Pregnant Pronghorn

Pronghorns

Large numbers of pronghorn (Antilocapra americanna) are loitering around Pilot Butte on the Ash Creek Wildlife Area (Modoc County CA). These inhabitants of plains, prairies, sagebrush flats and deserts in the West most likely are enjoying the spring smorgasbord of sagebrush, various grasses and desert plants growing on and around Pilot Butte. Two pronghorn, which appear to be heavily pregnant, were begging to have their portrait taken.

Pronghorn mate in October and two fawns (rarely spotted) arrive in May or June after a 230 to 240 day gestation period. Here in Big Valley the fawns usually begin to drop in early June. The babies are virtually scentless and able to walk immediately after birth. Mothers alone care for and defend the young. Usually the female goes off alone for the birth. By July the does and fawns begin to gather in small herds. The males remain alone or in small groups over the summer until early fall and the breeding season at which time they join the females.

Pronghorn are often mistakenly called antelope. They are not true antelope. This strictly North American native is the only member of the Antilocapra genus. Pronghorn antelope, if one must use the term antelope, is another colloquial name for the pronghorn.

Soon Leonard and I will be watching for the first pronghorn fawns of the year.

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