Antelope - Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

Pronghorn Hunting Canada. Discover where to hunt Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). Also, learn to identify it and study its' physical description, Range, Habitat, Diet, Food Strategy, Breeding Habits, and Status.

Provinces with Pronghorn - Antelope Hunting

Alberta Resident and Non-Resident
Saskatchewan Resident Only
Manitoba Resident Only

 

Range - Distribution and Habits of Pronghorns

Pronghorn Range Map of Canada

Pronghorn Range Map of Canada
  • Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

This is north Americas’ fastest animal with a recorded speed of 53 mph and they are able to sustain this speed for a lengthy period of time. Pronghorn antelope are awake day and night but their activity is at its peak during dawn and dusk. Their most notable activity is grazing (50%), resting for short periods of time (25%), ruminating, and walking (in search of water). However, there is very little consistency among these daily activities. 

Predator defence for the Pronghorn is built on their keen vision and great speed. Their main predators are Cougars, wolves, coyotes, and bobcats. Golden eagles have also been reported to prey on fawns and adults. Both natural and artificial barriers can impede these movements, including large rivers, mountain ranges, thick stands of trees and/or shrubs, fences, highways, and urban developments. These barriers pose migratory issues isolating individuals from larger herds that results in reduced genetic diversity.

 Selecting a Hunting Caliber for Pronghorn

Vital Shot Placement for Pronghorn

Pronghorn vitals
  • Original Photo By: www.goodfreephotos.com
  •  Modified by: Canada-Hunts.ca 

Pronghorns are not always hunted at a long range and you should expect to be shooting anywhere from 100 to 200 yards. Pronghorns are not a tough animal to kill unless you gut shoot the animal but because of their small size as a shooter, you must be very proficient with your shot placement.

Calibers from .243 to .270 are cited by members of many hunting forms as the weapon of choice and most hunters seem to be choosing a bullet weight of around 120 grains. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Pronghorn Tracks

Pronghorns have pointed double hooves with no Dew Claw.

The hoof has a cartilaginous padding to cushion the shock when running over hard ground and rocks and appears to look like an upside down heart.

The front hooves of bucks are larger because these hooves carry most of the weight.

                                       
Pronghorn Track Front Track
  • 2.125 - 3.25 inches ( 5.4 -8.9 cm) long
  • 1.5 - 2.25 Inches (3.8 - 5.7 cm) Wide

Rear Track

  • 2.25 - 2.3.25 inches (5.7 - 8.3 cm) long
  • 1.5 - 3.125 inches (3.8 - 5.4 cm) wide

Trail Width:

  • 4.375 - 10 inches (43 -66 cm)                           
Photo By: http://www.ndow.org/Nevada_Wildlife/Animals/Animal_Tracks  

 

 

Pronghorn Identification

Pronghorn Identification

Photo By: Jim Peaco, January 2006, www.nps.gov 

Modified by: www.canada-hunts.ca

 

Pronghorn Bucks Does
Life Span 7-10 years
Shoulder Height 81–104 cm (32–41 in) 83 to 91cm
Overall Length 1.3–1.5 m (4 ft 3 in–4 ft 11 in) nose to tail
Weight 40–65 kg (88–143 lb 34–48 kg (75–106 lb)
Weight at Birth 7 to 9 pounds
Horns Approximately 30 to 36 cm long (10-12 inches). Horn sheaths are shed annually early in the fall after the rut. Old sheaths are pushed off by the new, growing sheaths that will be complete by late winter. Male horns develop upward, outward, and forward before curving either backwards or inwards to form a point About 30% of Does do not have horns and females have short 4 cm. spikes. Horn sheaths are shed mid summer.
Hearing Good Directional Hearing
Eyes Color Blindness (red-green) and approximately 36mm in diameter.  Their eyes are set far apart and have a 320-degree field of view which is much wider than you see even with the naked eye. They are also as big as an elephant’s eye and see you as if you were using binoculars with 8 power magnification. They also possess a “visual streak” of receptors for especially sharp vision along the horizon.
Dental Formula I(0/3), C(0/1), P(3/3), M(3/3).
Body Temperature 38 °C (100 °F)
Feet Ungulate - Hooved - no Dew Claws - Front hooves are larger than back ones and carry most of the weight while animal is running. Pointed double hooves, with cartilaginous padding to cushion shock in running over hard ground and rocks
Can Travel North Amerca's fastest land mammal at 53 Miles per Hour
Diet Herbivore
Sexual Maturity 1 Year 16-17 months
Breeding Time Late August - Late September Mid September
Gestation N/A 245 to 255 days
Birthing N/A Late May
# in Litter N/A One the first year and generally two there after
Weaning 4-5 months
Communication They depend on their strong vision. If a pronghorn spots a predator, it raises the white rump hairs.  The white patch becomes larger and visible by other pronghorns.  They know that the signal means to be on the alert – danger is near. Pronghorns also use smell from scent gland on their rump to attract mates and signal danger.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of Pronghorn:

In Canada the Pronghorn occupies southern Alberta and Saskatchewan along with some notable sightings in south western Manitoba. Within Alberta, the average summer home range size is 148 km2 (5-679 km2), and the average winter home range is 681 km2 (21-5950 km2). Pronghorns are a specialized herbivore which spends 50% of its time grazing on grasslands (comprising of 60-80% grass, 10-20% forbs, and 3 % shrubs). When they feed, they prefer open spaces where they can escape their main predators.

Herds are not fixed in size and may change readily. with migratory movements being highly dependent on available forage and habitat. They do not necessarily use the same summer/winter home ranges annually. 

Snow depths greater than 30 cm will impede both their movement and their ability to obtain forage so they may migrate anywhere from 30 KM to 200 KM to a more shrub dominate habitat during such times and/or croplands with less snow cover may be used as well. Pronghorn may also be found within coulees when experiencing severe winter winds.

Pronghorn Description 

Pronghorn Buck

Pronghorn Buck

Photo By: Pixabay

Pronghorns use the safety of a herd, as a method of reducing predatory risk. Pronghorns form mixed-sex herds and are at their peak in the winter. In early spring, these mixed herds break up, with young bucks forming bachelor groups and does form separate groups. Some female bands share the same summer range of young bachelor bands. Mature bucks (age of 4 or more) are territorial during these summer months and will have the smallest home range of all. Doe/fawn bands tend to have larger summer home ranges, traveling between and around those of a number of territorial bucks. 

Moulting occurs between late winter and the end of summer; hairs are brittle and increase in length over the winter.

Adult males will either defend a fixed territory that females enter, or they will defend a harem of females.

Breeding and Reproduction of Pronghorn:

Herd of Female (Does) Pronghorn

Herd of Female Pronghorn

Photo By: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Male rutting displays (will erect their manes and rump patches) begins in late August and continues until late September. Combat is common and they may include either slow approaches to a locked horn position, or sudden clashes. Scent marking is also used by territorial males.

Mature bucks may gather herds of females throughout the spring and summer with harems of 2-15 females. This herding process will intensify just prior to the rut. Females will instigate battles between males. During these rivals she will stand aside observing. Most often it is the victor that she will choose to mate with. A high-pitched whine is produced by males when they attempt to initiate mating. If the female is responsive, the male will trot towards her, waving his head, flicking his tongue, and making a low sucking sound. During the fall rut females may have more than one estrus cycle. 

The gestation period is 230-240 days. Fawning occurs between late May and early June, most occurring within a 10-day period. In Alberta, most fawns are born prior to the first of June and females produce one to three fawns annually; twinning is most common. Siblings are born 10-30 minutes apart and fawns will weight 1.8-2.4 kg at birth, their coat is grey with a cream colored rump. Calving females will separate themselves from the herd and find a well hidden place where she will give birth. The female will also cache her fawns separately and watch over them from a distance for nearly three weeks. Fawns are born nearly scentless and choose their own bedding sites, instinctively keeping themselves hidden during this time. The female will leave her fawns for the first time three to six hours after they are born, and will return at intervals of one to six hours. Sibling interactions increase significantly between one and two weeks of age. Fawns begin to follow their mothers at three weeks of age, and are independent by six weeks; however, fawns will often continue to follow their mothers through their first winter. Weaning occurs prior to the rut. Sexual maturity occurs at 15 months.

Status of Pronghorn in Canada

Alberta Vunerable
Saskatchewan Vunerable
Manitoba Presumed Extripated

 

Pronghorn Doe and Fawn

Pronghorn Doe and Fawn

Photo By: James Hager Photography - Google+ Public

References

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronghorn
  • http://www.nature.nps.gov/biology/migratoryspecies/pronghorn.cfm
  • https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Sheldon/wildlife_and_habitat/elk.html
  • https://gf.nd.gov/wildlife/id/ungulates/pronghorn
  • http://www.ndow.org/Nevada_Wildlife/Animals/Animal_Tracks/
  • http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/pronghorn/pronghorn.htm
  • Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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