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Pronghorn

February 06, 2022 3 min read

Pronghorn

Pronghorn is the American antelopeAntilocapra americana that belongs to the family Antilocapridae and is the only surviving member of its family. However, they don't belong to the antelope and goat family, but the scientific name means American goat-antelope

Pronghorn present in North America and also known as

  • Pronghorn antelope
  • American antelope
  • Prong buck
  • Antelope
  • Prairie antelope

General Characteristics:

Body Size and Body Weight:

Males are larger and heavier. The average body size is 80–100 cm, and the body weight is an average of 50-65 kg.

Body Color:

Pronghorn antelope has a deer-like body which is reddish-brown with chest, belly, rumps and inner legs are white.

A black mask from eyes to snout is present in males. The males are also differentiated from females as they have black patches on the neck.

Eyes:

Pronghorn have large eyes and acute vision and can see the danger even from 1 km away.

Horns:

Pronghorn have branched horns, not antlers, and they shed their horns each year. The horns curved to form forward pointed prongs. The horns are made of the permanent core, which is a slender, flattened bone, and a keratinous sheath covers the permanent core. Winter is the horn growing season.

Both males and females have horns; male horns are curved towards each other and are lyre-shaped and 12 inches long. The female pronghorn horns are straight spikes and are only 4 inches long.

Hooves:

Pronghorn, a hoofed mammal, has two long, cushioned, pointed toes. Pronghorn hooves are with no dewclaws. Pronghorn antelope is the fastest animal in the Western Hemisphere and can acquire a speed upto 70 km per hour. The longer windpipe, lungs allow them to take in more oxygen while running. Their mouths are open while running, and they can not jump but run at a faster speed.  

Habitat and Range of Pronghorn:

Grasslands, brushlands, and deserts are the favorite habitat of pronghorn. However, pronghorns mostly prefer the areas near the water source. American antelope pronghorn live in herds, and the herd density changes according to season. In summers, the herd is small, with dozens of individuals, while winter herds are larger. 

They are widely distributed in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, western Texas, southern Idaho, southeastern Oregon, southern Saskatchewan, northern Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, north Baja California Sur.

Diet of Pronghorn:

Pronghorn antelope are herbivores, and being ruminants, they chew their cud. The diet may vary according to season and may include,

  • Grasses
  • Forbs
  • Sagebrush
  • Cactus

Reproduction of Pronghorn:

The mating occurs in late summer and early fall. Males fight over females and mate with more than one female. Females give birth to one or two young in spring. Adult pronghorns have a distinctive musky odor, while fawns are odorless. The pronghorns shed their horns in mating season. 

Pronghorns attain sexual maturity at 15 to 16 months, and the average life span is 15 years.

Predators of Pronghorn:

The most common predators that prey upon pronghorn from time to time are,

  • Wolves
  • Cougars
  • Bears
  • Eagles

Pronghorn Hunting:

Pronghorn are simply the “speed goats” with prodigious eyesight, kinetic velocity, and marathoners' stamina. Pronghorn hunting can be done either with a rifle or with a bow. The archery seasons begin in early September. 

Pronghorn Hunting Tips:

  • Scout the area before the season and set up a blind for an ambush.
  • Plan your strategy before starting your stalk.
  • The best hunting times are the first and last two hours of daylight; the pronghorn are less wary and can be easily spotted.
  • Work on your clothing as they have good eyesight, and cameo hunting apparels are best for you.
  • Stay persistent while stalking. Pronghorn hunting can be frustrating, don't let the antelope out of your sight.
  • Move slowly as moving too fast will spook the pronghorn and glass the area before proceeding.
  • Carry a compass, plenty of water, survival kit, sunscreen, binoculars, extra pair of socks.

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