Found this lone Pronghorn making its way across the open range near Goblin Valley State Park Saturday morning. First time I've seen only one of this beautiful animals. I've always found them in herds in various places around the State. Had to whistle at it to get it to look at me for a second.
Seems they are either lone ones like this, or in a large herd, nothing in between. Makes me wonder if they are either sentinels for a herd, and we don't see the herd, or if they are outcasts from a herd.
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I was doing a little reading on Pronghorns but couldn't find anything about their lifestyle. I'm hoping this was just a sentinel for the herd rather than an outcast...it looked in good shape ... Intesting to see just one though.
Only a small percentage of the does have horns, and if they do they are very small. Sometimes they are just bumps. I believe antelope are the only animal which sheds its horns, like deer and elk shed antlers. (Horns are hair based -- antlers bone based. I gather that antelope horns are a little of both.)
As part of the flight response, an antelope has erectile tissues around the white hair on its rump and the reddish hair on its neck. When they are alarmed they flash the white hair on their rumps, and it serves as a warning to other antelope in the herd. The hair on their neck actually forms a shaggy mane, but it is usually not noticeable until they are spooked.
Here's a shot of a group of what I think are juvenile antelope--although one of them may be a female. It's clear they are spooked. The sun was just popping up and lit them up from behind. The rumps are so white they really blew out in the image, and this is as red as I've ever seen manes look.
They can be hard to get close to, especially in the spring when the does are calving.
I first spotted him on the other side of the road with some great red rock structures as background but he crossed the road before I could get the lens on him. From what I've learned about them the only predators they have to deal with are coyotes which they can easily outrun and man...and the occasional pickup or car that man drives. I've seen a few dead along the highways here...victims of motor vehicles of some sort.
It was a little strange seeing this one appear almost out of nowhere in the red rocks surrounding the park and not see another anywhere near. Nice of him to take his time crossing the range to give me a couple shots.
The Pronghorn was back lit at this point because it crossed the road before I could get the lens on it while it was standing on the red rock to the left. Would have liked that background but I was happy it stopped long enough for me to catch these.
I've seen Pronghorn before while I was traveling cross country ( in Wyoming ) years ago but never close enough for a good shot. Now I've seen them in herds and solo a bunch of times closeup. They're beautiful animals. And it's interesting to see the lookouts watching me while the rest feed.
Thankfully there was no other traffic on the road because I did a semi panic stop in the middle of the road, threw the SUV into park and jumped out with the camera. I got about 6 shots off before it wandered out of site over a small hill.