Pronghorns on the Prairie

(Click images for link to higher resolution versions)

I went to Medicine Hat near Alberta’s eastern border with Saskatchewan on the weekend.  I enjoy heading out onto the prairies for the photographic opportunities that present themselves.  I can happily spend hours exploring the old buildings, farm vehicles and rural towns that cluster near the roads and the rails that criss-cross the land.  For wildlife, I often spend time with hawks near watering holes or small stands of trees.  On Sunday morning, I was returning from Red Rock Coulee and found a curious Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) near the highway.  It was early and I was likely the only person in the area since nightfall the day before and this animal was interested rather than wary. 

I often see herds of these antelope but they are either far away or bounding in that direction.  This was easily the closest I had been to one and with a 300mm telephoto lens, I was able to resolve him really well.  The encounter lasted for a few minutes where it would take a few leaps, then stop and look at me.  At that point, I would move along the road a pull level before shooting again.  We did this a couple of times before he retreated a hundred meters further back and I carried on.

Driving a few more kilometers I found a small herd of Pronghorns well back from the road that was alternating between grazing and short races across the fields in fast bursts. 

I pulled ahead and then stopped to watch them pass. 

This one left the herd and sprinted ahead so I isolated him against the open prairie.  It was great to have these two different experiences so close together.   Different chapters of the same story.

2 responses

  1. sandy

    The photos are lovely. That must have been a sight to see.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

  2. i like the wide angle and seeing the animals in therir natural habitat.

    April 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm

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