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Keywords:

  • Antilocapra americana;
  • fidelity;
  • migration;
  • movement;
  • North Dakota;
  • pronghorn;
  • radio-tracking

Abstract

Wildlife managers need empirical data about pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) movements in North Dakota to assess whether mid-summer surveys represent occupancy of pronghorn in hunting units during the fall hunting season. Using data from 121 radiocollared pronghorn we evaluated patterns of pronghorn migrations in southwestern North Dakota from 2004 to 2007. Pronghorn exhibited 2 primary movement patterns between summer and winter ranges: migrations >15 km (45%) and movement <15 km (55%). Most migratory pronghorn moved northeast or east in the spring and southwest or west in the fall. Average distance moved for migratory pronghorn was 70.6 km (range = 17.4–253 km). Mean date of pronghorn migration in spring was 20 March (SD = 20 days) and in fall was 22 October (SD = 17 days). Nearly all migratory pronghorn (97%) returned to within 15 km of their previous summer range, whereas only 61% of pronghorn returned to within 15 km of their previous winter range. Most pronghorn moved across hunting and survey unit boundaries; however, only 7 fall migrations occurred between the aerial survey and the hunting season. During years of our study, the mid-summer survey provided representative information about hunting unit occupancy of radiocollared pronghorn for the fall hunting season. © 2011 The Wildlife Society