A Conspiracy of Rabbits
It’s quiet in Tuscarora these days and, most likely, will stay that way until spring. A main topic of conversation — if you can find someone to talk to — is the plague of rabbits besieging Tuscarora and Independence Valley. Here in town, the jackrabbits and cottontails have girdled everyone’s trees and lilac bushes, even climbed a few apple trees to strip the bark. In the valley, rabbits by the hundreds have burrowed into every rancher’s haystacks. It’s a field day for all the critters that feed on the remains of rabbits littering Highway 255 from the Taylor Canyon Club to Lone Mountain Station.
There are a variety of theories about the plethora of rabbits, ranging from, “It’s a sign of the apocalypse” to “Maybe somebody shot too many coyotes?” The Nevada Department of Wildlife weighed in: “Mild winter last year sheltered rabbits, then spring moisture in 2015 provided forage to fatten them up. Now, heavy snow has pushed them to congregate and compete for scarce winter food.”
The most reliable theory comes from those who have lived around here for at least half a century. One observer says, “It is the way of rabbit population cycles, you know? The breed, they peak, they die …”
Sounds a lot like life!
— Nancy Harris McLelland