CHEYENNE—Take a wintertime walk around the nine-hole golf course ringing the Little America Hotel and Resort and a springy hare or 12 are bound to bounce onto the scene. 

They’re black-tailed jackrabbits, and they’re everywhere. 

The lagomorphs, which can tip the scales at half a dozen pounds, are said to be solitary. Not so at Little America, where they concentrate under conifers that give golfers obstacles and a windbreak from the howling, hissing winds of southeastern Wyoming’s high plains. An off-season stroll around the grounds can cluster the hares into a herd that moves together at high speed, individual bunnies bounding 20 feet at a time and deftly eluding even a determined domestic dog. 

There’s not a whole lot of scientific literature on the jackrabbits of Wyoming. 

Sota the pudelpointer tries to catch a jackrabbit outside of Cheyenne in February 2023. He was unsuccessful on this, and every other attempt. (Mike Koshmrl/WyoFile)

Oddly enough, the herbivorous hares are classified as a “predator” by the state of Wyoming, grouped with the likes of skunks, coyotes and stray domestic cats. Wildlife managers pay jackrabbits less attention than their cousins the cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare, which are at least dignified with defined hunting seasons. 

Jackrabbits are seldom seen in much of Wyoming, including the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, where the white-tailed subspecies was declared absent decades ago. Reports of the bunnies’ demise may have been premature, but in northwest Wyoming the hares remain rare enough that a single sighting is good enough to make headlines

In large swaths of the state beyond Little America, jackrabbits are ubiquitous. According to the University of Wyoming Extension, they’re prolific and can have several litters per year. Highways claim heaps of them when their cyclical population peaks, evidenced by smeared carcasses becoming one with the pavement.

For a look at a live hare, try the sagebrush-steppe habitat that sweeps over much of Wyoming. And if that fails, just head for Cheyenne and walk nine holes at a certain Interstate 80-facing hotel and resort.

Mike Koshmrl

Mike Koshmrl reports from Jackson on state politics and Wyoming's natural resources. Prior to joining WyoFile, he spent nearly a decade covering the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s wild places and creatures...

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  1. Many years ago, jackrabbits were plentiful at the original Little America in Sweetwater County. I know, because , as a young girl, I used to “race” with them.

  2. This topic has gone uncovered for too many years! It puts you right in the brain pudlepointer!

  3. Thanks for this article; we have a large jackrabbit that lives near our cabin on Elk Mountain. And you’re right, s/he seems to live in solitude. “Wabbit” is quite used to us and we all go about our business in close proximity. Wish I could send you a photo—I have several great close-ups, and have even done a large painting of this delightful creature. Sure hope Wabbit has survived this long winter!