"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Monday, October 16, 2000


Sun, Oct 15th, 2000
Posted in

To the Editor,

People of the Lanesboro community: we extend a heartfelt thank you for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality you recently extended to a group of Elderhostelers who spent six days in your community.

We had the pleasure of directing a Winona State University/ Commonweal Theatre Company Elderhostel for 28 people from seven states. We studied various aspects of the Lanesboro area as told by local experts and then had classes with the theatre professionals in preparation for seeing "Bus Stop" and "The Lion in Winter". Providing a quality learning experience is the goal of the program, and it was definitely achieved.

We wish to thank everyone who came in contact in any way with these visitors and made them feel welcome and at home. They were simply overwhelmed by the hospitality they encountered at every turn. We know that many of them will return and will encourage family and friends to pay a visit as well. Twenty eight people went away with a special feeling for a treasure they discovered in southeastern Minnesota.

Jim and Ruth Erickson
Winona, MN

To the Editor,

People of the Lanesboro community: we extend a heartfelt thank you for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality you recently extended to a group of Elderhostelers who spent six days in your community.

We had the pleasure of directing a Winona State University/ Commonweal Theatre Company Elderhostel for 28 people from seven states. We studied various aspects of the Lanesboro area as told by local experts and then had classes with the theatre professionals in preparation for seeing "Bus Stop" and "The Lion in Winter". Providing a quality learning experience is the goal of the program, and it was definitely achieved.

We wish to thank everyone who came in contact in any way with these visitors and made them feel welcome and at home. They were simply overwhelmed by the hospitality they encountered at every turn. We know that many of them will return and will encourage family and friends to pay a visit as well. Twenty eight people went away with a special feeling for a treasure they discovered in southeastern Minnesota.

Jim and Ruth Erickson
Winona, MN

To the Editor,

I thoroughly enjoyed Neil Haugerudís informative feature on the Jackelopes of Fillmore County in the October 2, 2000 issue of the Journal. I must, however, take exception to one aspect of Neilís report, namely the true identity of the species depicted in the photograph accompanying his article. The animal pictured in this particular case is in fact clearly a Jackadeer, a species closely related to the true Jackelope but unfortunately currently much more endangered.

Jackadeers, as is readily apparent in the picture in question, are small rabbit-sized animals that are easily identified by the large paired antlers adorning their heads. Composed of bone (as is the case with all true antlers), Jackadeer antlers closely resemble and occasionally rival in size those of the widespread and certainly much larger Whitetail Deer. Unlike deer, these antlers are possessed by both sexes of Jackadeer, although they typically are still shed periodically. Formerly widespread throughout most of eastern North America, Jackadeer (like so many other regional animals) have now been hunted to the point of extinction in most portions of its geographic range.

True Jackelope, on the other hand, possess horns which are similar in structure, appearance, and size to those of the Pronghorn "Antelope" of Americaís western plains. Unlike antlers, these prong-like horns are composed of highly compressed, densely woven hair rather than bone and are normally not shed on a periodic basis. This difference in head ornamentation serves as the most reliable means of distinguishing Jackelope from Jackadeer, since both species are remarkably similar in all other aspects of their anatomy. Unlike Jackadeer, however, the Jackelope, while certainly declining, still remains relatively widespread particularly in the more undeveloped western portions of the northern prairie states.

While I hate the thought of being categorized with the "bunny hugging tree lovers" of Neilís article, I do strongly believe that if Jackadeer actually still do occur in Fillmore County (a very real possibility considering the tremendous number of antlers lying around hereabouts) we must immediately take whatever steps necessary to insure its continued survival regardless of the potential dangers posed to humans by this species. Basic baseline data on overall Jackadeer abundance is obviously vitally important now and a survey of this type (perhaps best performed by some local museum with DNR Endangered Species Program funding) should be initiated in the Bigwoods just as soon as possible. All such studies should likewise also attempt to confirm the existence of the poorly known Jackadeer angelicus as well. Possessing wings as well as antlers, angelicus (sorry there is no common name) is by far the fastest disappearing member of the Jackelope family that exists despite being able to fly.

Until more information becomes available, I furthermore must join with Neil in strongly advising all city slickers and other less experienced outdoorsmen to avoid the Bigwoods completely. Only in this way can your safety and the health and well being of our resident Jackadeers be insured.

Sincerely,
John P. Levell
Lanesboro, MN

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