Pronghorn Harvest Project

Pronghorn walking.
Photo credit: Tayler LaSharr

Pronghorn are a cherished species of big game and an iconic part of Wyoming and the West. Although many may view them as commonplace in Wyoming, they are an ecologically remarkable species with a suite of traits that differ drastically from any other species of wild game in North America. In Wyoming, pronghorn are a fundamental part of the landscape, and represent an important species of game that generates millions of dollars annually for wildlife conservation and management through hunting.

We are sampling harvested pronghorn in central to south-central Wyoming to learn about horn size, age structure, and potential hunter opportunity. We are trying to understand how pronghorn grow horns as they age, and whether growth is affected by habitat and weather or climactic conditions. This information may allow wildlife managers to adjust hunting seasons to improve hunter opportunities.

Measuring pronghorn

Main Questions

A scientist using the tailgate of a pickup truck as a makeshift table while out in the field, with a small yellow tape measure wrapped around the base of a pronghorn. Hunting tags, envelopes for teeth, and a pronghorn sheath litter the tailgate.

What factors influence horn size in pronghorn?

Characteristics of the environment, such as current weather, climatic trends, and overall landscape features, likely influence horn growth in pronghorn. We are researching which factors might affect pronghorn horn growth, and to what degree.

Pronghorn growth figure

Does harvest affect (prong)horn size?

Compared with all other game species in North America, pronghorn males may reach their peak horn size much earlier in life, possibly around 3-4 years of age. We aim to assess if allowing more opportunity for harvest of males can occur without compromising horn growth and availability of large males.

Pronghorn hunting
Photo credit: Tayler LaSharr

What does the public think about pronghorn hunting?

Hunters and the public are one of the biggest sources of revenue for wildlife management, and understanding their motivations, desires, and perceptions of how we manage big game is crucial to their continued support.

Project lead

Lee Tafelmeyer

A man wearing a ball cap sits in the driver's seat of a vehicle, and is taking a selfie with a bison walking along a paved road.

Collaborators, partners, and funders

This project is conducted in close collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. This project is supported by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition.