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Bigfoot Of The North, What Is A HODAG? Recipe for Our Hodag Chili.

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Up Close To The Monster

Up Close To The Monster

Spring Is On The Way

Spring Is On The Way

Bigfoot of the north, the Hodag. Legend of Rhinelander's Hodag.

The Hodag made his first appearance 1896. The Hodag is a hoax by Gene Shepard, a Rhinelander pioneer; this legend has lasted for years.

It is the symbol of the city. The school sports teams are the Hodags. There's Hodag Park and businesses named Hodag. There's the Hodag Country Festival. The Hodag is even on the police cars.

There are t-shirts, sweatshirts, and many, many other items with the Hodag on them, (believe me here you need sweatshirts). We get 40 below in the winter. This summer is not much warmer. (-:

Wal-Mart now carries Hodag items. We get lots of tourists so that's where they head to buy all the souvenirs of the Hodag.

Do you remember snipes? The Hodag is kind of a type of snipe. The Hodag is big green and ugly, but Rhinelander loves him.

There's the Hodag Country Festival. It's here every year in July. Many country stars perform at the Country Fest.

We have many lakes in this area so it brings in fishermen in the summer. We get snowmobiles and hunters in the winter.

Big Foot of the north, the Hodag.

Big Foot of the north, the Hodag.

Hodag for the Hodag Country Festival

Hodag for the Hodag Country Festival

Mythical Creature

The story of the Hodag goes like this. This is a mythical creature of the northern Wisconsin city of Rhinelander. Shepard said he discovered the animal in the woods near Rice Creek. He caught it by blocking the mouth of its den with rocks and rendering it unconscious with chloroform sponge on a pole.

The original Hodag was seven feet long thirty inchs high black and hairy. It had two horns on its head and twelve horns down its spine.

Bigfoot Of The North, What Is A HODAG!

Bigfoot Of The North, What Is A HODAG!

Oneida County Fair

In 1896, the Oneida County Fair was hurting for big attractions when organizers wondered whether Shepard had any ideas.

Did he? Shepard arranged the carving of a Hodag from a wood stump, fitted it with hide and horns and announced this beast captured near Rice Creek outside Rhinelander would be displayed at the fair. Come one, come all.

For many years, Shepard would show the Hodag at county fairs and many people believed it was real.

He displayed it in a dimly lighted tent, controlling it’s movements with wires. Shepard would tell them that he had captured it on “Section 37” and that it ate nothing but white bulldogs and he ate only on Sunday.

I’m amazed that this story has lasted through the years and has become the main attraction of the city.

Bigfoot of the north, the Hodag.

Bigfoot of the north, the Hodag.

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Hodags All Over Town

Hodags are everywhere. The large Hodag above is in front of the Chamber of Commerce. The first Hodag is in a little park by McDonald and I think this was number one it has been sold and replaced with the second one you see in the second photo.

Hodags of Rhinelander, there's one in front of the library, one in front of the mall, two in a little park downtown and at the YMCA.

They're all over town and each one is designed differently. These big monsters are auctioned off each year to make money for a nonprofit improvement group for the city of Rhinelander.

I'm not sure, but the one in front of the mall may not be painted all the way. The way it looks I think there will be more paint added to it.

Our daughter and her boyfriend came for Thanksgiving. He couldn't get over all the Hodags in Rhinelander.

Check out more links on the Hodag.

By McDonlds

By McDonlds

In Front of The Mall

In Front of The Mall

In a small park in the downtown area.

In a small park in the downtown area.

Hodag footprints at the Airport



Bigfoot Of The North, What Is A HODAG!

Bigfoot Of The North, What Is A HODAG!

Recipe for Our Hodag Chili.

My Chili ♥

1 1/2 lb. hamburger

1 chopped onion

3 tablespoons of butter

1 can of light kidney beans

1 can of dark kidney beans

1 box of chicken soup broth

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

1/4 cup parsley flakes

1/4 cup chives

1/4 cup of chili powder

1/2 tsp. of garlic flakes or one chopped garlic clove

salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream and grated cheese (optional)

Break up and brown hamburger and onions in butter, do not drain. Add to slow cooker and place all other ingredients in the cooker. Mix well. Start in the morning and cook all day. The long cooking is what makes this chili very good. If need be pour in more broth or water can be added. You can use cheap or expensive hamburger with this. Whatever you would rather use. When chili is done use sour cream and grated cheese to the top. Eat with saltine crackers or bread.

I also cook this in a Dutch oven on top of the stove. After I get the hamburger and onions browned and add other ingredients I cook on low. Sometimes from morning until we eat around 5 or 6.

My husband likes peanut butter on bread with his chili.

Recipe for Hodag Chili.

Lady Looking for Hodag

This little lady is searching for the elusive Hodag. Many have seen it but don't like to talk about it.


That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It.

We lived on one of the Rhinelander lakes part of Moen's chain. We were surrounded by woods. One night we had come home late, it was so dark just moonlight coming through the clouds. We had forgotten to leave a light on. As we got out of the car we could hear this splashing coming from our dock. We headed down that way to see what was going on. Thinking it was a big muskie splashing around. Just as we got down the hill something big let out a roar and came running at us. We took off for the house and got in just in time. It had a large face and horns we could see this much of it in the moonlight. We didn't know what it was, but our neighbors said it had to be a Hodag they had been hearing the roars for weeks. That was our brush with the Hodag. Many a Rhinelander resident has had close calls with Hodags, but so far I have never heard that any resident has been eaten.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!


Looking for the Hodag

Hodag's Everywhere!

If you ever come to Rhinelander, Wisconsin be sure to check for the Hodag after all he is our Bigfoot way up north. You won't have trouble finding him. Play a game with your kids "how many Hodags can you find?"

There's a Hodag in front of the real estate company. There is even a wood one locked behind a fence at the Rhinelander Logging Museum. He's on the scoreboard at the park. He's in the windows of cars. There are even a few people in town that have the Hodag in their yard. He's on signs at the ice arena and the sign for Hodag Park.

More Hodags

This year the Hodags are mini-me Hodags much smaller than all other years. These little Hodags are 3 feet long and 27 inches high. They will be auctioned off in Oct.



C E Clark from North Texas on October 01, 2015:

This is one of my favorite articles on HubPages! I still haven't gotten around to getting a T-shirt with a hodag on it, but it's on my mind. This being October 1, and fall settling in up north no doubt where you are, it should be hodag season. Down here in Texas we're still in the 80s, but that's cooler than it has been. Going to share this again with followers. Everyone should be familiar with hodags. :)

moonlake (author) from America on June 15, 2015:

Au fait, Yes I have received some views from Pinterest. Thanks so much for stopping by again. I appreciate it.

C E Clark from North Texas on June 15, 2015:

I still love this article and the photo has been pinned several times on Pinterest. Hope you got some views out of it.

moonlake (author) from America on September 02, 2014:

Au fait, it has cooled off, but we are getting so much rain. I will have to make my husband that chili and hope he can eat it. He would enjoy it.

I wish things were better here, but they’re not my husband now has brain tumors so now another waiting game to see if radiation has helped. He's been pretty sick and still is. He's having lots of trouble walking. He's very thin and frail. All we can do is pray.

Thank you for stopping by glad you enjoyed the Hodag hub.

moonlake (author) from America on September 01, 2014:

DealForALiving, Thank you for stopping by. Sounds good maybe you will win with it.

Nick Deal from Earth on September 01, 2014:

It's my first time seeing the Hodag, so thanks for writing this hub. I do like the recipe for Hodag chili and will give it a try for the chili competition this year!

C E Clark from North Texas on August 31, 2014:

My sister tells me it's cooled off up there. It's still about 97-98 F. down here and will be for a few more weeks from the look of the forecast. It must almost be chili time up there and the homecoming game will be in a few weeks I'm guessing.

I really enjoy this hub. I would never have known about hodags if I hadn't read about them here even though I lived in Wausau for about 3 years. I know the hodags are in Rhinelander, but being that close I should have heard about them shouldn't I? I found a T-shirt on Amazon for a good price. Next time I order from there I think I'll get the T.

Voted up and sharing on HP. Everyone should know about this critter. :)

Hope everything is much better now at your house than a few months ago.

moonlake (author) from America on February 28, 2014:

Au fait, Thanks for stopping by and for the pins.

Things have been hard this week he got pretty sick. He gets dehydrated pretty fast and that causes lots of problems. He’s very weak, he has trouble eating and drinking. I think even a weather change would help him. Last night it was -27 here.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 23, 2014:

Really love this hub. Already pinned to my own board on Pinterest and now I'm going to pin it to Awesome Hubpages.

Hope things are getting better for your husband, and for you and the rest of the family too, as a result. Many of us here on HP are praying for you all and keeping you in our hearts hoping for the very best possible results.

moonlake (author) from America on October 20, 2013:

PegCole17, Thank you for stopping by. People here love their Hodag even if he is very ugly. The guys in our family love chili always on opening day of fishing season and opening day of deer season. Thanks for the vote and tweet.

moonlake (author) from America on October 20, 2013:

Au fait, Thank you for stopping by and I appreciate the follow and pin.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 19, 2013:

What a great way to promote a city! I love this creature, The Hodag, the chili recipe and your interesting story to top it off. With the weather cooling down, I'll be making a giant crock pot full of this chili. In a tiny town nearby, they have an annual chili cookoff and you can buy tickets to get a chance to taste a bit of each contestant's chili. Wheeeeuuu. Bring the Tums!

Voted and Tweeted.

C E Clark from North Texas on October 18, 2013:

I really love this article with all the different photos of hodags and the delicious recipe for hodag chili. It's that time of year when chili really hits the spot. Pinned this hub again, this time to my "Salads, Soups, & Casseroles' board. Will also share again with my followers.

moonlake (author) from America on July 29, 2013:

Au fait, Thank you for stopping by. Thanks so much for the share and pin I appreciate it.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 28, 2013:

I enjoyed this hub so much. I just love it and I've come back to share it again with my followers who may have missed it, and to pin it to my "Fun and Interesting' board.

moonlake (author) from America on April 24, 2013:

Peggy W, Thank you I appreciate you pinning it.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2013:

This will be a good hub to pin in a Wisconsin board that I will create on my Pinterest account. Thanks for writing about it. :)

moonlake (author) from America on March 22, 2013:

rajan jolly, Oh yes he has been here a long time. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the five stars.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 21, 2013:

I'd no idea of this creature at all. Thanks for sharing this information with us. The footprint sure is big.

The Hodag chilli recipe is interesting. Rated 5 stars and voting up.

moonlake (author) from America on February 14, 2013:

sgbrown, Thanks so much for stopping by. Every time anyone comes to town they want to know about the Hodag. Kids are fascinated by it. Thanks you for the vote.

moonlake (author) from America on February 14, 2013:

dahoglund, There are more and more Hodags around town now. They're selling more t-shirts things like that than ever before. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

moonlake (author) from America on February 14, 2013:

Peggy W, Thanks for stopping by. The chili is my old recipe we just call it Hodag Chili. If it were up to my husband he would put noodles in it that's the northern way here. I guess they did it to make it stretch further. We got in an argument over it many years ago and for 10 years he didn't get chili at all. ha ha

Thanks for the vote.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on February 14, 2013:

The Hodag is an interesting tale. I'm sure it made for interesting stories back in the day. Your recipe for Hodag chili sounds hodaglicious! Voting this up and interesting! :)

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on February 14, 2013:

When I first came to Wisconsin a decade ago I heard about Hodags. I was interested in folklore and legends and the Hodag fit in. A few years ago I did go up to Rhinelander to see it.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 13, 2013:

Thanks for educating me about the Hodag in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Brings a smile to my face how things like this can become sort of a mascot for the area. Enjoyed all the photos. Nice that they are auctioned off each year raising money for charities. We once had a fundraiser similar to that and I wrote a hub about it titled "Cow Parade in Houston, Texas ~ Moovelous Painted Ones!" We had a lot of fun going around town and photographing them.

To think that you even make Hodag chili! Ha! Nice addition to this hub. Voted up, interesting and will share.

moonlake (author) from America on December 30, 2012:

Au fait, Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

I can always find you a t-shirt here and mail it. I'm not sure if they are sold on the internet.

C E Clark from North Texas on December 30, 2012:

I sure do miss those 40 below zero temperatures! ;) I never heard much about hodags before despite growing up in central WI and living there for quite a few years. They look like interesting critters. I think one of my brothers-in-law from Wausau may have mentioned them once, but I can't remember for sure.

Voted up and interesting. Now I'm going to have to find one of those hodag T-shirts . . . Will share! (not the T-shirt, the hub) ;)

moonlake (author) from America on August 12, 2008:

Thanks hodager for signing my hub. Enjoyed your website.

hodager on August 05, 2008:

moonlake (author) from America on June 10, 2008:

Thanks for stopping by. It's how the Hodag has grown into such a big deal in this city.

Rob Jundt from Midwest USA on June 10, 2008:

We have a similar creature down here in these parts. We just call them Jayhawks! LOL

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