I came across this Pronghorn buck in rut image yesterday that I had taken in 2010 on Antelope Island State Park and thought I would post it. Watching this Pronghorn sniffing the ground and chasing another buck in the area was fascinating to me.
I have written before about how we almost lost American Bison but that also could have happened to Pronghorn because due to over hunting, fencing and habitat reduction by the 1920’s the estimated population of Pronghorn was only about 13,000. At that time the Boone and Crockett Club Chairman wrote to the Secretary of the Interior about their concerns of diminishing pronghorn populations. Early attempts to save the pronghorn were doomed though because the pronghorn were kept in fenced areas.
In 1927 George Bird Grinnell, Boone and Crockett Club chairman, and T. Gilbert Pearson of Grinnell’s National Audubon Society to create the Charles Sheldon Antelope Refuge in northern Nevada which started as a 2900 acre pronghorn refuge in Nevada and in 1929 President Hoover included an additional 30,000 acres. In 1931 Hoover signed an executive order designating the refuge and then in 1936 another executive order was signed so tract became 549,000 acres. The Pronghorn then had the habitat they needed to rebound.
The Pronghorn were able to recover and population estimates today number between 500,000 and 1,000,000 except for the Sonoran subspecies which is endangered due to habitat destruction, poaching, roads and fences that prevent them from getting to their historical foraging grounds. And today there are still concerns about pronghorn migration corridors because of fencing but there are groups working on that problem which gives me hope.
Because people cared we are able to see and photograph these graceful Pronghorn in the wild today.
Conservation does work.