Pronghorn Antelope Harvest



Pronghorn Antelope make their home in the high desert and open mountain valleys in Idaho. Preferring open, expansive terrain at elevations varying between 3,000 and 5,900 feet, with the densest populations in areas receiving around 9.8–15.7 inches of rainfall per year. Healthy pronghorn populations tend to stay within 3–4 miles from a water source.

They eat a wide variety of plant foods, often including plants unpalatable or toxic to domestic livestock, though they also sometimes compete with them for food.

The scientific name of the pronghorn is Antilocapra americana. Although first seen and described by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, the species was not formally recorded or scrutinized until the 1804–1806 expedition by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark. 

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the pronghorn was particularly abundant in the region of the Plains Indians and the region of the indigenous people of the Northwest Plateau and was hunted as a principal food source by the local tribes. The antelope has also featured prominently in Native American mythology and oral history.

An ongoing study by the Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society shows an overland migration route that covers more than 160 miles. The migrating pronghorn start traveling from the foothills of the Pioneer Mountains through Craters of the Moon National Monument to the Continental Divide. Dr. Scott Bergen of the Wildlife Conservation Society says "This study shows that pronghorn are the true marathoners of the American West. With these new findings, we can confirm that Idaho supports a major overland mammal migration - an increasingly rare phenomenon in the U.S. and worldwide."

Pronghorns are built for speed, not for jumping. Since their ranges are sometimes affected by sheep ranchers' fences, they can be seen going under fences, sometimes at high speed. For this reason, the Arizona Antelope Foundation and others are in the process of removing the bottom barbed wire from the fences, and/or installing a barbless bottom wire.

Cougars, wolves, coyotes, and bobcats are the major natural predators of pronghorns. Golden eagles have also been reported to prey on fawns and adults. 

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