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»Know Your Game - Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope

HOME RANGE: Pronghorns were found originally from southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba southward to the central Mexican plateau, and from the Great Plains westward almost to the Pacific Ocean. Today, the largest population is in Wyoming, with substantial numbers also found in the states of Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Arizona, Nevada and California, and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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Pronghorn Antelope

Antilocapra americana

ANIMAL SUMMARY: This trophy type is usually called antelope or pronghorn antelope in North America, neither of which is correct. It is the sole survivor of a large group of prehistoric spiral-horned and fork-horned ungulates that populated North America one to two million years ago. The pronghorn is a strictly North American animal. It was never in South America, and did not arrive from Asia across the land bridge that once stretched across the Bering Sea, as did most other North American game animals; it was already here. Like the bovids and deer, the pronghorn is a ruminant or cud-chewer. A pronghorn buck will weigh 100-140 pounds with Females weighing about 20 percent less. The pronghorn is a slender, graceful animal that is a little smaller than most American deer. Its coat is long and thick, with brittle and cellular hair. The upper parts range in color from tan to reddish-brown. The underparts, two bands under the neck, and the sides of the head are white. There is a large white rump patch of longer hairs that can be erected at will and used as a warning signal. Males have a broad, black mask from eyes to nose and black patches on each side of the neck, while females lack these features. The eyes are very large. There are only two toes, or hoofs; the lateral toes, or false hoofs, are absent. The pronghorn is the only living North American ungulate without false hoofs. Males (and some females) have horns consisting of a laterally flattened, unbranched, bony core that is attached to the skull and overlaid with a hard, fibrous sheath that is shed each year after the rut. The horn sheath has the same chemical basis (keratin) as hair, hoofs, nails and feathers. A new sheath develops under the old one, eventually pushing it off, and forms a short branch, or prong, roughly halfway up its length and pointing forward. The pronghorn is believed to be the only horned animal in the world that has branched horns and actually loses its horns each year. The male's horns average about 12 inches in length, but can be much longer. Females may grow very small (3-4 inches) unpronged horns, or none at all.  

BEHAVIOR: Pronghorns are gregarious, living in small mixed groups in summer, and in larger bands of as many as 100 in winter. They mate in the fall, with the young (usually one at the first birth and twins thereafter) dropping in May or June. They are sexually mature at 15-16 months and fully mature at 4-5 years. Life expectancy is 7-10 years. They are active at all hours, with no fixed feeding or resting periods, and are both a grazer and a browser. The pronghorn does not paw through deep snow to feed, but moves to areas where wind has swept the snow away. It drinks water where available, but is able to survive on moisture from plants. It is alert and wary, yet highly curious. Eyesight is truly remarkable, as they are able to recognize moving objects at great distances. Hearing and sense of smell are very good. The pronghorn is the fastest runner in North America, and is able to sprint at 60 mph or more, and maintain 40-50 mph for several miles. It is a good horizontal leaper, but does not care to jump fences, preferring to go under or through them. It is a good swimmer, but avoids deep water.  

Super Ten®/Super Slam®: There are several subspecies of pronghorns, but for the Super Ten®/Super Slam® only one is recognized for inclusion. Any legally taken trophy can be counted. Information found here contains excerpts from the on-line and printed version of Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals and is used by permission. Visit www.scirecordbook.org.

Pronghorn Antelope Species Map

Pronghorn Antelope Range in North America: The map above is used by permission from the on-line Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals. Visit www.scirecordbook.org.