Catching a Pronghorn during Levitation is a demonstration of Stotting or Pronking. Relatively stiff legged they more or less pogo stick across the ground. Apparently it’s an energy efficient way of moving but not their fastest method lol.
Pronghorns are the fastest land animal in North America and pretty much hit 50 everyday around here at one time or the other lol. This apparently is an efficient way of covering ground quickly as they are moving when they do this. Maybe 30 ish…. This is harder to capture than you might think….. This is not really an everyday thing for them. Hard to capture as only once in a while do I see this. You have to be there to start with and then they have to do the behavior you want lolol. Technical camera settings are straightforward but opportunity wins every time. 📸
This of course is a summer photo as the lack of mid-winter snow AND the total absence of the Pronghorns this time of year. There are no Pronghorns on ranch that I am aware of that are overwintering here. We do keep water open but it looks like all of them have migrated south about 30 miles to the Thunderbasin National GrassLands. They gather there by the thousands for running water and lots of grass. I’ve seen individual herds of 250-300 before and they were just a random herd. I know there are bigger groups down there.
Snow Dumping on a Pronghorn Buck (or “Winter is coming” )
Winter has been here for a months already and we’re seeing snow on the ground full time now for a week anyway. This Pronghorn Buck is crossing in front of a Game trail Camera while Snow is just Dumping on him lol. Based on the timeline of images, he was following a doe through the gate walking right along the trail. I set my camera up to be focused right on the trail. This particular camera is in a very good spot ! 📸
Pronghorn Migration South
The Pronghorn are migrating now and I’m seeing groups I have never seen on ranch. Moving through here toward the south from up in Montana. They are following ancient migration routes that the cowboys used to move cattle in the late 1800’s from Miles City Montana down to Newcastle Wyoming. The local version of the “Texas Trail” runs right through the western side of our ranch. Fences are little obstacle to these animals which play the “limbo game” effortlessly. They usually do go under but I do have a few photos of Pronghorn going over fences.
I figure most of those animals that lived on ranch all summer are mostly 10 -20 miles south. They are working their way to the ThunderBasin National Grasslands where they have moving water (not frozen) and good feed. There are only a few roads through a pretty big piece of remote real estate between the Powder River Basin and the Wyoming Black Hills. Many Hundreds of square miles for herds to congregate in. Many ranchers maintain water stock tanks during the winter. This helps more on the margins but water is a rare thing up here when it’s been 30 below for a week.
This Pronghorn Doe with the Blue Tongue and EyeBrow Horns is in Heat and Every Male in the Group of about 30 others she is with knows it all too well. The rut was in full “swing” (as it were) and the boys never gave her much rest. This is what they call an out of breath Pronghorn which is not something you usually see. She is panting hard, Blue tongue to the wind. She had run miles in a circle over the last 30 minutes I had them under my auspices.
I particularly like her eyebrow horns. Sort of a built in sun shade and permanent block to vision I would think . At any rate, the gal got all the guys attention she wanted.
Now she could have run away from the group and out of the range of the guys but noooooooo. She kept coming back just to get run around again and again. Play hard to get AND playing hard lolol.
The whole group were putting on quite a show for me that golden light colorcasted morning just after the sunrise. That light always makes them look darker than they are during the overhead sunny day where they go light tan.
Photographers notes: Remember that I try really hard to be a photorealist that leaves natural color casts in photographs. As such, I like Pronghorn lighter tan than this scene portrays them as but this was the actual scene.when I took the photo in my memory. I typically end up reducing colorcasts in twilight or early golden hour within the world of the the digital darkroom in which I live in these days. . This is something I do WAY more than “enhance” colors which really doesn’t work with the way I expose photos. I seldom have to do anything to highlight colors. It’s the shadows I really work with. Always expose your highlights properly and bring out the shadows in some good editing program (Lightroom/Photoshop). Overexposed highlights are destroyed and detail within cannot be recovered.
Catching a Pronghorn during Levitation is a demonstration of Stotting or Pronking. They are the fastest land animal in North America and pretty much hit 50 everyday around here at one time or the other lol. This apparently is an efficient way of covering ground quickly as they are moving when they do this. Maybe 30 ish…. This is harder to capture than you might think…..You have to be there to start with and then they have to do the behavior you want lolol. Technical camera settings are straightforward but opportunity wins everytime. 📸