Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

Description
pronghorn

Size

  • Average weight for both sexes is about 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

Appearance

  • Pronghorns are generally tan in colour, with two white bars across the throat.
  • Additional white markings can be found on the rump, lower sides and underparts. When alarmed, pronghorns erect the long, white hairs on the rump, making it highly visible.
  • Bucks have black patches just behind the jaw.
  • As its name suggests, the horns of the pronghorn are branched, or pronged. Both sexes have horns, but those of the does are much smaller.
Distribution
  • Pronghorns are found in the prairie life zone of southeastern Alberta, where they are at the northern limit of their North American range.
  • For Alberta pronghorn populations, weather often takes its toll and prevents range expansion further north.
Natural History

Habitat

Preferred habitats are open, treeless areas including:

  • Arid grsasslands
  • Grassy brushlands
  • Semi-desert regions

Food

  • Sagebrush and forbs form the majority of the pronghorn's diet.
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • In Alberta, the pronghorn rut, or mating season, occurs from August through September.
  • Kids are born the following spring; twins are usually produced.
Conservation and Management

Status

Pronghorn are classified as Sensitive in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Issues

  • Sensitive populations are highly susceptible to extreme climatic conditions.
  • Found mainly in the southeastern portion of the province. Cultivation of native prairie threatens habitat.

Current Management

Hunting

See details in the Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:

Is the pronghorn an antelope?

Though it sometimes bears the name, the pronghorn is not a true antelope. True antelope have permanent, unbranched horns. The horns of the pronghorn are unique in that they are branched, or pronged, and they are not permanent. The outer sheath or "horn," composed mainly of hair, is shed every fall.

How do pronghorns defend against predators?

Pronghorns have several natural abilities that allow them to evade predators. They have excellent vision, which enables them to see accurately over great distances. They are also capable of speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 miles per hour), so they can easily outrun most predators.

 

Page Information

Updated: May 18, 2010