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Wisconsin Outdoors: Hunting the Hodag

In this weeks Wisconsin Outdoors I decided to head up North to Rhinelander to try and find proof of a legendary beast… The Hodag.

The Hodag has been a part of Northwoods lore since 1896 when pioneer and timber cruiser Gene Shepard stumble across the fearsome creature in the forest.

The story goes that Shepard saw red glowing eyes and white glistening horns growing from the back of a green furred creature measuring about seven feet in length.

Shepard slowly backed away to return to town where he gathered a group of men to try and corral and capture the critter. The men used a sponge soaked in chloroform attached to the end of a pole to induce the Hodag into a deep sleep.

Once Shepard was able to capture the Hodag, the creature became the center piece of the county fair… that is until the Smithsonian stepped in and wanted to investigate Shepard’s claim of a new animal.

It was at this point Shepard admitted it was a hoax, however despite that, the city of Rhinelander has embraced the Hodag, even so far as to make it the high school and town mascot. It’s hard to drive down any street there without seeing some reminder of the Hodag.

So I heard the legends and the lore… I made the trip to the Hodags home… Now could I find proof it might be more than a myth… See what I found in the video above.

Alex Stewart

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