Sunday, November 25, 2018

Pronghorn Antelope - Antelope Island

Antelope Island was named after a pronghorn antelope shot by John C. Fremont and Kit Carson on the island in 1845. 

However, it appears that pronghorns disappeared from the island at some point until 1993 when they were reintroduced. Ten years later, in 2003, another 99 pronghorns were introduced to the island to increase the herd size. Today there are an estimated 200 pronghorn antelope on the island and an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 pronghorn in the State of Utah. 

I've been to Antelope Island quite a few times, from my youth up, but I'd never seen a pronghorn on the island until last year when I visited with my granddaughters. I asked a ranger when we visited the best place to find them. She told us to look on the east side of the island, in the flats, down toward the Fielding Garr Ranch. We did see several, at a great distance, but I had a good lense with me. 
The Great Salt Lake and Wasatch Range in the background. 

This year I visited with my son, Andrew, and asked the same question of the ranger when we checked in. I got the same response. We hiked up to mushroom springs where we saw a small bison herd and Andrew pointed out to me a group of about 13 pronghorns sprinting in single file in the distance below us. Later, on our way out, I saw the antelope grazing off the road at some distance. I decided to stop the car and see if I could approach them on foot. I did get closer than we'd seen them earlier, but they still spooked at some distance. Unfortunately, I only had my iphone, not my SLR with a good telephoto lense. The photos aren't great, but they do show the 16 or so pronghorn I saw. 
Although not real clear in the photo, most of these pronghorns are running away from me. 

These are the only pronghorn I recall seeing in Utah, with the possible exception of some near the Utah/Wyoming border on the way to Evanston. I've seen them in Billings, Montana, in Buena Vista, Colorado and in Custer State Park in South Dakota and driving through Wyoming. 

1 comment:

  1. They must have very little human contact. I wonder if the herd will get more acclimated to humans as it grows and is protected on the island?