I was watching this long eyelashed gal from afar. I wanted to see what she was getting into. It was a choice between photographing her or a heavily clouded sunset. That sunset held little appeal to me. I drive a Black F-150 Raptor in the backcountry. It has been accepted by many of the local inhabitants. This gal was totally unbothered by my presence. She even let me move around a bit.
Living on a small ranch surrounded by REALLY big ranches pretty much is living in the wilderness. No mistake, this is a wild animal. She has just accepted me as no threat. This animal has been hanging around the easy water holes about my homestead. We have kept 4 stock tanks open for any comers for 20 years now. The wildlings like easy clean water. I go out onto the ranch land several times most days. I’m seen a lot by the local denizens. If I behave properly, the animals accept me now.
Sweet Clover is a biennial plant. The Sweet Clover is abundant so mule deer and antelope use it for forage throughout the year. It gets way less palatable later in the year getting “stemmy” and coarse. It makes a lot of noise under your truck then too. Burns hot too….. Wildfire concern every other year (this year). The pollen is problematic to some (me too) but the bees take full advantage of it. We have a California Honey company show up every few years here. They put out hives and give up several big cases of honey each time. It’s payment enough for me lolol.
This Pronghorn bucks straight on look was a good portrait opportunity. Taking the time to turn sideways the camera side ways They tend to be a bit “flighty” at times and you get their white butts running away as a photo…🤣 When I go out into the backcountry, it’s always a mystery who I’m going to meet and how they are going to react to me. This healthy buck in mid-spring that was put off by my intrusion on his territory. He treated me like another animal with generally him trying to pressure me . I never try to push wildlife on my place as they don’t let me watch them again. They run away instead.
I have found that by being consistently not a problem for wild animals really helps approaching them. Acting like another grazing animal in your vehicle is my technique. I almost never get out and expose my human form to the critters. That would be un-productive. They only see my vehicle and my cameras. I’m still evaluating how these guys will react to my NEW vehicle.
The Pronghorn rut is long over at this time so most of that business is taken care of by now. All the ranches Pronghorn Have migrated with the first snows. THey walk 20 miles to the south. The Thunderbasin Natural Grasslands is a miniature version of the Serengeti Plain here in north eastern Wyoming. (Fewer Big Cats) Not so much in the summer but in the winter there are LARGE herds of Pronghorn that move there from a pretty big surrounding area to winter over the brutal conditions that we enjoy about this region. There is running water there.
Getting this up close and personal to a bedded Pronghorn is not a common event mostly because it took me an hour to work up to this gal who was still bedded as I drove away. I probably have 1/2 a dozen images “about” this close to a living Pronghorn but this is probably the 2nd closest I have with the closest being just an eye shot of this gal.
Approaching a Pronghorn
Some of them obviously think of my Jeep as just another grazing animal and tolerate me in pretty close as long as I drive like a grazing animal walks. (long story). Cars are without a doubt good portable blinds…no question. But the only shooting from them is with a camera lolol.
There is the discussion of getting animals used to vehicles because this isn’t a problem here so far…. It’s getting them used to the human form that is a bad thing. Hunters don’t hunt up here from vehicles if they are doing it legally. (well maybe some handicapped hunters shoot from vehicles). Hunters mostly get out on foot and because of the human form in the past shooting things at them, chasing them etc, pose an easily recognizable danger to the wildlings. If I get out of my vehicles, the result is these critters are “OUTTA THERE”. They don’t like the human form.
Poaching of course is always an issue but that isn’t a really good idea on a place where the proprietor is out with cameras all the time Also this is a VERY big place so just because I have a photo of a big buck photo, I’ve got about 100 square miles to search for it. Fences are no barriers to Pronghorn and Deer. They go where they want to. If you want to poach, go elsewhere lolol.
Slow but sure wins over impatience pursuing Pronghorn Portraits all year long 📸