While the population status of the white-tailed jackrabbit is currently unclear, declines have been observed in many areas. In Yellowstone National Park, where this species was once considered abundant, there have been no sightings since the 1990s, while in Grand Teton National Park, there have only been three sightings since 1978 (1). The white-tailed jackrabbit has also not been seen in British Colombia since 1980 (3). The reasons behind these declines are unknown, but it is possibly due to a combination of severe weather, disease, predation, habitat destruction and habitat degradation by livestock (1).
An additional threat to the white-tailed jackrabbit is competition with the black-tailed jackrabbit. This more common species has spread with the expansion of agriculture as it has a generalist diet and can exploit habitats degraded by grazing livestock. Where both the white-tailed and black-tailed jackrabbits occur, the white-tailed jackrabbit tends to be displaced as it is less efficient at foraging in degraded habitats (1) (3).
In some areas, the white-tailed jackrabbit is considered an agricultural pest, particularly of alfalfa, corn, soybeans and winter wheat, and has been persecuted as a result (7).