statistics for about a hundred and fifty of the more 
important drives have been collected.' As shown by the following 
table, more than 370,000 rabbits have been destroyed, but these ])rob- 
ably represent only a small i)roportion of the total number actually 
killed in California. 

'Tlie writer is indebted to many persons for aid iu the ])reparation of the follow- 
ing list. Besides those named below should be mentioned Messrs. Charles H. Shinn, 
of Berkeley, Walter 1'.. Bryant, of Oakland, and F. H. Holmes, of Berryessa, who 
have assisted in various ways. 

Bull. 8, Div, Ornithology and Mannmalogy, U S. Dept. Agriculture. 

Plate V. 



















F R E S N a-*^^ ---^^ 






Delano ■'^•W^%''^^^ 









'i^'t^CI ^,^iM^I^&^i!fi^'i^' 

!L o s An ^el 

L laremont 

J 17' 



Map showing Location of Rabbit Drives in Southern California. 

Drives have occurred at each place maiked with a black spot. 



List of California Rabbit Drives, 


Fresno County. 

Cinithora (6 miles wist ) 

Easton (12 inilus aoutliwest 
of Fresuo). 


Fresno (5 miles south) . . 




Fresno (10 miles south). 




Wild Fliiwcr 


Kern County. 


Bakersficld (Houghton dairy) 
Bakersficld (4 miles west)... 
B a k o r s li e 1 (1 ( Kosedalo, 3 
miles nortli). 



Rakeistiold (5 miles south) . 
Bakerslield (0 miles south- 




Dilano (10 Tniles southwest) . . 

Delano (9 miles west) 



Fel). 22, 1892 
Fob. 13,1892 


12. 1892 
18, 1892 



24, 1888 

12. 1888 
25, 1888 

23. 1889 
13, 1893 
18, 1893 

.1, 1894 
12, 1891 
14, 1888 

1, 1889 

2, 1888 

10, 1888 

9, 1888 
Jan. 20, 1889 
May 3,1891 



Ilagfrin i: Carr Itanch, Kern 

Mount View dairy '» (13 miles 
southwest of Bakerslield). 




Mount View dairy'" (13 miles 
southwest of ISakerslield) 
(shotgun drive). 
Mount View dairy "'(13 miles 
southwest of liakerstield). 
Mount View <laiiyi"(13 miles 
southwest of Bakerslield) 
(shotgun drive). 



Mav 16,1891 
Juno 6,1891 
June 10, 1894 
Dec. 9,1894 

Dec. 16,1894 
Dec. 23, 1894 
Feb. 4, 1888 
Feb. 19, 1888 
July 13, 1888 
Nov. 14-Dec. 
31, 1894. 


Jan. 15,1888 


23, 1888 

30, 1888 

5, 1888 


Feb. 19, 1888 
Feb. 2.->, 1888 

Mar. 4,1888 
Mar. 3, 1889 

Mar. 16, 1888 


1 14, (100 

2 20,000 

^2, (100 


900 s 

■" 14, 723 




io, 50(V 

2. 500 


6 12, 000 

« 1,126? 
796 < 
500 s 
3, rm 
« 1,600 






Alvali A. Eaton. 

Weekly Fresno Expositor, Feb. 17, 1892; 

Forest and Stream, XXXVIIl, Mar. 3, 

1892, 197—15,000. 
Phototrraph by F. M Stiffler, Oakland. 
Weekly Fresno Kxixisitor, .Mar. 22. 1892. 
FresDC) Daily Kepublicau, Mar. 17, 1888; 

Expositor, Mar. 22. 
Fresno Daily Kepublican, Mar 25, 1888. 
Fresno Daily Kepublican, Apr. 13, 1888. 
Fresno Expositor, Apr. 25. 1888. 
Fresno Daily Republican Mar 24,1889. 
Fhotosrraph bv E. R. llig^'os Fresno. 
Chiea.i?() Daily News, .May 10, 1893. 
Daily Eveniiij; E\|Hisitor, May 5. 1894. 
TulareCounty'rime8(Visalia)',Julyl6, 1891. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Mar. 29, 1S8H. 
Scientiflc Am., LXI, Nov. 9, 1889, p. 295. 

San Franci.sco Mining and Sci. Press, Jan. 
28, 1888, p. 51. 


Weekly Kern County Echo, Feb. 16, 1888. 
Weekly Kern Connty Echo, Oct. 8. 1888. 
Weekly Kern County Echo, Jan, 24, 1889. 
Weekly Kern County Echo, ^lay 7. 1891. 

Weekly Kern Connty Echo, May 21, 1891. 
(lus. Kratzmer, Bakorsfield. 
Weekly Kern County Echo, June 14, 1894. 
C. .^. Nelson, Bakerslield. 

B. L. Ihundage, Bakersfleld. 

Delano Courier, Feb. 10, 1888. 
Delano Courier, Feb. 24. 1888. 
Delano Courier, July 20, 1888. 
Uill & Conrad. Delano. 

1,200 j Geo. W. Stewart, editor Visalia Delta. 

"3, 500 Weekly Kern County Echo, Jan. 19, 1888. 

2, 000 ! Weekly Kern County Echo, Jan. 26. 1888. 

5, 000 Weekly Kern CountV Echo, Feb. 2, 1888. 

5, 000 Weekly Kern County Echo, Feb. 9, 1888 

500 I Weekly Kern County Echo. Feb. 16, 1888. 



Weekly Kern County Echo, Feb. 23, 1888. 
Weekly Kern County Echo, Mar. 2, 1888. 

Weekly Kern County Echo, Mar. 8, 1888. 
Shooting and Fishing, V, Mar. 28, 1889, 13. 

' Actual count— 7,000 in the corral, 7,000 dead outside. 

''Thegreat (J. .\. K. drive, which took place b(^t\veeri Kastoii and Oleander; the lar^estdrive on record. 
The Weekly Fresno Expositor of March 16, 1802, phices the number of rabbits killed at 25,000. 

3 Badly managed ; about 20,000 rabbits rounded up ; all but 2.000 escaped. 
••Two drives same day; 9,723 by actual count; about 4,000 ha 

lauled away before count began; 1,000 
taken alive for Merced coursinir match. 

'Mr. M. S. I'eatlierstone, of Goshen, stati-s that only 8,000 were killed by actual count. 

s_2,500 estimated to have been kiUed altogether. 

'500 estimateil to lia\e been killed outside the corral. 

^Private drive, covering 16 sections. 

'Thirteen private drives. About two-thirds of these rabbits were shipped to the .^an Francisco 

'"Returns for these drives vary. Messrs. Nelson & Bailey have circulated aclipping from the Kern 
County Echo with their iihotograph of the drive of March 4, 1888. which gives the following figures: 
J.inuary2, 2.500; .lannarv 8. 6,000; January 15,5,500; .lauuary 2:i. 2.000; January 30. 4.000; February 
5,5,000; FebrM:iry 9. ,'iOO;' February 12, 4,5(i0. February 19. 7,0(t0; February 23, 1,500; March 4, 2,000. 

"3,000. according to N E. White'in .Vmericaii Field, XXX, November 3,'l 888, 410-411. 

"Actual count, first drive, 5,500; second, 1,500. 



List of California Eabhit Drives — Contiuued. 



Kings County. 

Hanford (shotgun drive) Mar. 3, 1886 

Haiiford (Cross Creek) 'Mar. —,1888 

Hanford (Halfway to Traver) Apr. 22,1888 

Los Angeles County. 

Claremont Sept. 9, 1893 

Madera County. 

Berendo (Desmond Ranch) . 


Berendo (Miller Ranch). 

Berendo (Miller Ranch). 





John Brown Colony 





Madera (4 miles west) — 
Madera (5 miles south)... 
Madera (3 miles west) .... 


Madera (5 miles south) . . . 
Madera (3 miles west) — 

Merced County. 

Athlone (10 miles west) ; Spring, 1888 

Do | 

Athlone (16 miles south) do 

Hartley Ranch (near Beren- ; Mar. 16, 1895 
do, Madera County). 

Hartley Ranch ? 



Mar. or Apr., 

Jan. or Apr., 

1889. . 
Feb. or Mar., 


Feb. 24,1895 
Feb. 28,1895 
Mar. 9, 1895 

Spring, 1891 
Spring, 1892 
Mar. —,1893 
Apr. — , 1890 
Dec 30,1888 
Feb. — , 1889 
Mar. 14, 1889 
Apr. — , 1889 
May — , 1889 
Feb. 17,1895 


Feb. 8, 1895 
Apr. 4, 1893 
Apr. or May, 

Apr. 25, 1893 
1893 ? 
Apr. 4, 1894 
Mar. 24. 1888 
ilar. 28, 1S88 
Apr. 4, 1888 
Apr. 16,1888 
Mar. 12, 1889 

Modoc County. 
Cedarvillo (3-12 miles south) . 

Cedarville (7 miles north) 

Lake City 




Lake City (2 drives) 

Lake City 



Likely (several drives) 

Tulare County."^ 

Alila Sept. ^^^, 1888 

Do ' Sep! . 22, 1 888 

Goshen 1888 

Do j Apr. 11, 1888 

Do Jan. 20,1889 

Do Feb. 15,1889 

Do Mar. — , 1889 

J une-July, 

Dec. 20,1894 
Jan. 5,1893 
Jan. 15,1893 
Jan. 20,1893 
Jan. 25, 1893 
Feb. — , 1893 
Dec. 30, 1894 
Jan. 5, 1895 
Jan. 20, 1895 


3, OOOji 
' 4, 569 








1, 500-1, 600 



1, 400-1, 500 






1, 500 







2, 000 
2, 800 



3, 000 



1, 200 

* 2, 500 


George "W. Stewart, editor Visalia Delta. 

"Weekly Visalia Delta, Mar. 29, 1888. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Apr. 26, 1888. 

Pomona Times, Sept. 13, 1893. 

H. D. Crow, Berendo. 

John J. Purkner, Madera. 

H. D. Crow, Berendo. 

H.D.Crow and Miss L. K. Gozzoli, Berendo. 
J. F. Ward, Berendo. 


John J. Purkner, Madera. 

L. TT. Hoskins, Madera. 


John J. Purkner, Madera. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Jan. 10, 1889. 
John J. Purkner, Madera. 
J. F. Ward, Berendo. 
John J. Purkner, Madera. 



W. H. Bowden, Athlone. 


J. F. Ward, Berendo. 

F. Crowell, Livingston. 

Diary of D. L. HefTner, Merced. 
F.- Crowell, Livingston. 
San Joaquin Valley Argus, Mar. 24, 1888. 
San Joaquin Valley Argus, Mar. 31, 1888, 
H. N. Wilson, Merced. " 
San Joaquin Valley Argus, Apr. 21, 1888, 
San Joaquin Valley Argus, Mar. 16, 1889. 

T. H. Johnston, Cedarville, 


S. O. Cressler, Lake City. 







AVm. J. Dorris, Likely. 

Delano Courier, Sept. 21, 1888. 

Di'hino Oourier, Sept. 22. 1888 (aiiiw)uiiced). 

Shooting and Fishins, V, No. 13, Jan. 24, 

18S9, p. 10. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Apr. 12, 1888. 
Tulan^ Register, Feb. 1, 1889. 
M. S. Featlierstone, Goshen. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Mar. 21, 1889. 

' 3,969 in the corral, and 600 estimated to have been killed outside, all <in one section of land. 
''Mr, D, K, Zumwalt, of Visalia, has kimlly fiirni.shed tlie statistics fur 16 drives in tliis county, .and 
several in Fresno, Kern, and Kings counties. 
3 About 200 more were killed outside ; a second drive was made later, but the figures were not given. 
* 2,390 actually driven into the corral; the others killed outside. 



List of California Rabbit Drives — Coutinued. 


Tulare County — Continued. 



Oakdalo ('J miles south) , 

Pixie V 




Pixley (12 miles south) 

rixlev ■ 



rixlcy (other drives'") 

Piano (18 miles west) 



Tiptou (Lake View school) . . 


Tokay (5 miles south Tulare) . 


Travcr(Settlers ditch, south- 
west of town). 




Traver (10 miles southwest) . . 


Tularo (Mitchell Ptanch, 6 

miles west). 
Tularo (Birch Kanch, 7 miles 

Tulare (7 miles south) 



Tulare (6 miles east) 


Tulare (Parkwood, 7 miles 

Tulare , 



Tulare (lilitchell Ranch, 6 
miles west). 


Visalia (north of town) 

Vi8alia( ?) (McCann Kauch) . . 



[ Do 



Apr. 9. 
Mar. 18, 
Mar. 24, 
Nov. 14, 
Dec. 3, 
June 1, 
May — , 
Aug. 20, 
Nov. (7.0 
Dec. 14, 












Jan. 20, 189.5 
Jan. 27, 189,') 
Jan. 28, 1888 
May 18, 1889 
Mar. 10, 1888 
Feb. 25, 1890 
Apr. 7, 1888« 

Feb. 2G. 1889 
Mar. 8, 1889 
At)r.— , 1891 


Mar. 6, 1892fi 
Apr. 8,1892 

Feb. - Apr., 

Apr. 8,1893 
Feb. 25, 1894 
Mar. 4,1894 
Apr. 7, 1894 
Mar. 31,1895 
Apr. 8,1895 
Feb. 11,1888 

Feb. 15,1888? 

Feb. 20, 1888 
Feb. 24, 1888 
Mar. 2,1888 
Mar. 4,1888 
Mar. 9,1888 
Mar. 24, 1888 

Feb. 9,1889 
Feb. 25, 1889 
Mar. 30, 1889 
Feb. — , 1890 

Mar. 16, 1888 
Mar. 18, 1888 
Apr. 14, 1888 
Feb. 11,1888 
Feb. 2, 1889 
June 11, 1894 
June 30, 1894 
Nov. IG, 1894 



' 2, 200 


s 2, 000 



8, 000-10, 000 





3, 000-4. 000 







12, 000 


2, 000 


2, 000 







3, 300 

1, 400 


5, 000 

1, 067 





Weekly Visalia Delta, Apr. 26, 1888. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Mar. 29, 1888. 

Tulare Register, Nov. 18, 1887. 
Tulare Kei^ister, Dec. 9, 1887, 
Samuel Shilling, Pixley. 
John W. Harper, Pixley. 
Samuel Shilling, Pixley. 
John W. Harper, Pixley. 
Maj. C.J. Berry, Visalia. 
John W. Harper, Pixley; G. J. Martin, 

Poplar— 290. 
John W. Hari)or, Pixley. 
William Thoniscpii, Piano. 
G.J. Martin, Poplar. 

W.J.Browning, Tipton. 
Tularo Register, May 24, 1889. 
Tulare Register, Mar. 16, 1888. 
M. S. Featlierstone, Goshen. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Apr. 12, 1888. 

Fresno Daily Republican, Mar. 2, 1889. 
Fresno Daily Rei)ublicau, Mar. 10, 1889. 
Henrv Lahann, Traver. 

Los Angeles Times, IMar. 7, 1892. 
C. S. Greene, Overland Monthly, 2d ser., 

SX, July, 1892, pp. 49-58. 
4 drives,' Henry Lahann, Traver. 

Henry Lahann, Traver. 


Visalia( Tulare County) Times, Apr. 12, 1894. 
S. S. Cederberg, llanford. 
Henry Lahann, Traver. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Feb. 16, 1888. 

Photograph from D. K. Zumwalt, Visalia. 

Tulare Register, Feb. 24, 1888. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Mar. 1, 1888. 
Tularo Register, Mar. 2, 1888. 
Tulare Register, Mar. 9, 1888. 
Tulare Register, Mar. 16, 1888. 
Tulare Register, Mar. 30, 1888. 

Tul.ire Register, Feb. 10, 1889. 
Tulare Register, Feb. 28, 1889. 
Tulare Register, Apr. 5, 1889. 
M. S. Featherstone, Gosheu. 

Weekly Visalia Delta, Mar. 29, 1888. 

Weekly Visalia Delta, Apr. 19, 1888. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Feb. 16, 1888. 
Weekly Visalia Delta, Feb. 7, 1889. 
W. F. Glass, Waukena. 



• 300-400 more probably killed before reaching the corral. 
' Another drive announced for March 29, 1888. 

' First jiublic drive in California. 

* Several small shotgun drives took place about 1882 and 1883.— J. Ellis McLellan. 
» Another drive announced for April 15, IS.'^S. 

" Third di-ivo of the season. Another was planned for^farch 13. 1892, but no repin-t has been received. 
' Six drives in all took plac(> during February, Manli. and .Vpril. in which 20,000 were killed. 
' About 1,000 more estimated to have escaped. Anollier drive planned for March 18. 


Altliougli it is practically impossible to give all the rabbit drives 
which have occurred in California during- the last eight years, still this 
list of 155 drives, including the more important ones during the twenty 
years from 1875 to 1895, should be sufficient to show the progress of 



rabbit (biviiig and the effect of this means of extermiuatiou. The gen- 
eral results may be tabulated as follows : 

Summarij of California liabbit Drives. 

Number of drives. 

Rabbits killed .... 

Average n u m b e r 

jier drive 





* 1890. 




32, 010 





158, 492 

M, 963 


14, 500 

65, 060 









2, 134 , 




370, 195 


* Returns incomplete; 4 drives reported but figures given for only 1. 

An examination of tliese figures shows that in the total of 155 drives 
370,195 rabbits were killed, or an average of nearly 2,400 in each drive. 
Eeturns for years jDrevious to 1888 have been received for only 4 drives 
in which 8,200 rabbits were killed, but during the si)ring of 1888 the 
number of drives suddenly increased to 55, and then, as the novelty wore 
off or the rabbits became scarcer, decreased to 7. During the same 
period the number of rabbits slaughtered decreased from nearly 100,000 
in 1888 to 14,500 in 1891. In 1892 there were a few more drives and a 
decided increase in the slaughter of rabbits, due to the large drives in 
Fresno County. The total of 65,000 rabbits was second only to that of 
the season of 1888, but in the last three years there has been a decided 
falling off in the totals. The apparent increase in the number of drives 
in 1893 and 1894 is due in part to the small hunts in Modoc County, but 
the number in the San Joaquin Valley has continued to decline regularly 
until 1895, when only 12 small drives were reported. 

The largest number of rabbits killed in any single drive is said to 
have been 20,000, but the average of all the drives for any one year has 
varied from 5,400 down to 930 the past season. By far the greater 
number have been killed in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley 
in a strip about 170 miles in length and 30 miles in width. If the small 
drives in the northern part of the State and the single one in Los 
Angeles County are omitted, as well as the two early shotgun drives, 
the result is reduced to about 356,400 rabbits killed in 140 drives during 
eight years, or an average annual slaughter of about 44,500 rabbits in 
an area scarcely as large as the States of Connecticut and Ehode Island 
combined. Tlie success of the drives is evident from the small number 
of rabbits killed during the last three years. This result, at least in 
Fresno County, is probably due in i)art to the appearance of an epidemic 
among the jack rabbits soon after the large drives of 1892. One cor- 
respondent writes from Selma : '' Just as it had been found possible to 
control their presence in the more thickly settled part [of Fresno 
County] an epidemic appeared among them and they died by hundreds 
and by thousands. * * * Since then we have kept a few dogs and 
the wire screen fences have been gradually taken down, and now very 
few rabbits are to be found among the vines." 



Whether the present diininution in uumbers is only temporary re- 
mains to be seen, but this section of California is now being settled so 
fast that it seems hardly possible for the rabbits to increase to their 
former abundance under all the forms of destruction which can be used 
against them. The case is instructive in showing the combined effect 
of natural and other means of extermination. If rabbits could be sys- 
tematically destroyed just after their luimbers had been reduced by an 
epidemic, they would receive a setback from which they would not soon 

The decline of rabbit driving is hardly to be deplored. In the San 
Joaquin Valley a drive was made the occasion of a general holiday; the 
schools were closed and women and (children joined the throng to assist 
in clubbing the rabbits or to watch the slaughter. It may be ques- 
tioned whether such frequent scenes of butchery can have anything 
but an injurious effect on a community, and it is fortunate that the 
necessity for them does not now exist. 


In Oregon the California method of destroying rabbits by drives has 
been recently introduced. Throughout the region east of the Cascades 
the black-tailed Texan Jack Rabbit {Lejms texianus) is very abundant 
and has become so troublesome in Lake County that $2,160 was ex- 
pended for its destruction during the years ISSS, 1889, and 1890, 
More than a dozen drives w^ere made in December 1894, and January 
1895, in the vicinity of Lakeview, In one of these, which took place 
on January G, 1,975 rabbits were killed, Avhile the total number slaugh- 
tered during the two months amounted to 12,202, Several drives, 
resulting in the destruction of ;>,000 to 4,000 rabbits, have occurred 
during the winter of 1895-9(), l)ut in the absence of any detailed report 
they have not been included in the following table. 

Partial JAst of Rabbit Drives in Oregon. 





Lake County. 

Dec. 18, 1894 
Dec. 20, 1894 
Dee. 22, 1894 
Dec. 24. 1894 





C.U. Snider, Lakeview 






Dec. 27, 1894 




Dec. 30, 1894 




Jan. 3, 1895 




Jan. 6,189r. 

1, 975 



Jau. 10,1895 




Jan. 17, 1895 




Jan. 20,1895 




Jan. 24, 1895 




Otlior drives 



Total n2 drives) 

12, 202 





It may be of iuterest to consider the methods of destruction which 
have been used in other States. Two of the jack rabbits which occur 
in CaHfornia {Lepus texianus and L. campesfris) are common also in 
Utah, Idaho, and Colorado, and in some sections are excessively abun- 
dant. An entirely different method of extermination, however, is prac- 
ticed from that adopted in California. Large numbers are killed with 
shotguns in regularly organized hunts, but rabbit drives, properly 
speaking, are now rarely made, except in Idaho. 


According to Mr. M, Eichards, jr., of Parowan, Utah, the club was 
formerly used in some of the rabbit hunts on the brush lands bordering 
Little Salt Lake, and as many as 2,000 rabbits have been killed iij a 
drive, but this method has now been abandoned and shooting has been 
adopted instead. 

Eabbit hunts have taken place since the earliest settlement of the 
State — nearly half a century ago — but when they were first held by 
the Indians is unknown. The Piutes, Coshutes, and Pahvan Indians 
were accustomed to resort to a large valley near Cedar City during the 
month of Kovember, for the i)urpose of having a grand hunt, and thou- 
sands of rabbits were annually slaughtered.' Strangely enough, the 
first hunt among the whites of which we have any record probably 
occurred very near this place, and was participated in by a party of 
emigrants on their way from Salt Lake City to California in 1840. It 
was a portion of the same company which soon after experienced such 
hardships on the desert, and on account of whose sufferings the now 
celebrated Death Valley in California received its name. This early 
rabbit hunt probably took place in the month of October, 1849, some- 
where in the region north of Little Salt Lake, either in Iron or Beaver 
County. Mr. W. L. Manly.^ one of the members of the party, describes 
the hunt as follows : 

"We came into a long, narrow valley well covered with sage brush, 
and before we liad gone very far we discovered that this was a great 
place for long-eared rabbits — we would call them jack rabbits now. 
Ev^eryone who had a gun put it into service on this occasion, and there 
was much jiopping and shooting on every side. Great clouds of smoke 
rolled up as the hunters advanced, and the rabbits ran in every direc- 
tion to get away. Many ran right among the horses, and under the 
feet of the cattle and under the wagons, so that tlie teamsters even 
killed some with a Avhij). At the end of the valley we went into camp, 
and on counting u]) the game found we had over 500, or about one for 
every person in camp." 

1 Coues & Yarrow, Kept. Geog. Surv. W. 100th Merid., V, Zool., 1875, p. 127. 

2 Death Valley in '49, 1894, pp. 110-111. 



Mr. James L, Bniitiiijif, of Kaiiab, writes that betweeu 1858 and 
1870 rabbits were very abundant on the land betweeu the Jordan 
Kiver aud Great Salt Lake. In November and December hunters 
wouhl go out almost daily in parties of from four to six each, and ou 
some occasions as many as ."iOO rabbits were killed in a single day. 

The hunts usually take place in the winter or early spring- when the 
snow is on the ground, and are thus described by W. G. isowers in a 
letter dated February, 1887. He says : 

"Our mode of destroying these pests is to select two cai)tains, who 
choose their associates from the community, aud form two attacking 
parties, who ride or go with firearms, dogs, clubs, and so ou, and lay 
siege to every rabbit caught sight of. In some instances the slaughter 
has amounted to nearly 1,000 for each side. These raids are waged ou 
every favorable opportunity — after a snowstorm, or monthly, if no snow 
falls, as has been the case this winter. " 

Eabbit hunts have occurred in a number of i)laces in southwestern 
Utah, but are less common in the northern part of the State. One, how- 
ever, took place near Corinne during the summer of 1804. According 
to Prof. Marcus E. Jones, as many as a dozen or fifteen hunts have 
occurred annually during recent years. One of the largest is described 
by Mr. Vernon Bailey as having taken place near Panguitch, Garfield 
County, in 1885. Tt lasted three days, and some 80 men and boys took 
part, killing more than 5,000 rabbits within a few miles of tlie town. 
As will be seen from the following table, the recent Utah hunts are 
small in comparison with those in Colorado or the California drives. 

Vurtial List of Jiabbit Ilunis in Utah. 





Beaver County. 

Dec., 1886 

5 000 

Orson Aired, Beaver. 




300 400 


Feb., 1895 



July. 1887 


Dec., 1887, or Jan., 


Summer 1894 


Jioxelder County . t 

Editor Bugler. Br»ghani City. 


5 522 

Garfield County. 


David W. Montague, Panguitch. 

W. L. Manlv, 'Death Valley in 49 ', 110. 

Will f TTio-trino r'uH.ii- r'it-.r 

Iron County.\ 

Near Littl." Salt Lake ? 

Cedar CI tv 

Oct. (?), 1849 

Feb. 24,1894- 

Dec.21, 1893 

Feb. 11-14, 1895.... 

Spring 1875 

Spring 1885 

Jan 18 18')4 



172 ""ij--"'— — •'• 



169 ( Iron County Record Feb. 8, 1S95. 

600 Iron County Record Feb. 15, 1895. 
2,000 M.Richard's, jr., Parowau. (Drive). 
1 800 Do 




70fi Will O VTifrrri-na r'o.ToT- I'^itT- 


Jan 31 1894 337 Do " 


Jan. 20-26, 1895 ; 1, 290 i Iran County Kecord Feb. 1, 1895. 

*Measrs. Dotson &. Son report that 21,000-22,000 rahbit.s were killed in two months in 1887 and l.<88. 

t A number of liunts sceui to have ociurred near I'.riuliaiii ("ity and elsewhere, whicli are necessarily 
omitted hero in the absence of suthcieut data. The county \>aid bounties ou 12,758 rabbits duriui; the 
years 1893, 1894. and 18',I5— see p. 43. 

;Mr. M. Riihards, jr., of Parowan gives 9,000 as the probable number of rabbits killed in thia 
county during 1894. 



Partial lists of Babbit Hunts in Utah — Contiuued. 



Millard County. 

Corn Creek i Mar. 27, 1894 

Kanosh ' Jan.—, 1893 

Do I Jan. (19?), 1894... 

Sanpete County. \ 

Mount rieasant \ Dec.30,1894 to Jan. 

12, 1895. 
Wayne County. 

Loa ' Dec. 14, 1894 

Central Utah , Dec. 3, 1893 , 

Do Nov.29,1894 

Do Dec. 8, 1894 

Total (26 hunts) 




Marcus E. Jones, Salt Lake City. 
Jiiniea A. George, Kanosh. 

1,000 Several hunts. Postmaster. 





John T. Lazenby, Loa. 

John L. May, Salt Lake City. 


A few large bunts have recently occurred in southern Idaho, but 
greater success has attended the introduction of the rabbit drive. A 
novel method is sometimes employed in Fremont County, the rabbits 
being baited by spreading a line of hay on the snow or on the ground, 
and after they are ' lined up ' several can be killed at a single shot. 

Mr. T. T. Eutledge, assistant director of the experiment station at 
Nampa, Canyon County, reports that a small hunt took place about 
September 1894, near that place, but the number killed is unknown. 
In the winter of 1894-95 about 2,600 jack rabbits were killed near Idaho 
Falls, Bingham County, and shipped to Eustice, Nebr., along with grain 
and provisions for distribution among the drought sufferers in that 
State. Another smaller hunt also occurred at Idaho Falls later on. 

While these pages are passing through the press, reports have been 
received indicating that rabbit driving is being successfully carried 
on in the southern part of the State. At Marion, Cassia County, about 
5,000 rabbits were killed in a drive on December 9, 1895. It was esti- 
mated that 500 people were present and that an area of country less 
than 3 miles square was driven over; 4,000 more rabbits were killed at 
the same place during the following week. 

Farther east two smaller drives were held at INIarket Lake, Fremont 
County. In this case no corrals were built, the rabbits being simply 
driven into the railroad stock yards and afterwards shipped to Salt 
Lake City for distribution among the poor. The following list has been 
brought down to date as far as possible and includes five drives which 
occurred early in January, 189(5: 

Partial List of Idaho Habbit Brieves and Hunts. 


Idaho Falls. 

Binghain County. 


Canyon County. 


Winter 1894- 


Sept.— ,1894 


2, 600 


A. V. Scott, Idaho Falls. 

T. T. Ilutlcdgo, Nampa. 



Partial List of Idaho llahhit Drives and Runts — Continued. 





Cassia County. 

Dec. 7,1895 
Dec. 9, 1895 
Dec. 14,1895 
Dec. 31,1895 
Jan. 3, 189(i 
Jau. 4, 1896 

Feb. 1, 1895 
Feb. 7, 1895 
Feb. 14,1895 
Feb, 20,1895 
Jiju. 9, 1890 
Dec. 30,1895 
Jan. 4, lH9(i 
Winter 1894- 

Jan." 11,1896 

2, 000 










C. A. Tolman, Marion. 











Grant t 

Fremont County. 

Eli McEntire, Grant. 







Tjftwisvillf* . . . ................ 

Ed ElLswordi, Lewisville. 





E. P. Coltnian, Idaho Falls. 

Do * 

Ed Ellsworth, Lewisville. 

* Drives. 

t Hunts hiive been reported from I^ewisville for February 14 and 26 (?), 1895. which are probably the 
same as those given in this list. Graut, Lfwi.svillc, and Kigby are all witliiu a lew miles of one 
another; the same hunt may be rei)orted Irom dillerenl places .ind thus lead to confiisiou, particularly 
if no dates are giveu. 


During tbe last three years a scries of rabbit hunts have taken 
place in eastern Colorado, resulting in the destruction of nearly 20,000 
rabbits. As is the case with the hunts in Utah, no inclosures are built 
and shotguns are the only weapons used. The hunters are usually dis- 
tributed over the ranches iu the neighborhood and hunt singly or in 
small parties. The success of these hunts has led to the celebration 
each winter of a ' Eabbit Day,' which is set apart for the destruction 
of the pests. In reply to an inquiry concerning the origin of the cus- 
tom at Lamar, Mr. J . T. Lawless, (editor of the Lamar Sparks, wrote on 
March 4, 1895: 

This portion of Colorado was first settled in 1886, and in 1889 farming l)y irrigation 
was begun on an extensive scale. Tbe territory nnder dii;cb is abont 18 miles wide. 
North and south of this striji of irrigated land there is little vegetation, and the land 
is valuable chielly as a stock range. After the first year of farming by irrigation, 
rabbits increased rapidly, and the farmers were greatly annoj^ed. The rabbits came 
from the rainbelt region for miles around and made their headquarters in the alfalfa 
and grain fields and the growing orchards of Prowers County. * * * The great 
increase in the number of rabbits caused much concern, and linally a big hunt was 
arranged to reduce their numbers. This hunt was confined to people of Lamar and 
the county. About fifty-five men ])articipated, and thoy killed over 1,201) rabbits in 
one day. The ftdlowiug winter another liutit was arranged on similar lines, and the 
same number of men lirought in about 2,000 rabbits. This hunt was followed by the 
first annual hunt, in which gitnners from all parts of the State participated. That 
was the inauguration of Rabbit Day. Over 1,000 rabbits wore killed, and these were 
drawn and shipped to Denv(>r and Pueblo for distribution among the poor, to whom 
the meat was very acceptable. 

One of the largest and most successful hunts was that of December 
22, 189-4, in which 101 gunners took ])art and secured 5,142 rabbits as 
the result of a day and a half of steady work (see Plate VI). When 
dressed, these jack rabbits usually average about 6A pounds each, and 



it was estimated tLat tlie game obtained in this hunt weighed nearly 5 
tons. The annual hunt on December 19-20, 1895, was less successful, 
owing to a severe storm and deep snow; only about 1,600 rabbits were 

A unique feature of the Colorado hunts is the disposition of the game, 
which is distributed among the poor of Denver and Pueblo. The rab- 
bits are transported free of charge by the railroads and distributed 
mainly under the direction of Rev. Thos. A. Uzzell, of Denver. This 
charitable work was begun about four years ago, and 250 jack rabbits 
were received the first winter; last season 4,500 were distributed in 
Denver alone, and it is said that over 5,000 have been given away each 
season for the last three years. In fact the success of the hunts at 
Lamar in December, 1893, January and December, 1894, was largely 
due to the efforts of Rev. Thos. A. Uzzell, who arranged for the ship- 
ment and distribution of the rabbits. 

List of Colorado llahhit Hants.'^ 


Brnsh, Morgan County., 
Lamar, Prower.s County 

Do '. 






Dec. 28,1894 
Jan. 6,1893 
Der, 22,1893 
i Jan. —,1894 
Jan. 12-13, 

Nov. 25-26, 

Do Dec. 22.1894 

Do Dec. 19-20, 

I 1895. 

Las Animas, Bent County Feb. 22, 1893 

Do Feb. 22, 1894 

Do Feb. 6-7, 1895 

Total (11 hunts) 





A uthority. 

28, 666 

Lamar Sparks, Jan. 3, 1895. 
A. Van Deusen, Lamar. 





Lamar Sparks, Dec. 26, 1895. 

M. U. McCauley, Las Animas. 

Jacob Weil and M. K. McCauley. 

* For descriptions of the liunts of Decemlier, 1893, and January, 1894, see Shooting and Fisliing, Vol. 
XV, Jauuary 4, 1894, p. 221, February 1. 1894, p. 303, and American Field, Vol. XLI, March 10, 1894, 
p. 222. For annual bunt of Doc. 19-20, 1895, see Shooting and Fishing, Vol. XIX. Jan. 2, 1896, p. 225. 


A comparison of the foregoing tables will show that California has 
accomi)lished much more in the way of rabbit destruction than Colo- 
rado, Idaho, Oregon, or Utah, notwithstanding the fact that hunts have 
been held in Utah for nearly half a century. Rabbit driving is now on 
the decline in California, but the number of hunts is rapidly increas- 
ing in the other States. The results may be tabulated as follows : 

General Summary of 220 Jack Rabhit Drives and Hunts in the West. 







J^wmhPiY drives 


370, 195 


20, 000 


12, 202 



J 26 

37, 215 



+ 16 





28, 666 

2, 606 

6, 500 


Total number rabbits killed 

470, 107 

Ijarffp.^t drive.s 

* Drives. 

t Hunts. 

} Both drives and hunts. 



The question may well be asked whether the jack rabbit has any 
value or can be utilized in any way. In 1800 the Eoyal Commission of 
New South Wales sugg^ested that '' rabbits may be used for food, either 
fresh, frozen, canned, jerked, or as soup; for their skins and fur in the 
manufacture of gloves and felt; for extracting glue and oil; and for 
reduction to manure.'" Xevertheless they discouraged the principle 
of commercial utilization on the ground that it would lead to the pres- 
ervation of the rabbits instead of their destruction. But after many 
experiments with poisons, diseases, traps, and other methods of destruc- 
tion, and an outlay of millions of dollars for fences, this very method 
has recently been advocated as the most promising, by the Hon. J. H. 
Carrnthers, Minister for Lands in New South Wales. In his opening' 
address to the rabbit conference, held at Sydney on April 2, 1895, he 
said : 

One feature of the rabbit question has not, it is thonglit, received sufilicient atten- 
tion at the hands of the snfferers in this eolony, and that is the coraniercial utilization 
of the aninniL In the past suggestions of tliis character have met with condeni- 
nntiou on the ground tliat it wonhl lead to the conservation of the rabbit, but if 
would ai)p<'ar that tlie lime for such argninent has disappeared. Experience in tlie 
past leads to the belief that the rabbit is a fixture, and there should be no reason 
why persons resident in localities suitable for the purpose should not seriously con- 
sider why the animal should not be nuide to contribute to the cost of its own 
destruction. It is, of course, apparent that operations of this character would only 
be possible over a limited area of the infested country; but with the easy means of 
reaching foreign markets, it is worthy of consideration whether the carcass of the 
rabbit may not be used as an article of food, either frozen or canned, and whether the 
skins and fur may not be profitably applied in the manufacture of gloves and felf.-' 

In this country, however, the larger hares have been used in only a 
few of the ways suggested by the Royal Commission of New South 
Wales, viz, (1) for sport, especially in coursing, (2) for their skins, and 
(3) for food. 

The pursuit of the jack rabbit furnishes excellent sport with the 
shotgun or rifle as well as to the mounted rider eager for a trial of 
speed with hounds. It is often a difficult matter to get a shot if the 
rabbit ha])pens to be somewhat wary, but on the other hand, if the 
game is abundant and not too shy, large numbers may be readily killed. 

' Final Rept. Royal Com. Inquiry Exterm. Rabbits, Australasia, 1890. p. 4. 
-Rept. Proceedings Conference Rabbit Pest, New South Wales. Sydnev. 1895, v. 7. 
8(>15— No. 8 5 ' 65 ' 


In one of the large Colorado hunts, which are conducted mainly for 
sport, two men shooting together at Lamar, in December 1894, secured 
412 rabbits in two days. For the rifle, a jack rabbit on the run makes 
a fine target, and one requiring skill and steadiness to hit. Hunting on 
horseback with shotguns is considered much more exciting than on 
foot and requires considerable skill in riding as well as in shooting. 
Hunting the jack rabbit with hounds, however, is a form of sport which 
seems to be increasing in popular favor, notwithstanding the fact that 
it is considered cruel by some. 


The adaptability of the large hares for coursing has long been recog- 
nized. They are certainly superior in speed to any of the smaller 
rabbits, but whether they are better than the Old World Hare is still 
an open question. Thus far the evidence seems to be in favor of the 
jack. Says Van Dyke^ in speaking of coursing in California: 

A dasli after the liare on a good horse and behind good dogs is one of the most 
charming of outings. The horse enjoys the sport as well as the dogs do, and tries 
his best to outrun the procession. The ground flies beneath you, the surrounding 
mountains swim in a haze, the whole amphitheater seems to turn around while 
you are standing still. Vainly the hare twists and sends the dogs spinning ahead 
in confusion, while he scuds away on his new tack without the loss of an instant, 
so far as you can see. All ordinary dogs fall out of the race. Even the wirj' and 
swift coyote, though he loves hare more than anything else, rarely if ever feels 
hungry enough for a stern chase. Biit if the greyhounds are good and tbe brush 
not too near, the hare's doubling only postpones his end, however untiring his foot, 
or fre(i[uent his twists. Vainly he lays his ears flatter upon his neck and lets out 
another link of his reserved speed. Before he has made many turns he is caught — 
perhaps in mid-air — and the dogs and hare go rolling over in a heap together. 

Coursing began in California in the early sixties, and has since been 
carried on with more or less spirit by various clubs. About twenty 
years ago the old Los Angeles Coursing Club used to follow the jack 
rabbits with greyhounds on the mesa near Pasadena, and women as 
well as men took part in the sport.^ In 1872 the Pioneer Coursing 
Club of San Francisco held the first of a series of meetings at Merced. 
Since 1890 the meetings of the Interstate Coursing Club have been held 
at this jjlace, wliich has become one of the principal coursing centers 
on the Pacific Coast. Other meetings have been held at Newark, Sau 
Francisco, and near Los Angeles. 

The American Coursing Club was the first club east of the Kocky 
Mountains to use jack rabbits, and in October, 1880, inaugurated a 
series of annual meetings which were continued up to 1892 on the 
Cheyenne bottoms, near Great Bend, Kans. In 1894 and 1895 the club 
met at Huron, S. Dak. The National Coursing Association, of Hutch- 
inson, Kans., was organized in 1888, with a capital stock of $50,000, and 

iThe Land of Sunshine, Los Angeles, Cal., Ill, Aug. 1895, pp. 116-117. 
2 Forest and Stream, XXVIII, Jan. 27, 1887, p. 3. 


flonrisliod for two or three years. Its object was to develop coursing 
in the United states, by breeding- rabbits on their own soil and 
shipping them to various parts of the country in order that meetings 
niiglit be held in the large cities and a more general interest aroused.' 
The association had 320 acres at Hutchinson inclosed with a wire mesh 
fence, and imported Jack rabbits from California, New Mexico, and 
Wyoming and turned them loose iii this park where in a few months 
a large number were collected. 'Inclosed coursing,' i. e. running the 
rabbits in an inclosure instead of on the open plain, was introduced at 
the meeting, held on October 23, 1888. A track half a mile long and 75 
yards wide was arranged inside the park. The rabbits were started at 
one end of the track and at the other were allowed to escape from the 
hounds, through snuill openings, into a pen, where they were caught 
for use in another race.'- The National Coursing Association held 
meetings in 1889 at St. Louis, Mo., and Louisville, Ky., and fifty Jack 
rabbits were sliipi)ed fiom the park at Hutchinson to be used in the 
latter meeting. In 181)0 it held a series of meetings at St. Louis, Kan- 
sas City, and St. Joseph, Mo.; Colorado Springs and Denver, Colo.; 
Omaha and Lincoln, Nebr., and Council Bluff's, Iowa. 

Coursing has received a wonderful impetus in the West during the 
last ten years largely through the work of these two clubs, the Inter- 
state Coursing Club of Merced, Cal., and the Occidental Club of 
.Newark, Cal. Since 1890 numerous local clubs have been organized in 
Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and 
southern California, and no small number of rabbits are required 
annually for these meetings. 

The demand for rabbits for this sport seems to have been largely 
instrumental in bringing about the rabbit drives in California, and as 
many as a thousand or more have been obtained in one of the large 
drives. Nearly all the rabbits for coursing in this State come from 
the San Joaquin Valley. Some of them are caught near Goshen, where 
they are shipped in coops, containing 21 single stalls arranged in two 
rows. From 50 to 100 are sometimes required for a single meeting, and 
the wholesale inice varies from $5.50 to $9 per dozen. 

At Wichita, Kans., and Merced, Cal., several persons regularly trap 
rabbits for coursing. At Wichita, Mr. Chas. Payne captures jack rab- 
bits by means of a net about a mile in length, made of common cotton 
seine twine, which is stretched straight across a lield. On one side are 
attached short nets at an angle with the main net, forming a number of 
Vs. The rabbits are driven toward the trap by (> to 10 men on horse- 
back, and 10 to 20 rabbits are considered a good catch for one day. 
Shipping boxes are so arranged that each animal is in a separate com- 
partment, and the largest hold about a dozen rabbits. Some of these 

I Am. Field, XXX, Nov. 24, 1888, p. 504. 

^See illustrated .article ou ''Jack Rabbits and Inclosed Coursing," by M. E. 
Aljjsou^ ji^ Am. Field, XXXIII, Apr. 26, 1890, pp. 395-396. 


jack rabbits bring $2 apiece, and they have been shipped to various 
jioints in the United States and Canada, and even to England. Last 
winter (1804:-9r)), between UOO and 300 were furnished to the St. Louis 
Coursing Asvsociation alone. 


Kabbit skins are used in greater quantities than those of any other 
animals except the true fur-bearing mammals. At present skins of 
jack rabbits have little commercial value, and no attempt appears to 
be made to utilize them on a large scale. It seems strange that where 
the animals are slaughtered in such numbers the skins are not made 
to yield a fair profit, as is done with those of other species. Their use 
for fur seems to be restricted mainly to the Indians. 

The Piutes and other tribes of the Great Basin formerly relied to a 
considerable extent on the rabbit for furnishing their scanty snpi)ly of 
clothing, and in Idaho, Xevada, and Utah killed large numbers of 
jack rabbits for this purpose. 

Says Bancroft in speaking of the Indians of this region: "On the 
barren plains of Nevada, where theie is no large game, the rabbit fur- 
nishes the only clothing. The skins are sewn together in the form of a 
cloak, which is thrown over the shoulders, or tied about the body with 
thongs of the same. In warm weather, or- when they can not obtain 
rabbit skins, men, women, and children are, for the most part, in a state 
of nudity." (isative Eaces of the Pacific States, I, 1874, pp. 423-424.) 

Mr. Vernon Bailey, chief field naturalist of the division, who has 
traveled extensively in this region and seen the robes in use among 
the Indians, has kindly contributed the following notes: 

A <roocl robe serves an ludiau both for clothing antl for betiding. It is exceed- 
ingly light, soft, and warm, and is easily carried in a small roll on the horse or in 
the pack when not in nse. A Pinte with an old shirt, a pair of breeches, moccasins, 
and one of these robes is well equipped for traveling, even in cold weather. In the 
wickiup the robe is thrown down and serves as a seat during the day and for a bed 
at night. 

Robes of jack rabbit skins are common articles of clothing among the Plate and 
Mohave Indians. I have seen them among the Pyramid Lake Indians, the Piutes in 
Reese River Valley, Nevada, and the Mohaves at Fort Mohave, Ariz. They are usually 
6 or 7 feet s(iuare, large enough to wrap around the body and entirely cover the 
person. They are made of twisted strips of jack rabbit skins laid parallel close 
together and fastened at short intervals witli strings. The skins, apparently, are 
not tanned, but the robes are as soft and i)liable as a blanket, and by twisting the 
strips the fur is thrown on both sides. Tlicsc robes are generally valued at $6 to $8> 
but the Indians seem reluctant to ])art with them. One old Mohave upon being 
asked to sell his robe, refused, saying: " Me no make 'em. Hualapai make 'em, me 
buy 'em." 

Jack rabbits were doubtless used also by the Indians of California, 
although to a less extent. The Miwok, a tribe whose territorry 
extended from the crest of the Sierra Nevada to the San Joaquin 
Kiver, an<l from the Cosnmnes to the Fresno in a part of the Sau Joa- 


quin Valley where the jack rabbit is now extremely abundant, used 
rabbit skins for making- robes. They cut the skins into narrow strips, 
and after drying them in the sun, laid them close together and made a 
rude warp, by tying or sewing strings across at intervals of a few 

In order to show some of the uses to which jack ral)bit skins niiglit l)e 
put, it will be necessary to refer briefly to the general trade in rabbit 
skins and some of the ways in whicli the lower grades are utilized. 
The annual collection of English rabbit skins is about 30,000,000, and 
50,000 to 80,000 dozen (600,000 to 960,000) are imported from France and 
Belgium. These skins are dyed and sold for fur to be used for caps, 
boas, muffs, and trimmings of various kinds, and are used for felting, 
especially in the manufacture of hats. Skins for felting are cut oi)en, 
washed, and the long hairs pulled out with wooden knives; the fur is 
then cut off" by machinery, sorted, and blown by air. The fur from 
different parts of the body is separated and sold at different prices. 
The best Coney back wool used in the manufacture of felt hats brings 
from 5s. to 7s. 6d. per pound.- 

In the United States skins of native rabbits are used for fur, if at 
all, only for trimmings, as the hair is too brittle and they have very 
little underfur. Large numbers, however, are used for felt in the 
manufacture of hats. It is estimated by one of the leading furriers in 
New York that 1,500,000 native skins are collected annually in this 
country. In addition to these, rabbit skins are imported, not only 
from Great Britain and the continent of Europe, but even from Aus- 
tralia. Native skins are mainly those of the cottontail {Lepus sylrat- 
icus), and the supply is derived largely from Maryland, Virginia, and 
North Carolina. They are assorted into three grades, ♦ primes,' • sec- 
onds,' and 'culls.' Prime skins are those of full-grown animals with 
bright pelts; 'seconds,' of half grown animals; while the torn or imper- 
fect pelts are classed as 'culls.' The prices range from 1^ up to 4 
cents apiece, averaging during 1805 about If to 2 or 2| cents for the 
best skins. Imported skins are considered superior to those of "cot- 
tontails," averaging in value about 3i cents each, although the best 
French rabbit skins are worth 5 cents. One of the New York dealers 
reports that skins of the native hare, probably the Varying Hare 
{LepuH americanus), are worth 6 cents each, but that very few are 
received in a season. England, however, in 1891 received 36,286 skins 
of tlie American Varying Hare from the Hudson Bay Company, and 
50,000 from other traders. It may be stated liere that the Hudson 
Bay Company has been shipping rabbit skins to England tor more than 
one hundred years. Most of these are skins of Jjcpus <())ieric((nus, and 
according to Poland' the total number exported between 1788 and 1890 

'Powers. Tribes of Califonii;!. Cout. N. Am. Etlinolosiy. Vr)l. TIT, 1877. ji. S.'il. 
-Poland, Fm-l)t'iiriiig Aniinals, Loiuloii, 1892, p. 281 et secj. 
^Loc. cit., i)j). xxiii-xxvii, 276-277. 



was 3,333,933, or an average of 39,750 for the eiglity-four years for 
which statistics are available. 

Eabbit skius have formed a large item of export from Australasia, 
chiefly from the colonies of jSlew Zealand, Tasmania, and Victoria, for 
nearly twenty years. In Victoria the number exported increased nearly 
fifteenfold from 1876 to 1893, when it reached 10,374,154. Shipments 
from New Zealand were trebled between 1879 and 1893, reaching in 
the latter year over 17,000,000, valued at about £140,000 or nearly 
$700,000. The following table shows the number of skins exported 
from Australasia so far as figures are available: 

Export of Rabbit Skins from Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania.* 

New Zealand. 



S. Australia. 


Number of 


Number of 



Number of 





1 36, 716 
56, 504 
311, 632 
918, 236 
636, 409 
5, 384, 506 

7, 505, 616 

8, 514, 685 
9, 198, 837 

£1, 263 



4, 418 


33, 460 

46, 799 

66, 976 

84, 774 

88, 725 

TOO. 95,S 




724, 985 
700, 565 

1, 036, 372 

3, 309, 408 

4, 473, 108 
4, 929, 432 
4, 245, 596 
4, 963, 371 

910. 600 

2, 663, 314 

3, 967, 533 

4, 913, 351 
6, 359, 210 





21, 674 


37, 538 

30, 364 

37, 243 

23, 548 


16, 294 

20, 759 

12, 303 

25, 667 


3i; 905 

.55. 039 





. . . .... 




1, 735, 856 
1, 730, 628 

2, 872, 896 
1, 184, 862 

3, 241, 351 
3, 180, 104 
3, 590, 474 

£15, 699 
20, 367 
14, 537 
22, 572 
17, 555 
12, 661 
11, 369 
24, 362 
17, 097 



9, 807, 665 107. 514 


9, 168, 114 

8, 546, 254 

12, 743, 452 

11, 809, 407 

85, 754 

65, 694 


91 . 908 






1886 . .. 





S (T81 


11,342,778 ' 96,039 
12,543,293 111,880 
14. 302, 233 126, 251 
15,899,787 121,775 
17,041.106 138.9.52 


594 1 11 320 


613 9 ^39 





23,278 10.374.1.54 

10 973 


14, 267, 3i<5 

87, 993 

16, 194 




180, 037, 562 

1, 586, 723 

31, 912, 182 222, 562 68, 637, 990 408, 747 


68, 958 

Tlie importation of Australian rabbit skins in London, as shown by 
reports of sales, aggregated 8,210 bales in 1890-91, and from July, 
1894, to July, 1895, amounted to 13,140 bales, each averaging about 
400 pounds and containing about 4,000 skins. The total number in 
1894-95 was, therefore, about 52,500,000 skins, valued (at $70 per bale) 
at nearly $1,000,000. 

It should be noticed that no less than one-third of the Australian 
skins sent to London are said to be exported to New York. There 
are now 20 cutters of hatter's fur in America, employing about 1(50 
machines. Each machine will cut on an average 1,200 skins a day, 

* Compiled from Statistics Colony New Zealand, 1881-1890: New ZeaLind Year Books, 1891-1895; 
Statistics Colony Tasnuinia, 1882-1894; Victorian Year llook. 1K93, II, p, 262, 1894, I, j). 437; Statistical 
Jiejiister South An.stnilia, 1885-1894. 

tTlic returns t'roni New Zculaiid tor 1873- 1880 are taken from U. S. Consular Rei)ts.,VI, 1882, ]). 122. 
Tlie viilues ari' only approximate, being reduced froin dollars at ilio rate of £1 .$5— the rate appar- 
ently u.sed in olit:iining the vjiluc lor 1881 in the Consuhir Report. Ketunis for 1891-1894 are taken 
fi'om the Year Books under rciiorts of exjiort of wool. 

jThe total exj)orts irom ,'\iislr:ilii.sia c;in not be obtained from th<>se li<;ur<-s as some of the skins 
from New Ze;ihind ;inil 't;isniaiiiii were sbipjicd to otlicr colonies, iiarlicnlarly Victoria, and snch skins 
may have been i-eexportcd ; e. i;., the direct cx))orls from 'I'jisniiinia to Kvinipc fioiii 1880 to 1892 formed 
a very small percentage of the total exports, the bulk of the skins being shipped to Victoria. 


])ro(lu('ing 75 pounds of cut fur. li' all the machines were kept run- 
ning foi- two hundred and fifty days per annum they would require 
48,000,000 rabbit and hare skins. The output of fur would be about 
3,000,000 pounds, wlii(!h, valued at 85 cents per pound, would <iive a 
total of $15,550,000; deducting $000,000 for cost of cutting, estinuited 
at 20 cents jjer pound of fur, the value would be $1,050,000.^ 

Jack rabbit skins apparently have not been utilized to any great 
extent, but if they can not compete with the best native or foreigu 
skins in quality, they certainly can be used for many purposes for 
which skins of inferior grades are employed. In addition to being 
utilized for fur and felt, rabbit skins are used for making gelatine, 
jujube, sizing, and glue, and in Spain it is said that the hair is some- 
times used in place of down. For these purposes skins of jack rabbits 
ought to be as good as any. If skins can be shipped from Australia to 
the United States by way of London and then sold at a profit for 3 
cents apiece, there ought to be a large market for native skins. Jack 
rabbit skins can be collected with such facility in the West that they 
could probably be sold at a lower price than those of the cottontail or 
any imported skins of the same grade and still allow a margin of profit. 


Between the months of October and March, jack rabbits are sold in 
considerable quantities in the larger cities of the United States from 
San Francisco to Boston, and from St. Paul to New Orleans. Both the 
Prairie Hare and the Blacktailed Jack Rabbit are shii)ped to Eastern 
markets, but in California the Texan Uare and the California Jack 
Rabbit are the only ones commonly sold. The business of handling 
this game is larger than is generally supi)osed, and while by no means 
equal to the trade iu cottontails, is cai)able of being developed into 
an important industry to the mutual benefit of the consumer and of the 
farmer who suffers from the depredations of the rabbits. 


Many persons have a prejudice against eating jack rabbits because 
the animals are infested at certain seasons with parasites, or because 
the fiesh is supposed to be ' strong.' This prejudice, however, is 
entirely unfounded. The parasites of the rabbit are not injurious to 
man; furthermore, the ticks and warbles occur at a season when the 
rabbits should not be killed for game, while the tapeworm can only 
develop in certain of the lower animals, e. g., iu the dog or the 
coyote. The most important parasites of the jack rabbit are ticks 
{Ixodes) and larvie of a tly {Cuferebm) and of a tapeworm (Tcvnia). 
Ticks are especially troublesome during the summer and may sometimes 
be found clustered about the ears in great numbers. A large fly of 

'These figures have been kindly furnished by Messrs. J. P. McGoveru & Bro., 
importers and lur brokers, of New York. 


the geuus Cuterebra attacks these hares as it does deer, squirrels, and 
wood rats, and punctures the skin in order to find a suitable place to 
lay its eggs. The egg hatches soon after being deposited, and the 
parasitic larva, becoming incased in a capsule immediately beneath the 
skin of its host, forms a lump sometimes an inch or more in length, 
which is usually known as a ' warble.' These warbles are most often 
seen in July or August. The larva emerges from its case in due time 
as a perfect insect, and the wound heals, leaving little or no scar. On 
some of the rabbits brought to market large 'water blisters' or 'boils' 
are occasionally found, which are the larv* of a tapeworm {Tccnia 
serialis). This larva is called Camuriis serialis,^ and has been found 
in the California Jack liabbit {Lepus caJifornieus), the Prairie Hare 
{L. campestris), the Old World Hare {L. timidus) and rabbit {L, cu- 
nicidus), the coypu of South America {Mijopotamus coypu)^ a species of 
squirrel (iSeiwri/s), and ill the horse.- Ca^nurus does not develop into 
the adult tapeworm in any of these animals; but in the dog, and in 
the coyote, which eats many rabbits, it reaches the adult stage. 

It is sometimes said that trichinosis may result from eating jack rab- 
bits, and such rei)orts are occasionally circulated by the ])ress. The 
State board of health of Iowa recently published a report on trichi- 
nosis, in which it referred to the source of the disease in the following 
terms, implying that there was danger of infection from rabbits: "In 
all cases known the hog has been the source of the disease in human 
beings, so it maybe said of nearly, if not all cases, that they are caused 
by eating trichinosed pork, although the rabbit and the hare are con- 
sidered not behind the hog in susceptibility to trichinosis. Hogs 
become infected mostly from rats, and rabbits and hares become mouse 
hunters in winter." (Seventh Biennial Report, 1893, p. 80.) 

Hares and rabbits rarely if ever eat mice or other small mammals, 
and tlie danger of infection from this source is of no practical impor- 
tance. It may be confidently stated that there is no authentic case of 
trichinosis in rabbits on record, except in those which have been pur- 
l)osely infected. Until it can be shown that trichina' are actually found 
in our native species, no danger need be apprehended in using rabbits 

as game. 


It would be interesting to know the extent to which jack rabbits are 
sold in the United States, but unfortunately it is practically impossi- 
ble to obtain complete statistics. All that is possible is to cite a few 
cases which will give some idea of the business. A correspondent in 
Goshen, Cal., states that he sent at one time (February 10, 1889), after 

'For a populiir account of these 'blisters' see an article entitled ''Cienurus of 
the Hare," by Kutheriuc Brandcgce, in Zoe, Vol. I, Nov., lH{)i), pp. 265-268. 

-This list ol' lu)sts of Ta'tila ser/rfi/.s' has been kindly furnished by Dr. C. Wardell 
Stiles, Zoologist of the Bureau of Animal Industry, I'. S. Dept. of Agriculture. 


oue of the large drives, as many as 400 jack rabbits to tlie San Fran- 
cisco market. In the fall of 1892 one of his neij;libors made a business 
of market hunting", sometimes killing' six dozen Jack rabbits per day, 
and in one week he secured 20 dozen. This man shot from a one-horse 
buckboard, and nearly all the game was retrieved and brougiit to the 
wagon by his setter. During the autumn of 1894 three men and a boy 
killed about 200 rabbits per day and sent them to San Francisco. Tiie 
shipments from Goshen during the month of Novend)er 1894, amounted 
to about 1,000 Jack rabbits, weighing 3,800 pounds. 

Two hunters in Kern County, Cal., made a series of thirteen rabbit 
drives last winter for the purpovse of obtaining rabbits for market. 
These ilrives were made in various localities near Delano, beginning on 
i^ovember 14, 1894. More than 25,000 Jack rabbits were secured and 
about two-thirds of them were sliipped, bringing from 50 cents to 81.25 
per dozen in San Francisco. The venture, however, proved unsuccess- 
ful, as the expenses for sacks, twine, commission, and transportation 
amounted to 01 cents per dozen and manj^ of the rabbits spoiled in 
transit. It was claimed that if the bounty had not been removed there 
would have been a i)rotit instead of a loss. 

Many Jack rabbits are shipped to market from Kansas. ]!^orton, 
Winona, and other places in the western part of the State send the 
game to Denver, while from points in central and southern Kansas a 
good deal is shipped direct to New York and other Eastern cities. 
A commission merchant in Great Bend, Kans., states that he shipped 
about 4,200 Jack rabbits (350 dozen) during the winter of 1893-94 and 
about 0,000 (500 dozen) during the winter of 1894-95, Most of this 
game was sent to Kansas City, Chicago, New York, Baltimore, and 
Boston. Considerable quantities are also shipped to the New York 
market from Independence, Kans. A single invoice of several hundred 
pair was received from that point in the winter of 1889-90, and a com- 
mission merchant writes that his shipments from Independence have 
been increasing gradually during the last few years at the rate of 200 
to 300 per year. In the winter of 1894-95 he shipped about 1,000 jack 
rabbits direct to New York. McPherson County is one of the main 
shipping centers in the State, and a dealer in Manpiette writes that he 
handled 2,046 jack rabbits last season. The freight trafiic manager of 
the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Kailroad reports that three car- 
loads were forwarded from McPherson in the winter of 1893-94, two 
consigned to Chicago and one to New York. Last season the McPher- 
son Produce Company handled 7,927 jack rabbits, and the total ship- 
ments from that place average about live carloads, or 20,000 rabbits a 
season, 75 per cent being sent to New York. The game is not often for- 
warded in carload lots, but is usually shipped with dressed poultry in 
ordinary refrigerator cars. 

The Black-eared Jack Kabbit ( Lepus 7)ie1anotis) is the principal species 
shipped from Kansas, but the white-tailed Prairie Hare ( />. campestris) 


is sold in even greater numbers in Eastern cities, and the bulk of the 
supply probably comes from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and 
Iowa. In Newcastle, Wyo., a single hunter killed over 100 Prairie 
Hares for market during the season of 1803-94. One dealer in Pier- 
point, Day County, S. Dak., reports that he has shipped from 1,200 to 
1,500 per annum for the last three years, and a correspondent in Water- 
town, S. Dak., writes that probably 50,000 rabbits were killed in Cod- 
ington County, S. Dak., last season, although not all were used for 
food. Tlie severe winter following the drought of 1891 resulted in the 
destruction of larger numbers than usual, and no doubt many persons 
in Dakota and Nebraska gladly availed themselves of this source of 

As already stated, part of the game in California is secured by 
means of rabbit drives. In eastern Colorado large (quantities are killed 
during the annual hunts at Lamar and Las Animas, but as the rabbits 
are killed for sport, and not especially for market, many of them are 
donated to the poor of Denver and Pueblo. In Kansas large numbers 
of jack rabbits are killed after heavy snowfalls, and in Chautauqua and 
Montgomery counties it is said that the farmers sometimes bring them 
in by the wagon load; the hunters usually receive about 10 cents apiece 
for them. Near McPherson one method of hunting is to stretch a wire 
between two wagons about 200 yards apart, and allow it to drag in the 
grass or stubble as they proceed. As the rabbits are started they are 
shot from the wagons or by two hunters wlio follow behind. In this 
vicinity the j)rices vary from 15 cents apiece in October, down to 5- 
cents in January. 

Jack rabbits are shii)ped to market either by express or freight. At 
Goshen, Cal., they are cleaned and hung up over night to cool off, and 
are then simply placed in barley sacks (each holding from 25 to 30), 
and sent by express. Kansas shippers usually forward the game by 
ordinary freight during cold weather, but at other times in refrigerator 
cars. Some pack the rabbits without ice in boxes holding from 2i 
to 3 dozen each ; others wra|) the game in paper or excelsior and pack 
it in barrels containing 4 or 5 dozen rabbits. Another method is 
simply to cord them uj) in refrigerator cars, thus saving the cost of 
packages and packing. 



Jack rabbits usually bring from 75 cents to $3 per dozen, depending 
on the demand and the expense of shipping. In some cases they are 
sold at a much higher figure. During the winter of 1890 some black- 
tailed jack rabbits were sold at retail in the New York market at $1.50 
per pair,' and in December 1895, a few Prairie Hares were retailed in 
the Washington market at $1 apiece. 

'Mearns, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., II, Feb., 1890, p. 298, footnote. 



The following- table shows the ordinary market prices in some of the 
larger cities for the season of 1894-95 : 

Market Prices of Jack liabbita, 1S94-95.* 


San Francisco, Cal. 

Denver, Colo 

Chicago, 111 

New Orleans, La. . . 

St. Paul, Minn 

St. Loni.i, Mo 

Boston, Mass 


Oct. 20, 1894 

Oct. 27-Nov. 24, 1894 , 

.Ian. 12, 1895 

Feb. 9, 1895 

Price i)(!ri)air. 

Dec. 1, 1894 

Dec. 15, 1894 

Feb. 23-Mar. 2, 1895. 

Price per 


. 75- 1. 00 

.75- 1.00 


price per 
dozen dur- 
ing season. 

^0. 67-$l. 00 

2. 00- 3. 50 
1.50- 2.00 
1.75- 2.50 



S 1 

New York, X.T 5 

J,in. 26-Feb. 2, 1895. 

Dec. 22, 1894 

Dec. 29, 1894. 

Washington, D. C Jan. 26-reb. 2, 1895. 

0. 25-$0. 50 
. 40- . 60 
.40- .55 







*Ketnrns for Boston, New York, and Chicago are taken from the market review in the American 
Agriculturist, Vols. LIV and JjV ; fur San Francisco, from the Pacific Iviiinl Press, Vols. XLVIII and 
XLIX; figures lor St. Louis havi^ been kindly turnished by the St. Louis Poultry and Game Company; 
for St. Paul, by K. E. Cobb; for New Orleans, by Messrs. U. &- S. Blum, and I'ur Dcaver, \)y H. 0. 
Hunger ifc Co. 

As mig'ht naturally be supposed, some of the largest markets for 
jack rabbits are in the cities of California where the game is sold at a 
lower price than elsewhere. San Francisco probably uses more than 
any other single city in the United States, and it is said that this game 
is received during the winter months at the rate of 100 to 150 dozen 
per day. An estimate obtained by the board of trade from the com- 
mission merchants places the total number consumed per annum at 
about 06,000. The game is sup])lied principally by the counties of 
Fresno, ]\Ierced, and Tulare, in the San Joa(]uiii N'alley. Los Angeles 
is supplied by the southern counties of Los Angeles, Orange, River- 
side, San Bernardino, and San Diego. The number sold as estimated 
by the Chamber of Commerce, averages from 12 to 15 dozen per week 
the year round, or approximately 7,500 to 9,200 i)er annum, most of 
which is received during the winter months. 

An estimate furnished by the Chamber of Commerce places the num- 
ber of Jack rabbits sold in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the winter of 
1891-95 at 10,000 to 15,000. Many more were given away, and the sec- 
retary, Mr. E. F. Colburn, explains that ])erhaps more were consumed 
than usual, owing to the fact that the rabbits were slaughtered in large 
numbers in regular hunts and were donated to the poor. In Denver, 
Colo., large numbers of Jat^k rabbits are donated to the i>oor, but many 
are also sold as game. One commission house reports that for the last 
ten years they have handled from 13,000 to 15,000 each season, although 
large (juautities are rarely found in market at any one time. The game 
comes from the eastern i>art of the State and from western Nebraska 
and Kansas. Omaha, Nebr., is supplied by the western part of the 



State and by Wyoming, largely from the region between the Fremont, 
Elkhorn and Missouri Valley and the Burlington and Missouri Eiver 
railroads. No reliable statistics of the number consumed in Kansas 
City, Mo., are at hand, the estimates ranging from a few hundred dozen 
up to about 75,000. 

Texas probably furnishes most of the rabbits sold in the markets of 
its principal towns as well as some of those in New Orleans. Only a 
limited number of 'Jacks' are used in New Orleans — probably not more 
than 25 per cent of the total number of rabbits sold — and these are 
shipped mainly from points along the Kansas City, Fort Scott and 
Memphis Eailroad. 

Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., receive their main shipments from 
North and South Dakota and Minnesota. It is reported that 12,000 jack 
rabbits (1,000 dozen) were handled by a single commission house in St. 
Paul during last winter, probably nine-tenths of which were obtained 
from the Dakotas, the remainder being received from Minnesota and 

Estimates of the number of jack rabbits sold in the markets of some 
of the cities west of the Mississi])pi River have been obtained from 
boards of trade, chambers of commerce, or reliable commission mer- 
chants, and are shown in the following table. Such figures are only 
approximate, but in most cases are based on the sales of the season of 
1801-05 : 

Estimates of Jack Eahhits sold in IVcstern Cities. 


Number of 


7, 500-9, 200 

96, 000 

30, 000 

1, 000 


25, 000 

- 12, 000 

1 25, 000 

35, 000 

60, 000 

10, 000-15, 000 

Chamber of Commerce. 

Board of Trade. 

Den ver, Colo 

H. 0. Muntrer & Co. 

Pueblo, Colo 

Jno. M. Killin & Co. 

New Orleans, l^a 

Minneapolis, Minn 

Bennett & Co. 
Produce Exchange. 

St. Paul, Minn 

R. E. Cobb. 

Kansiis Citv, Mo 

St. Louis, Mo 

St. Louis Poultry iind (ianie Co. 

Poycke Bros. 
J. P. Wliite. 

Salt Lake Citv, Utah 

Handled by a single commission house. 

f A|i]iroxiiiiat<'. 

Most of the jack rabbits sold in Chicago, St. Louis, New York, 
Boston, Philadelpliia, Baltimore, and Washington seem to come from 
the Great Plains — from Kansas to North Dakota — but the attempt to 
secure accurate statistics from Eastern cities is almost hoi)eless, as 
quantities of the large Varying Hares {hepnn amcricanns) are also 
received and sold indiscriminately with jack rabbits under the name of 

These data will give some idea of the extent to which jack rabbits 
are shii)ped to market. The total number sold in the cities men- 
tioned above is about 300,000. Allowing an equal number for local 
conbumplion in small towns and for those sold in other cities would 




give 000,000 as a very louj^li approximation of the total number con- 
sumed in tlie United States per annum. Estimated at the rate of 61.50 
to $2 per dozen the total value would be about $75,000 or 8100,000. 
This, however, is only a small proportion of the total number of rabbits 
used as game, since cottontails are sold everywhere in much larger 

In connection with these figures it will be interesting to compare the 
number of rabbits sold in one of the large cities of Australia. Alel- 
bourne, the capital of Victoria, according to the census of 1891, had a 
])0|tulation of 490, 800 — somewhat more than that of San Francisco, Cal. 
The following table from the Victorian Year Book for 1893 fVol. II, p.202) 
shows tlie number of rabbits sold in Melbourne duiing the seven years 
from 1880 to 1893: 

Number of Rabbits shipped to markets of Melbourne, Australia. 


Number of conplesof rabbits — 




18Hfl-87 . 
1887-88 . 
1S«S-8!I , 
18H',l-<iO . 
1891 9-J . 
18;/-i-9y , 

346, 856 
474, 384 
606, 568 
676, 796 
572, 426 
617, 773 

13, 458 
19. 275 

420. 890 
618, 135 
68.', 751 
590, 403 
637 0J8 

Tot;il cDiiiiles 

3, 713, 421 

74,964 3,788,385 

Total lal.bits 7.426,842 149,928 1 7,.=576,770 

Avei agi- ptr anuuin 1, 060, 977 21, 418 ' 1, 082, 395 

Evidently rabbits are more extensively used for food in Australia 
than in this country, but in comparing the figures it should be remem- 
bered that the statistics for Melbourne include the total number of 
rabbits sold, Avhereas those given for jack rabbits consumed in the 
cities of the United States represent only a part of the rabbits sokL 

England imports, it is said, about 124,000 hundredweight of rabbits 
yearly for food, which are valued at £342,000.^ 

So far as known, little or nothing has been done in the United States 
in the way of canning jack rabbits, although the subject has been 
discussed occasionally. ^Yhen rabbit driving was being agitated in 
Tulare County, Cal., the Visalia Delta of January 20, 1888, published an 
article on "]Money in IJabbits,'' which advocated canning some of the 
jack rabbits which were being killed in large numbers at that time. The 
article was based mainly on statistics of the industry in New Zealand, 
and apparently the suggestion has never been adopted, at least not on a 
commercial scale. After making special inquiries concerning the utili- 
zation of rabbits, 3Ir. C. 1). ^^'illard. secretary of the Los Angeles 
Chamber of Commerce, reports: "No use whatever is made of the 

' Simnionds, Commercial Dictiouary of Trade Products, Loudou. 1891'. p. 486. 


skius here, and as far as I cau learn no one lias ever heard of canning 
the meat." Mr. D. E. Payne, of Iudej)endence, Cal., writes under date 
of September 18, 1895: ^'Many years ago there was a cannery engaged 
in putting up all kinds of wild game, and probably they used some 
jack rabbits, but daring my loug residence in California I never saw 
them in the market put up in cans." 

There seems no good reason why rabbits can not be profitably 
canned, and some commission merchants claim that this would relieve 
the glut in the market at certain times in winter and bring about 
better prices. Several preserving companies are in operation in Vic- . 
toria and in New Zealand. In October, 1880, Hon. James M. Morgan, 
then United States consul-gener,al at Melbourne, Australia, reported 
that "in the Colac and Camperdown district [Victoria] a preserving 
factory was started some few years back and operations carried on with 
vigor, the factory working each year for about six months, from March 
to October, and during that period purchasing from 750,000 to 1,000,000 
rabbits, the ijrice paid being about 2s. Od. per dozen. These rabbits - 
are nearly all obtained from the stony rises and surrounding districts, 
as they can not be sent to the factory in proper condition from any 
great tlistance." (U. S. Consular Kepts. for Dec, 1880, XX, pp. ^82-484.) 


(1) The various species of jack rabbits are all more or less alike in 
habits, and all feed largely on bark and herbage. 

(2) When food is easily obtained, and particularly on newly culti- 
vated land, the rabbits increase rapidly and do great damage to crops. 
The black-tailed species are more gregarious than the Prairie Hare, 
and as a rule are more destructive. 

(3) The best means of protecting crops from the attacks of rabbits, 
and in fact the only method which can be relied on, is the use of 
rabbit-proof fences. 

(4) Under favorable circumstances great numbers of jack rabbits 
may be killed by drives or large hunts, but this means will only serve 
to reduce their numbers, and can not be used to exterminate the pests. 

(5) Bounties or other direct expenditures of public money for the 
destruction of rabbits have failed to accomplish the desired object. 
Bounty laws aftbrd unusual opportunities for fraud, and the amounts 
expended are often so large as to be a serious burden on the county or 

(0) The extermination of rabbits can only be accomplished by coop- 
eration on the part of individual farmers or landowners. The work of 
destruction can be most effectually and economically done when the 
animals have suffered an unusual decrease in numbers, either from a 
severe winter, lack of food, or an epidemic. 

(7) Commercial utilization is the most promising and least expensive 
method of keeping these pests in check in localities where they are 


unusually abundant; but returns from this source will only partially 
ofl'set tlie losses sustained on account of injuries to crops. 

(8) Jack rabbits may be used for coursing, for their skins, or for food. 
The United States imports annually millions of rabbit skins for felt 
and other purposes. The skins of jack rabbits could probably be 
used for many ])urposes for which the cheaper grades of imjjorted 
skins are now utilized, and could be collected so cheaply as to leave a 
margin of profit. 

(9) The consumption of jack rabbits for food amounts to about 
600,000 per annum, and is gradually increasing. This game can be 
obtained in considerable quantities on the plains and on the deserts of 
the Great Basin, and may be profitably shipped to Eastern markets to 
the mutual benefit of the farmer and the consumer. 

(10) In America the rabbit question never has, and probably never 
will, assume the proportions it has assumed in Australia. The jack 
rabbits of the United States are all indigenous species and ordinarily 
are held in che(!k by natural enemies and by disease. Although local 
conditions may sometimes favor their temporary increase, yet natural 
agencies, aided by the persistent and constantly increasing war of 
extermination, are gradually, but none the less surely, diminishing their 


The following" list contains references to only a lew of the more 
important articles on jack rabbits and tlie rabbit pest in Australia. Some 
of these papers have been referred to in scattered footnotes, but are here 
grouped under several headings for convenience of reference. Yery 
little has been published on rabbit driving, and this mainly in the form 
of brief notes and descriptions of single drives which are mentioned 


Griffin, G. W., The Eabbit Skin Trade of New Zealand, V. 8. Consular Eepts,, XIX, 
May, 1882, pp. 118-122. 
Poland, Henry, Fur- Bearing Animals, 1892. 


American Field, XXX, 1888, p. 504; XXXIII, 1890, pp. 395-396, and subsequent 

H[older], C. F., Mounted Sport in California, Forest and Stream, XXYIII, 1887. 
pp. 2-3. 


Allen, .1. A., Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., 1875, pp. 430-436. Monographs N. Am. 
Eodentia, 1877. 

Audubon and Bacbmau, Quadrupeds of N. Am., Vols. I-III, 1851. 

Bachmau, John, Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., YII. pt. TI. 1837, p. 282 et seq ; VHI, 
1839, p. 7.") et seq. 

Baird, S. F., Mammals N. Am., 1857. 

Gray, .T. E., Charlesw. Mag. Nat. Hist,, I, 1837, .586-587 (Lepiis caHfornicns). 
Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist., 3d ser., XX, 1807, pp. 221-225. 

Lewis and Clark Exped., Cones' edition, Vol. Ill, 1893, pp. 865-866 (Prairie Hare>. 

Mearns, E. A., Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., New York. II, Feb., 1890, pp. 294-304 
(Lepiis alleni and L. meJanoiis). 

Waterhouse, G. R., Nat. Hist. Mamm., II, Rodentia, 1848. 


Brandegee, Katherine, C.'pnurus of the Hare, Zoe, I, Nov., 1890, p. 265-268. 

Progress Rept. Roy. Comm. Inquiry Externi. Rabbits in Australasia, 1890, pp. 1.38- 

Rept. to the Legislative Assembly of New South ^Yales on the Rabbit Pest, 1888, 
pp. 1-17. 

Thomas, A. P. W., Report on Rabbit Nuisance in Wairarapa District, New Zea- 
land, 1888, pp. 1-7; 1889, pp. -1-14. 


[Editorial] Driving the Jack Rabbits, San Francisco Mining and Scientific Press, 
Jan. 28, 1888, p. 51 (Bakersfield, Cal.). 

Fremont, J. C, Kxpl. Exped. to Oregon and California, 1845, p. 227. 

Greene, C. S., Rabbit Driving in the San Joaquin Valley, Overland Monthly, XX, 
July, 1892, pp. 49-58 (Traver, Cal.). 


Manly. W. L., Death Valley in '49, ]t. 110 (near Little Salt Lake, I'tali). 
Sayers. K. H., A Jack Rabbit Hunt, Am. Field, XLl, No. 10, Mar. 10, 1894, p. 222 
(^Laniar, Colo.). 
Scientific American, LXI, Nov. 19, 1889, p. 29.") (Wiklflower, Cal.). 
Shooting and Fishing, XV, 1894, pi.. 221, .303; XIX, .Ian. 2, 1896, p. 225 (Lamar, 


Townscnd, C. IL, A .Jack Rabbit Drive, Forest and Stream, XXXVIII, Mar. 3. 1X92, 
p. 197 (nt^ar Fresno, Cal.). 

Townsend, .1. K., Narrative of a .(onrney Across the Rocky Mountains, 1839, p. 327. 

White, N. E., A California Rabbit Ronnd-up, Am. Field, XXX, Nov. 3, 1888, p. 
410 (Bakersfield, Cal.) 


Cones, E., American Rabbits or Hares, Am. Sportsman, Aug. 29, 1874. 

Cones, E., Habits of the Prairie Mare, Bull. Essex Institute, VII (187.5), 187r). i.p. 

Coues, E., Am. Naturalist, I, Dec, 1867, pp. 531-534 {Lepus texiantts). 
Van Dyke, T. S., Southern California, 1886, pp. 130-132. 


Final Rept. Roy. Comm. Inquiry Exterm. Rabbits Australasia, 1890, pp. 1-20. 

Morgan, .). M., The Rabbit Pest in Victoria, U. S. Consular Repts., Vol. \X, No. 72. 
Dec, 1880. pp. 482-484. 

Progress Rept. Roy. Conuu. Inciuiiy Exterm. Rabbits Australasia, 1890, pp. 1-216. 

Rept. Comm. Legislative Council New South Wales on Rabbit Nuisance Act of 1883, 
1887, pp. 1-46. 

Rept. Proc Confeieuce Rabbit Pest in Nevr South Wales. 1895, pp. 1-33. 

Wealth and Progress, New South Wales (Annual Volumes^. 

Yearltooks of Australia and of the separate Colonies. 

8()li)— No. 8- 6 

I N D p: X . 


Abiiiulanre 24-2r) 

Adii (Jouiity, Idalio, bounty 41-42 

Allfii'sJack Kabbit 22-23 

Arizona Indian drives , 49 

Australia, commercial utilization in 65, 70, 77 

pxixMuliturcs 43^4 

(IX port ol' skins 70 

introduction of rabbits 43 

legislation in 43-44 

methods of destruction 37, 39 

rabbit fences 43-44 

Bibliograiihy 80-81 

Black-tailed Jack Rabbit 19-21 

Bladder worm 36 

Bounties 40-43 

California 10-41 

Idaho 41-42 

Oregon ■ 42 

Texas 42 

Utah 43 

Breeding habits 25-29 

Butte County, Cal., bounty 40, 41 

Ccenurus 36, 72 

California, abundance in 24-25 

boTinties 40-41 

coursing in 66-68 

depredations 13, 32 

drives, list of 55-57 

epidemics 45-46 

hunts by Indians 48 

JackKabbit 17-19 

nuirket s for rabbits 74-77 

summary of drives .58 

Canning rabbits 77-78 

Capture of rabbits for ooursing 53, 67 

Change of ))elage 14, 15 

Chicken cholera 36 

CofciiUtim ovi/orme 37 

Colorado hunts 63-64 

nuvrket s 64, 74 

Colusa Co\inty, Cal., bounty 40 

Commercial utilization of rabbits 37,65,70,77 

Corrals for rabbit drives 4il, 50 

County ordinances 41 

Coursing 66-68 

capture of rabbits for 53, 67 

Coyote bounty law 45 

Cuteri'brn 46, 72 

Ci/Ktifercus pisi/ormis 37 

Dei)rcdations 13, 30-32 

llesert bare 19 

Diseases. (■S'^'e Epidemics.) 

Destruction of ral)bitsby cold 42 

. by epidemics 45-46 

Distribution 11,15,17,20,22 

Dri ves, best time for 29, 59 

California 47-59 

early 52-53 

history of 47-49, 52-54 

Idaho 62-63 

Indian 47-49 

largest 54, 64 

list of 55-57 

nu'thod of conducting 47-52 

objections to 59 

( )regon 59 

origin of 47, .52-55 

results of 57-59, 64 

Enemies of rabbits 44-45 

Epidemics 45-46 

P^xpenditures in Australia for destruction 

of rabbits 43-44 

Felt, nuule from rabbit skins 69 

Fences, rabbit proof 33-34 

for drives 19-50 

in Australia 34, 43-44 

substitute for 34 

Food of rabbits 12-13 

Fresno County, Cal., abundance in 32 

bounty 40 

drives 54, 55 

Fur, rabbit skins for 69 

Game 71-77 

how killed and shipped 72-74 

market for 74-78 

General habits 11-13 

Goshen rabbit drive club 49 

(■irease for smearing trees 35 

Hare, Desert 19 

Prairie 14-17 

Hunts, Colorado 63-64 

Idaho 62-63 

Indian 47-19 

IT t ah 60-62 

summary of 64 

Idaho, bounties 41-42 

depredations 31 

drives 62-63 

Indian methods of hunting 47-49 

methods of jireparing skins 68-69 

Injury to crojis 13, 30-32 

inAustralia 32 





Inoculation 36-37 

Ixodes 71 

Kansas, coursing in 06-68 

sliipments from 73 

Lake County, Oreg., bounty 42 

(1 rives ; 59 

Lascelles' i)rocoss of prepariugphospliorus. 39 

Lejms alli'ni 22-23 

americanus 69 

calif ornicus 17-19, 72 

ca irqjextris 14-17, 72-74 

cuniculus 25, 43, 72 

melanotic 21-22, 74 

texianus. 19-21 

texianus eremicun 19 

timidus 25, 72 

Market for jack rabbits 74-76 

in Australia 77 

prices 75 

shipment to 73 

Methods of destruction : 

Australian 37-38 

bounties 40-43 

drives 47-52 

bunts 47, 48, 60-64 

inoculation 36-37 

poison 38-39 

Modoc County, Cal., abundance in 24 

bounty 40 

drives 54, 56 

New South "Wales, expenditures in 43-44 

reward offered by Government 36 

New Zealand, expenditures in 44 

export of skins 70 

Oregon, bounties 42 

drives 48, 59 

Parasites 71-72 

Phosphorus 39 

Summary and conclusions 78-79 

Poison, danger of using 38 

I»bospliorua 39 

strychnine 38-39 

Potash for smearing trees 35 

Prairie Hare 14-17 

Protection of orchards 32-35 

by fences 32-34 

by smears 34-35 

Quassia for smearing trees 35 

Queensland, expenditures in 43,44 

Enbbit day in Colorado 63 

Kabbii measles 37 

scab 36, 37 

Keward offered by New South Wales for 

destruction of rabbits 36 

San Bernardino County, Cal., bounty 40 

San Joaquin Valley, Cal., abundance of 

rabbits in 20-21.24,32 

drives 47, 49-54 

shipments from 67, 73 

Skins, exported from Australia 70 

consumption of, in United States 69, 71 

imjiorted by England 70 

uses of 69 

Smears 34-35 

South Australia, expenditures in 44 ' 

export of skins 70 

Species found in United .States 13-14 

Allen's Hare 14,22-23 

Black-eared Jack 14, 21-22 

Black-tailed Jack Kabbit 14, 19-21 

California Jack Ra bbit 17-19 

Eastern Jackass Hare 14. 21-22 

Prairie Hare 14-17 

Texan Jack Rabbit 14. 19-21 

White-tailed Jack Rabbit 14-17 

Strychnine 38-39 

Tonnia xerialis 72 

Tapeworms in rabbits 72 

Tasmania, expenditures in 43, 44 

exj)ort of skins 70 

Texas, bounties 42 

depredations in ---.-.- 30-31 

Ticks 71 

Tintinallogy disease 36-37 

Tree protectors .* 34 

Trichinosis .". 72 

Tulare County, Cal., bounties 41 

drives 49-50, 53, 56-57 

injury to crops 32' 

Utah, bounties 43 

hunts 60-62 

depredations in 31 

Value of jack rabbits 65-77 

VaryingHare,export()f skins I'rom America Oil 

Victoria, canning rabbits iu 78 

dei)redations 32 

expenditures in -13,44 

export of skins. 70 

introduction of rabbits 43 

Warbles in rabbits 46, 72 

Washington, dejiredatious in 31 

Voiiug, number of 26-27 

time of birth 27-29