This “nature note” is about Pronghorn Antelope. Last Saturday, we were having supper at our home in Erskine when we had an excited phone call from Linda Howitt-Taylor. She had been on her way to Alix from Stettler when, 3-4 miles west of town, she spotted a Pronghorn Antelope nibbling on grass in a field on the south side of Highway 12. She suggested that my wife, Ann, and I take a drive over there to see if we could spot it. We left shortly afterwards, but by then the animal was nowhere in sight, so we drove around for a while and finally spotted it in the middle of a stubble field. I got a couple of photographs but the animal was a long way off. We then drove over to Glenn Nelson’s home a few miles to the northeast to see if they had seen the animal. They hadn’t, but they mentioned seeing a few several years before in their area. I had seen a small bunch 15 or so years ago on the western outskirts of Stettler. On the way home, we decided to try to find the animal again and this time we were successful and I was able to get the attached photograph.
Pronghorns are often seen farther south in the province, especially in the Brooks and Medicine Hat areas, but they seldom venture this far to the northwest. They are creatures of open prairies and fields, as opposed to deer which find shelter in woods. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads and this feature enables them to more easily spot predators. Many move south into southernmost Alberta and Montana as winter approaches, then return in the spring. Unlike deer, elk and moose, they do not have the ability to jump over barbwire fences and, instead, crawl underneath.
Pronghorns have the scientific name Antilocarpa americana. They belong to the Family Antilocapridae and are actually not antelope at all. I could write much more about them but, rather than doing so, I strongly suggest that you double click on the Wikipedia source below. The book that is mentioned has recently been published and it is excellent. It would make a nice Father’s Day present. I got mine through Ancestry.ca
Two excellent sources:
Naughton, Donna. 2012. The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. Canadian Museum of Nature and University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Buffalo, London. 784 pp. [ISBN 978-1-4426-4483-0].