Elmer Fudd began hunting Bugs Bunny, that wascally wabbit, in 1940’s “A Wild Hare.” Perhaps Tex Avery, Bugs’ official creator, was inspired by a story like this one, which originally appeared in 1901 in the North Platte (Neb.) Semi-Weekly Tribune, the Philadelphia Times, the Davidson (S.C.) Dispatch, the New Bern (N.C.) Daily Journal and the Hawaiian Star of Honolulu. Why did it take more 10 years for the news to reach readers of the Minneapolis Tribune? Something awfully screwy is going on around here.
 

Boy Is Shot by a Rabbit.

 

Parkersburg, W.Va., Sept. 3. – (Special.) – Lewis Fries, a boy of 12 years of age, while hunting rabbits, was shot in the leg by a rabbit, which he was after. Fries was with his father and another man and they chased the rabbit into a hole. While each one was watching one of the three entrances to the hole the rabbit came out of one of them, and, hopping upon the gun which the boy had thrown down on the ground, struck the trigger with its legs and discharged the gun. Both barrels were emptied into the boy’s leg, but he was not dangerously hurt.

 
Follow-up: What happened to the young hunter? By the time this story appeared in the Tribune, according to the 1910 census, Lewis Fries had married a woman named Lena Lang. They had a daughter, Julia, and lived with Lena's mother, Linda, in Lubeck, W.Va. Lewis worked as a stonecutter in a quarry. And there the trail goes cold.
 
Not so wascally: Two boys got the better of two rabbits near Fulda, Minn., in December 1904. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)

Not so wascally: Two boys got the better of two rabbits near Fulda, Minn., in December 1904. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)

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