Hodag [hoh-dag]

1. A folkloric animal, often referred to as a monster.
2. A mascot for the town of Rhinelander, WI, many Rhinelander area businesses and the Rhinelander Highschool and James William Junior High sports teams.
3. A very popular country music festival.

Origin:
Lumberjack lore from the mid to late 1800's made famous in Wisconsin by timber cruiser G. Shepard.

The following is taken from the marker at Hodag Park in Rhinelander, WI, erected in 1973 by the Wisconsin Historical Society:

"This mythical creature is the official symbol or Rhinelander, WI. It was created in 1896 by "Gene" Shepard. Rhinelander pioneer timber cruiser and famous prankster. Shepard claimed to have discovered the animal in the woods near Rice Creek. He "captured" it by blocking the mouth of the den with rocks and rendering it unconscious with a chloroformed sponge on a long pole. Actually fashioned by a skilled woodcarver named Luke Kearney, the original Hodag was seven feet long and thirty inches high, black and hairy, with two horns on it's head, twelve horns along its spine, and short powerful legs armed with long claws.

For years Shepard exhibited the Hodag at county fairs in a dimly lighted tent, controlling its movements with wires. Many spectators believed the animal was real. Shepard would assure them that he had captured it on "Section 37" and that it ate 'nothing but white bulldogs and those only on Sundays.'"
Modern depictions of the hodag deviate only in color, the Hodag is now "known" to be green.

Also Heard:
Happy Hodag: A friendly greeting, often heard during the Hodag Country Festival.
Happy the Hodag: A hodag created for children and the star of two children's books about the hodag.
Hodagger: A Hodag Country Festival attendee.

Hodag Books

Books About or Starring Hodags

HODAG CHILDREN'S BOOKS:

Tales From the Trees
TALES FROM THE TREES
:
Starring Happy the Hodag & Buddy the Bulldog
By Jill Kuczmarski
A rhyming read-to-me picture book for kids about the elusive Hodag, a cute and lovable twist to the infamous lumberjack lore of the Northwoods.
http://www.kuczmarskidesigns.com/tales-from-the-trees.html


A Monster Misunderstanding
A MONSTER MISUNDERSTANDING
:
Starring Happy the Hodag & Buddy the Bulldog
By Jill Kuczmarski
Meet Happy the Hodag and Buddy the Bulldog in a story of how two very different animals become friends after a monster misunderstanding. A prequel to Tales From The Trees. http://www.kuczmarskidesigns.com/a-monster-misunderstanding.html


The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers
THE TERRIBLE HODAG
By Caroline Arnold
Deep in the north woods of Wisconsin lives a creature like no other on earth. It stands forty feet tall. Its eyes glow like fire. It is a scary sight. It's the HODAG! Don't worry. The Hodag isn't as scary as he appears. Ask Olee Swensen, the lumberjack. He'll tell you that the Hodag is a friend to all the lumberjacks in the north woods. Once, the Hodag helped them get rid of a bad boss. Now it's time for the lumberjacks to rescue the Hodag. Animal catchers have come to the woods to trap the creature and haul him away to the zoo. But Olee Swensen and his friends have plans for a trap of their own. Magnificent black-and-white illustrations by John Sandford.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Terrible-Hodag-Animal-Catchers/dp/159078166X

HODAG FICTION:

Shepards Wisconsin Hodag
GENE SHEPARD'S WISCONSIN HODAG
By William Horner & Robb Mommaerts
A beautifully illustrated traditional story of the hodag, full page, full color illustrations throughout this hard cover book.
http://www.amazon.com/Shepards-Wisconsin-Hodag-William-Horner/dp/1931765030

HODAG NON FICTION:

Long Live the Hodag
LONG LIVE THE HODAG
THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF EUGENE SIMEON SHEPARD: 1854-1923

By Kurt Kortenhof of Hodag Press
Photographs and archival research, including a 1963 interview with Eugene Shepard's son Layton. This updated edition highlights Shepard's talents as a humorist through the inclusion of more of his cartoons, hand-written photo captions, and an appendix of three of his lengthy writings.
http://www.hodagpress.com/longlive2.htm

Hodag Love

Hodag Links Around the Web


THE HISTORY OF THE HODAG

The history of the hodag from the Wisconsin Historical Society.
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org

HODAG: The Legendary, Ugly, Smelly Beast of Wisconsin

Carrie Poppy writes the most well researched and fun article on the hodag ever. Even if it is utterly offensive to hodags who are not so ugly as to dissolve into bitter tears at the thought of their own appearance.
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/hodag_the_legendary_ugly_smelly_beast_of_wisconsin/

SCOOBY DOO AND THE HODAG TOO!

The hodag is famous again! The hodag appears in "Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Season 2, Episode 5 (Part 1) - Hodag of Horror.
http://www.jsonline.com

WPT HISTORY OF THE HODAG VIDEO

An interesting and fun tour of the hodag legend with Art Hackett. Rhinelander locals and the Rhinelander Chamber's clever hodag commercials make an appearance in this must see (if your interested in learning about the hodag) episode.
http://video.wpt.org/video/1627468606/

TRAVEL CHANNEL: MYSTERIES AT THE MUSEUM

The Mysteries At The Museum crew swung by Rhinelander's Pioneer Park Historical Complex (Logging Museum) to get the hodag low down.
http://www.travelchannel.com/video/hodag-hoax

WISCONSINOSITY LOGGING MUSEUM VISIT

A visual tour of the hodags found at the Rhinelander Logging Museum (Pioneer Park Historical Complex) with commentary. If you have never been to the logging museum or haven't been there in the last five years you should go check it out. They have added many new exhibits, not associated with the hodag, but interesting none the less.
http://www.wisconsinosity.com/Oneida/hodags.htm

WhoNEW: 7 STRANGE STORIES OF WISCONSIN MONSTERS - PLUS ONE FROM UPPER MICHIGAN

Who knew about WhoNEW? A great site for all things Northeast Wisconsin and if you've learned anything about the Hodag then you'll know that's where it calls home.
http://whoonew.com/2013/10/wisconsin-monsters/

ROAD SIDE AMERICA VISIT

Yet another iteration of the history of the hodag. This is a special link however in that it has a photograph of the hodag that used to adorn the top of the Hodag Bar, now gone. It was one of the more recognized hodags in Rhinelander both for it's location off of a busy street and it's longevity in the community.
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11962

WIKIPEDIA ENTRY FOR 'HODAG'

Wikipedia has a succinct, user edited entry for the hodag.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hodag

HODAG SIGHTINGS

A website from the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce featuring a hodag history, funnycommercials promoting the Rhinelander area, hodag 'sightings', and kids activities. This is also a great resource for finding lodging and activities in the Rhinelander area.
http://hodagsightings.com/

EXPLORE RHINELANDER

A resource page for Hodag country. Find lodging and activity information information here including information on fishing and Artists Interactive.
http://explorerhinelander.com/

HISTORICAL HODAG POSTCARDS

A wonderful visual history collected by the fantastic illustrator Jeff Johnson of thehodag.net and sculptingwarrior.com.
http://thehodag.net/post.html

Hodag Art + Merch

Hodags Around the Web

HAPPY THE HODAG

Happy Hodag
Happy the Hodag picture books, plush toys and tees!

Happy the Hodag is the star of two books for kids that explore the hodag legend.
HappyTheHodag.com | kuczmarskidesigns.com/shop.html

HODAG ILLUSTRATION

This blog by Robb Mommaerts showcases a wonderful hodag illusration. It would look great on a t-shirt (hint, hint, Robb)
http://robbvision.blogspot.com/2009/01/hodag-painting.html

PAINTABLE HODAG SCULPTURES

A fearsome 10" hodag sculpture from Jeff Johnson ready to be painted. Jeff also has some great links on his site to historical hodag postcards and other memorabilia.
http://thehodag.net/

HODAG TEES & MISC.

Fun Factory Sweet Shoppe
229 N Brown St, Rhinelander, WI 54501
Hodag chocolates and a variety of other hodag merchandise compliment the large selection of premium sweets at this delectable candy shoppe in the heart of Rhinelander.
715.369.3451
funfactorysweets.com

BEST EMBROIDERY
22 W. Davenport Street  | Rhinelander, WI
Located in downtown Rhinelander, you’ll find a large selection of Rhinelander /Hodag t-shirts, hoodies and sportswear along with mugs, magnets, and a variety of Hodag souvenirs. Custom embroidery and t-shirts also available!
https://www.facebook.com/Best-Embroideries

METRO SCREENPRINTING & EMBROIDERY
510 Lincoln St | Rhinelander, WI | 715- 365-3195 | metroscreen2@frontiernet.net
The official vendor for Rhinelander sports teams, you’ll find a large selection of Rhinelander /Hodag t-shirts, hoodies and sportswear. Custom screenprinting and embroidery also available!
http://www.hodagwear.com/

SHIRTS SIGNS & DESIGNS
315 S Eisenhower Pkwy (BEHIND WALGREENS)| Rhinelander, WI | 715-362-8516
A nice variety of hodag merchandise. Shirts Signs and Designs also offers very reasonably priced custom items. Have a hodag of your own? Put it on a t-shirt!
http://www.shirtssignsdesigns.com

ARTSTART RHINELANDER

68 S. Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501
ArtStart is a group of volunteers—business people, artists, art lovers, educators, and other community-minded citizens—who have transformed the historic Federal Building in downtown Rhinelander, Wisconsin into a destination arts and cultural center. The City of Rhinelander voted to purchase the building from the Federal Government for $1 and lease it to our non-profit organization, and ArtStart, Inc. was born.
http://www.artstartrhinelander.org/

RHINELANDER BEER

Technically there is no hodag in sight on the actual product but there is a picture of one on the website and Rhinelander is the home of the hodag.
http://rhinelanderbrewery.com/community.html

Contact Me

This site is a free directory of hodag information and links maintained by Studio JKD (Jill Kuczmarski Designs, LLC).

Email to request an entry be added, request that your link be removed, report a broken link or have suggestions: jill[at]kuczmarskidesigns.com

Studio JKD reserves the right to remove links without explanation and has no obligation to list any specific hodag link. The views and opinions expressed in any of the linked content on this site are not necessarily shared by Jill Kuczmarski Designs, LLC.