Pronghorns on the Prairie
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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.